Hong Kong protests: Instagram 'blocked' in China as candid images expose reality of rallies

The photo-sharing site is reportedly unavailable to Chinese social media users

Antonia Molloy
Monday 20 November 2017 12:29
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Images such as this one showing riot police launching tear gas into the crowd are raising the stakes of the face-off
Images such as this one showing riot police launching tear gas into the crowd are raising the stakes of the face-off

Instagram has reportedly been blocked in China, amid fierce clashes between pro-democracy supporters and police in Hong Kong.

The photo and video-sharing service, which is owned by Facebook Inc, has been put on lockdown by police, according to various sources. Reuters cited Hong Kong-based reporters with The New York Times as being among those to report the story.

The website comparitech also indicated that Instagram was blocked across China, including in Beijing and Shenzhen. It suggested that Facebook has also been limited.

The reports come as pro-democracy protesters, some wearing surgical masks and holding up umbrellas to protect against tear gas, expand their rallies throughout Hong Kong in protest against Beijing's decision to limit democratic reforms in the Asian financial hub.

Images of the clashes, which have been broadcast across the world, are undermining Hong Kong's image as a safe financial haven, and have raised the stakes of the face-off against President Xi Jinping's government.

Many of the photos have been labelled with the hashtag "Occupy Central," a phrase that was blocked on Sunday on Weibo, China's version of Twitter. It had been allowed earlier in the day.

China has called the protests illegal and endorsed the Hong Kong government's crackdown, but the social media blockade will not prevent users in Hong Kong from continuing to post on the site.

The Independent has contacted Instagram regarding the reports.

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