Protesters continued to gather in Hong Kong on Monday, fanning out across several neighborhoods and interrupting normal business activity throughout the territory. But within mainland China, the Communist Party has attempted to mute discussion of the protests through a combination of censorship, obfuscation, and anti-protester propaganda.
According to instructions obtained by the China Digital Times, government authorities ordered journalists to "strictly manage interactive channels and resolutely delete harmful information" from news websites. On Sina Weibo, China's Twitter, users searching for "Occupy Central" -- the latter referring to the group most closely associated with the protests -- received an error message, while others entering "Hong Kong" encountered little more than shopping tips and restaurant reviews. The Chinese government has also banned Instagram, the popular photo-sharing site owned by Facebook, in order to limit the spread of images of the protests. Instagram, unlike Facebook and Twitter, had been allowed so far in mainland China.
China's attempt to censor information extended beyond the Internet. In one area of Beijing, government officials instructed shop owners to remove posters or signs displaying Hong Kong and replace them with ones showing the Great Wall of China and Tiananmen Square. Dragon TV, a state-run television network based in Shanghai, broadcast images from a small pro-Beijing demonstration in Hong Kong's Tamar Park, where participants waved Chinese flags and voiced support for the Communist Party.
While most Chinese media entities either avoided or sharply limited coverage of the protests, the ultra-nationalist Global Times newspaper published an editorial condemning the protesters and calling their mission "doomed."
"Radical opposition forces in Hong Kong should be blamed," the editorial said.
Hong Kong's protesters, who include large numbers of high school and university students, are demonstrating in opposition to the territory's new election law, which gives Beijing wide discretion in choosing eligible candidates for electing Hong Kong's chief executive in 2017.