16 July 2024

Beijing, China – China’s Weibo social media platform blocked a hashtag on Taiwan’s election Saturday after it became one of the site’s top-trending topics following polls opening on the self-ruled island.

“In accordance with relevant laws, regulations and policies, the content of this topic is not displayed,” a notice on the website showed when the hashtag “Taiwan election” was searched for at around 9:45 am local time (0145 GMT).

Millions of Taiwanese are voting in a presidential election following threats from China that choosing the wrong leader could set the stage for war on the self-ruled island.

In mainland China, whose leaders are closely watching the result, “Taiwan election” was one of the highest trending items on Weibo after polls opened early Saturday morning — at one point showing up to 163.2 million post views.

Some posts expressed hope that cross-strait ties could improve following the vote, while others called for the island to be returned to the “motherland” as soon as possible.

The hashtag was removed by mid-morning, however, though users were still able to see posts about the topic.

China’s biggest news platforms — state news agency Xinhua, state broadcaster CCTV, and the party-run People’s Daily — have dedicated scant coverage to the poll.

by Agence France-Presse