How Chinese netizens swamped China’s Internet controls

Enlarge / Demonstrators cover their faces with sheets of blank paper while protesting China’s zero-COVID policy in Hong Kong on November 28, 2022.Anthony Kwan / Getty Images

A week ago, demonstrators took to the streets of the northwestern city of Urumqi to protest China’s strict zero-COVID policy. That night, a much bigger wave of protest crested on Chinese social media, most notably on the super app WeChat. Users shared videos of the demonstrators and songs like “Do You Hear the People Sing” from Les Misérables, Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up,” and Patti Smith’s “Power to the People.”

In the days

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