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Lianhe Zaobao: China’s Weibo Blocked “Taiwanese Election” Search Results on Election Day

Singapore’s primary Chinese language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao recently reported that Taiwan’s presidential and legislative elections took place on January 13, and Mainland Chinese netizens were paying close attention to the election results. After voting began at 8 a.m. that day, the relevant term “Taiwan Election” was on the “hot search ranking list” on Weibo, one of the largest social media platforms in Mainland China. The number of views on the topic quickly reached 163.2 million. However, the popular topic was soon blocked on Weibo.

Before the “Taiwan Elections” topic was blocked, many Mainland Chinese netizens posted comments and discussion on this topic. Some netizens called for improving relations between Mainland China and Taiwan after the Taiwanese election, and some netizens expressed their hopes for the DPP’s presidential candidate Lai Ching-te to win the election so that the Chinese military would “unify by force” sooner. (Taiwan’s DDP party, which won the presidency in the election, is the party that’s most opposed to cooperation with Beijing.)

Since Chinese official media, including Xinhua News Agency, CCTV News and People’s Daily, had very little coverage of the Taiwan election that day, some netizens asked on Weibo: “Is today the voting day for Taiwan? Why is there no news coverage?” Many related topics were blocked on Weibo as well. The Spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press conference two days earlier that “the United States must not interfere in Taiwan’s elections in any form” – this quote remained visible on Weibo.

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, January 13, 2024