Weibo Blocks Hashtags About Taiwan’s New President Lai Ching-te’s Inauguration

On Monday, Chinese social media platform Weibo blocked hashtags related to Taiwan’s new President Lai Ching-te, according to a notice on the site.

Searches for the hashtag #LaiChingTe displayed a message stating, “According to relevant laws, regulations, and policies, the content of this topic has not been displayed,” as of 10:40 am.

The exact timing of the block is unclear, but searches for Lai’s name still returned some results.

Additionally, hashtags for the outgoing president Tsai Ing-wen and another referring to “Taiwan 520 new authorities take office” were also removed.

Weibo, which is used by hundreds of millions in China, often restricts hashtags deemed politically sensitive to prevent them from trending.

This censorship is a routine practice, especially around events related to Taiwan, which China considers a breakaway province.

In January, during Taiwan’s presidential election, Weibo similarly blocked a hashtag about the poll when it began trending.

Lai Ching-te, labeled by Beijing as a “dangerous separatist,” was inaugurated as Taiwan’s president on Monday.

However, his swearing-in received little to no coverage in China’s state-run media.

By 11 am Monday, neither state broadcaster CCTV nor the Communist Party’s People’s Daily had featured the event on their home pages.

Comments on Weibo about the inauguration reflected China’s official stance on Taiwan.

Users posted messages like “Retake Taiwan” and expressed sentiments that the annual observance of May 20 would be a “day of shame” until Taiwan is unified with the mainland.

This pattern of censorship on Weibo underscores the platform’s role in controlling political discourse in China, particularly concerning sensitive topics like Taiwan’s sovereignty and leadership transitions.

Jessica Bayley

Jessica Bayley is an international author and journalist. She covers global affairs, hard news, lifestyle, politics, technology and is also the author of "The Ladies of Belgium."