Thursday 23 November 2017

Bizarre fall in markets has echo of Tiananmen crackdown

Ben Blanchard in Beijing

CHINA'S censors blocked access to the term "Shanghai stock market" yesterday after the index fell a bizarre 64.89 points on the anniversary of the bloody June 4, 1989, crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square.

In another twist, the Shanghai Composite Index opened at 2346.98 points on the 23rd anniversary of the killings in either a deft piece of manipulation or an uncanny double coincidence. The numbers 46.98 are June 4, 1989, backwards.

"Whoa, these figures are too freaky! Very cool!" said a microblogger. "The opening figure and the drop are both too creepy," said another.

For China's ruling Communist Party, the 1989 demonstrations that clogged Tiananmen Square in Beijing and spread to other cities remain taboo, all the more so this year as the government prepares for a tricky leadership handover.

Microblogging

Terms related to the anniversary, such as "six four" for June 4, "23", "candle" and "never forget", were blocked on Sina Weibo, the most popular of China's Twitter-like microblogging platforms. Users encountered a message that said the search results could not be displayed "due to relevant laws, regulations and policies".

The anniversary of the date on which troops shot their way into central Beijing in 1989 has never been publicly marked in mainland China.

The government has never released a death toll of the crackdown, but estimates from human rights groups and witnesses range from several hundred to several thousand.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in World News