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Chinese users play cat-and-mouse with censors amid protests

By ZEN SOO

 

HONG KONG (AP) — Videos of hundreds protesting in Shanghai started to appear on WeChat on Saturday night. Showing chants about removing COVID-19 restrictions and demanding freedom, they would stay up only a few minutes before being censored.

Elliot Wang, a 26-year-old in Beijing, was amazed.

“I started refreshing constantly, and saving videos, and taking screenshots of what I could before it got censored,” said Wang, who only agreed to be quoted using his English name, in fear of government retaliation. “A lot of my friends were sharing the videos of the protests in Shanghai. I shared them too, but they would get taken down quickly.”

That Wang was able to glimpse the extraordinary outpouring of grievances highlights the cat-and-mouse game that goes on between millions of Chinese internet users and the country’s gargantuan censorship machine.

 

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