MOSCOW, September 29 (RIA Novosti) - Chinese authorities have blocked the online photo-sharing service Instagram, to stop spread of videos and photos, which feature Hong Kong police using tear gas against peaceful protesters, NBC News reports.
According to the Associate Press, police threw tear gas into the crowd without warning, causing panic among demonstrators and injuring several people.
Many of the photos, which depicted harsh and imprudent use of force by the police, were posted through the social media application with the hashtags "#OccupyCentral" or "#OccupyHK." "Occupy Central" is a Hong Kong non-violent pro-democratic movement, opposing government’s electoral restrictions and demanding fair and open elections in 2017.
The information about the social media app blocking has been confirmed by website monitoring services blockedinchina.net and greatfire.org. However, Beijing censorship measures have not cut off Hong Kong from the service. Witnesses are continuing to share images of the protests, which are accessible for Instagram users all over the world.
Blocking “objectionable” websites has become a routine practice in the country. Instagram, which has succeeded to escape censorship measures for many years, has apparently become another victim under the state's policy of Internet censorship.
Overall, about 2,700 websites were blocked by Chinese authorities in the last few years, including Instagram's owner, social networking service - Facebook.