Taiwanese netizens yesterday responded feverishly to a microblog post by a Chinese subscriber of Time magazine that a page containing a report on the death of Nobel Peace Price winner Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波) had been torn out of the latest issue of the magazine’s Asia edition, saying the incident could be the result of Chinese authorities censoring Time.
“A page in the latest issue of Time was secretly ripped out. I managed to find the missing content and now I know what it is about. It is very old school to censor content by tearing pages out of books in this day and age,” the subscriber said on Sina Weibo.
The page contains a story about Liu’s life and death. It recounts how the academic and activist first rose to prominence in 1989 after helping lead the Tiananmen Square protests, followed by his helping to draft Charter 08 — which called for legislative democracy and a new constitution — which offended Chinese authorities and landed him an 11-year prison term in 2009.
Liu died of cancer on June 13 aged 61 while still in custody.
“His voice was finally silenced on July 13, but his life speaks volumes,” the Time story reads.
The microblog post drew a considerable response after a netizen posted on Professional Technology Temple (PTT), Taiwan’s largest online academic bulletin board system, an article about the incident that attributed the censorship of the magazine to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The PTT post compared the incident to a front-page story on the Chinese-language China Times yesterday about a claim by the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) National Policy Foundation that the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) might have censored content on Facebook considered harmful to her government, apparently to highlight the irony of the importance the China Times gave to an unfounded claim given its stance.
“I feel sorry for those tasked with tearing out the page. It must have been laborious to death,” one netizen said.
Others compared the incident to the CCP destroying publications that it deemed contained sensitive content that could weaken its reign during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s.
Time in the same issue also reported a “cartoon ban” imposed by China.
“Chinese censors temporarily restricted images and mentions of Winnie-the-Pooh on social media platforms WeChat and Weibo after some users compared the honey-loving bear to [Chinese] President Xi Jinping [習近平],” the magazine reported.
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