Sina Weibo censors are working hard to remove sensitive posts about the National People’s Congress, which opens today in the Great Hall of the People. The following is a selection of some of the many, many posts deleted so far today.
User Tang Shaojian (康少见) — who has more than 15,000 followers — wrote in a post at 11:08 AM (deleted around 11:46 AM):
Someone also set fire to something today on Tiananmen Square. The police respond really quickly.
User “Shen Buyao’s Dad” (沈步搖的爹) — who has more than 12,000 followers — responded to Tang Shaojian’s post:
It’s definitely someone with an appeal. Someone just ignited something combustible in front of the Gate of Heavenly Peace, just now, and a group of police and riot police rushed over, and in the flash of an eye they were gone.
Just after 12:00 PM user “Beidaijin is Never Decent” (贝带劲永远不正经) posted a timeline of a supposed incident on Tiananmen Square aggregated from posts on another website:
10:49:57 — It seems there’s a fire, something going down at Tiananmen, a woman around 40 years old has set herself on fire.
10:59:36 — Around 11 AM another woman was giving out fliers and was immediately taken into custody and loaded into a police van. Everyone was taking pictures of it just now, but police only got their hands on me.
11:10:10 — One of the tourists said that as soon as that woman opened up her clothes she was set on fire, and then some people ran up with fire extinguishers. Now there’s a fence in front of the entrance to the Forbidden City and tourists aren’t allowed to get close.
11:14:58 — There’s a water truck cleaning up the scene now.
11:18:59 — Another woman was taken around 11:05 near Jinshui Bridge. A tourist only saw that she was carrying a black bag but didn’t do anything at all.
Weibo user “Wen Sanwa: (文三娃), who has more than 30,000 users, shared a post by user Sina Weibo #3684719771880168 that includes a picture of armed police that reads: “Stability Preservation: From the People and Used On the People.” The user’s words below read, in dark reference to the recent attack at the Kunming Railway Station:
On the square, if you raise a placard, then within a minute a whole bunch of people will throw you down; but if you brandish a knife you can go on killing for 25 minutes [before the police act] . . .
在广场，你若举的是牌，一分钟内就会有人把你扑倒；你若举的是刀，你可以绕场跑二十五分钟；你若举斧子和镰刀，你可以为所欲为liu shi 多载！
The above post, made at 11:11 AM, survived for almost three hours on Weibo, finally deleted just after 2 PM.
The following post, made by rights defender Tian Shuhua (如皋维权-田书华), who has more than 1,800 followers, includes a picture of petitioners gathering outside the State Bureau of Letters and Calls, the national-level office that handles petitions for redress of a whole range of issues. The post reads:
The 2nd Conference of the 12th National People’s Congress opens in Beijing on March 5, 2014. Meanwhile, petitioners are out in full force at the State Bureau of Letters and Calls (国家信访局).
The post was up for more than four hours, posted at 10:09 AM and deleted at 2:30 PM.
The following post made at 3:24 PM by Liu Fengyi (刘凤翼), a user with more than 30,000 followers, responds to a Weibo post from The Beijing News about Premier Li Keqiang by reaffirming calls for officials to report their personal assets:
Without public reporting of assets by officials and the loosening of restrictions on supervision by the press, reform is just a joke.
The post was deleted just before 4:09 PM, after a lifetime of just over 40 minutes.