The fruitless search for the 18th Party Congress

The 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, a gathering of China’s top leaders that will decide the country’s direction for the next five years and beyond, will kick off in Beijing on November 8. This meeting is a big, big deal. But if you want to talk about it online beyond your personal network, tough luck.

Searches for “18th Congress” using both numerals and Chinese characters are blocked on Chinese social media sites. Apparently, it is possible to make posts using the terms, but it is not possible to see what others have posted unless you are following them. The goal, it seems, is to restrict conversation about the meeting while not outright banning the terms.

Searches for the terms yield a message that reads: “We’re sorry, results related to ’18th Congress’ cannot be found.”

I should note that while my own post this morning using the term “18th Congress” (and talking about ping pong balls) was apparently allowed, it has had no re-posts and no comments over a two-hour period. That usually suggests a post has been made invisible, and perhaps has been removed.

I’ll update here if my post shows up in our deleted posts archive.

Leave a Comment