Instagram has been blocked in mainland China since Sunday, in what is believed to be an attempt to stop pro-democracy protest images in Hong Kong from spreading to the mainland. News of the student-led pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong have gripped headlines since its start last week, with the massive Occupy Central demonstration taking a particularly dark turn yesterday when Hong Kong riot police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the thousands of unarmed protestors. As photos and videos of the attacks flooded social media websites, China has seemingly cracked down on the dissemination of information.
Instagram has been blocked since yesterday, according to greatfire.org, a censorship tracking website. The hashtags “Occupy Central” and “Hong Kong” have also been blocked on Weibo. Protestors in Hong Kong, however, are not affected by the block and are free to post photos of the protest, according to WebsitePulse, a similar service allowing users to check accessibility in Hong Kong. The pro-democracy demonstrators oppose China’s restrictive plan to only allow Beijing-vetted candidates to run in Hong Kong’s 2017 elections for chief executive. Tens of thousands of protestors have brought the city’s central business district to a standstill. While some organizers have called for demonstrators to stand down out of fear of violent repercussions by the riot police, many have stayed.