Mini Tank-Like Cake in Livestream Sale Unnerves Beijing on Eve of Anniversary of Tiananmen Square Massacre, Prompting Censorship

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Apparently, the June 4, 1989, Tiananmen Square massacre is such a sore spot for the Chinese regime that the sale of a tank-shaped cake has to be censored. A top livestream salesman in China was shut down after presenting a cake shaped like a mini tank. The authorities deemed it to be a reminder of the June 4 incident.

On the evening of June 3, one day before the 33rd anniversary of the bloody crackdown, a leading Chinese influencer Li Jiaqi and his team were astonished when their livestream was unexpectedly cut off, right after the tank-like cake was shown.

Epoch Times Photo
Chinese livestream salesman Li Jiaqi (L) shows off a tank-like cake and gets censored on June 3, 2022, one day before the 33rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. (Twitter/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

“We are urgently dealing with a technical breakdown on the backstage,” Li posted on Weibo. “Please kindly wait for a while.”

Shortly afterwards, however, he delivered a second message, “We’re terribly sorry we cannot resume livestreaming tonight due to an internal equipment glitch.”

As a top social media star, Li enjoys huge popularity in China, with more than 30 million followers on Chinese social media service Weibo.

Tiananmen Massacre: Permanent Taboo in Communist China

The livestream cut-off shocked numerous viewers. Countering the intention of Chinese censors, many young followers went to great lengths to explore what happened that day. They bypassed China’s Great Firewall to ask questions on Twitter or google about the June 4 incident and found the hidden facts that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has tried hard to stifle across Chinese society for more than 30 years.

“I had also been a radical pro-Beijing guy before June 3,” a netizen called Zhi Zhi Zuo Xiang tweeted. “I was greatly shocked after I learned about the whole event. I know the CCP killed college students 33 years ago, simply because they demanded reform and opening up and protested corruption among officials. I’ve never known such a brutal side of the communist party. So horrible.”

Another internet user, using the name Chasing a Deer, posted on June 5, “The Li Jiaqi incident is an epic black humor in the year of 2022.”

In the spring of 1989, college student-led demonstrations calling for democracy swept communist China, especially in Beijing, the capital. On June 4, the CCP called out troops armed with tanks and guns and butchered hundreds or thousands of protestors in Beijing.

The actual number of deaths remains unknown due to the decades-long CCP coverup. The regime rarely speaks of the atrocity or downplays it as “political turbulence” if it cannot elude the subject on formal occasions.

There have been suggestions of deepened suppression and censorship by the CCP surrounding the June 4 incident in recent years.

A leaked official paper shows sensitive content that must be blocked includes candles, tanks, and the numbers 89 and 64 or their combinations, or related emojis, on social media apps from 8 p.m. on June 3 to 8 p.m. on June 5, according to China Digital Times, a California-based bilingual news website covering China.

Moreover, some netizens reported that politically sensitive words also include “the square of 8,” “May 35,” “It’s my duty,” and “Mai Diu Ti” (a Chinese transliteration of “my duty). The quotation “It’s my duty” was the response of a university student riding his bicycle to join a protest at Tiananmen Square in a 1989 BBC interview prior to the massacre.

Ning Haizhong contributed to the report. 

Frank Yue


Frank Yue is a Canada-based journalist for The Epoch Times who covers China-related news. He also holds an M.A. in English language and literature from Tianjin Foreign Studies University, China.

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