Wang Aizhong was one of the people behind the Southern Street Movement that emerged in southern Chinese cities, mainly Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Local citizens and activists who connected online would gather in public places, generally over the weekend,  and photograph themselves holding a banner that said (link in Chinese): “Abolish the Communist Party and establish a democratic China.” They would then post the photos online. The first such event took place in 2010. In 2014, he  was detained ahead of the 25th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations.

Human Rights Watch China researcher Yaqiu Wang believes that the Chinese government is not just trying to stop current political dissidence, but also to erase all previous remnants of it.

“The government’s recent attention to Twitter–absent any protests or other social events organized via Twitter as a trigger–signals a new level of suppression of free speech under President Xi Jinping’s repressive rule… Some of the tweets authorities pressured Twitter users to delete were posted years ago; few would have viewed the tweets had they remained.”

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