China blocks Instagram in response to pro-democracy protests

29 Sep 2014

Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong’s central business district have moved the Chinese government to add Instagram to its lengthy list of blocked websites.

Reuters reports that the photograph sharing app has been blocked throughout the country after images of Hong Kong police using tear gas on protesters appeared online.

Despite being owned by Facebook, a site that has been blocked since 2009, Instagram users in China enjoyed unrestricted access to the app until yesterday (28 September).

However, after images with the rallying cry ‘#OccupyCentral’ began appearing, the site was quickly censored. The hashtag phrase has also been blocked on Chinese microblogging website Weibo.

Among the other websites to have been blocked previously are Twitter and The New York Times. All sites can be tested online.

According to a report in The Guardian, police fired tear gas at 30,000 pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong yesterday and have threatened a “higher degree of force” if protesters do not disperse.

In June, China blocked both internet search giant Google and business social network LinkedIn ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square anti-government protests.

Instagram image via Shutterstock

Dean Van Nguyen was a contributor to Silicon Republic