"The blocking of images on one-to-one chat shows an effort to restrict content across semi-public and private chat functions, demonstrating the sensitivity of Liu Xiaobo's death," the researchers noted.
The outlawed snaps include everything from pictures of Liu Xiaobo in hospital, to simplified cartoon-like images of him using his glasses as a frame of reference, to screengrabs showing censorship, to people commemorating him.
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Others included "Nobel Peace Prize," "liver cancer," any reference to his death or condition and the phrase "wash the guilt." In the past six months, China has expanded its already extensive censorship systems to cover not just politically sensitive topics, but also issues that the central government does not approve of, including homosexuality and drug use.
Earlier this month, the government also started cracking down on "unlicensed" VPN services that many citizens have used for years to circumvent the online controls.
"We found 74 images blocked on We Chat Moments, 26 blocked on group chat and 19 blocked on one-to-one chat," The Citizen Lab reported.
"These are the first tests in which we have found evidence of image censorship on We Chat's one-to-one chat." The difference in numbers is directly connected to how large the public reach of each service is.But images sent on messaging apps have typically made their way through and been deleted later.Obviously concerned that pictures of Liu Xiaobo in a hospital bed could become widely shared, or even iconic, the authorities demonstrated their ability to intervene mid-transit and many images of the activist never made it beyond individuals' phones.Die Flash-Version hat den kompletten Funktionsumfang und ist optimiert.Wir empfehlen allen unseren Nutzern, sich für die Flash-Version des Chats zu entscheiden.China has expanded its censorship tools to strip out images from chat messages in transit through its networks.