Apple Music has complied with demands from the Chinese government and recently removed a famous song by Jacky Cheung. The song titled “The Path of Man” has lyrics that directly mention the incident. As of April 10th, people in China cannot stream the song from Apple Music.
As the 30th anniversary of the infamous Tiananmen massacre getting closer, the Chinese government wants to increase its efforts of moderating speech. People from western countries have heavily criticized Chinese methods of censorship.
The Tiananmen incident happened in 1989 when thousands of students went to the Tiananmen square to voice their protests against the government. On June 4, 1989, Chinese regular army was deployed against the protesters. The exact number of human lives lost that day is still heavily debated. Some sources say hundreds were shoot. Other statistics mention thousands of victims.
The horrific incident still influences politics in China. The current government bans people if they exchange messages containing words Tiananmen Square or other mentions of the event. It happens on Weibo, Chinese analog of Twitter, and even in games. It led to a joke that if you send a someone “Tiananmen Square” via game chat, they will be instantly banned. While these rumors aren’t real, some gamers were prohibited from talking about the incident on forums.
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Another victim of censorship is Anthony Wong from Hong Kong. He is a supporter of democratic ideas and criticizes the government for some of their policies restricting free speech. While his songs do not have any references to the Tiananmen incident, his songs were also removed from Apple Music. The only song by this artist still available for streaming is “Do you still love me?”
On June 4th, 2019, the Chinese government will inevitably face some difficulties with censorship. Despite their best efforts, people did not forget about the massacre and will commemorate it in one way or another. So far, it doesn’t seem like there is palpable tension surrounding the 30th anniversary of the incident, but the government wants to avoid any discussions that could escalate to demonstrations and protests.