First saw this news from Shanghaiist, which has kept up with excellent, timely news updates on the situation in Sichuan:
It’s early Monday morning and the China twitterati are abuzz with the news that all major Chinese web sites have been ordered to shutdown for the three days of national mourning which begins today. Here is an announcement sent out by the government in Hefei, Anhui, followed by Shanghaiist’s translation. Good reason to believe similar announcements have been sent in other provinces and municipalities:
The news has also popped up on the newswires. From AP:
Chinese news portal sina.com said the government had ordered all visitors to online entertainment and game pages to be redirected to Web sites dedicated to commemorating earthquake victims.
The national flag in Tiananmen Square in central Beijing flew at half mast after a ceremony at dawn. The Beijing, will likewise be suspended for three days., currently on its domestic leg ahead of the August 8 opening in
But there was an interesting quote from that Reuters story.
“It’s a good idea but maybe it’s a bit early,” said Zhou Wanli of the national state of mourning, sitting in the back of a truck heading into Beichuan.
“All we can care about for the time being is finding our relatives. We don’t want to memorialize them if we don’t even know if they’re alive or dead,” he said
Indeed – why so soon? Rescue efforts are still underway, after all. Video-sharing sites will be affected by this directive. One could imagine that it’s an attempt to rein in videos and pictures of the quake taken by bystanders, which are spreading virally across the net. If so, it’s a really clever move by the government – folding a propaganda directive into an unassailable moment of national bonding.
Update: Just checked out Tudou and Youku, the top video sites. They’re only showing quake videos on their front pages, including user-generated, non-CCTV vids. Other videos are all still online, you need only search for them. Guess that puts paid to my little theory.