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Chinese authorities tighten control over public mourning for ex-premier, reports Radio Free Asia

The Chinese people expressed their condolences for the death of former premier Li Keqiang on social media. However, government censors intervened and only approved condolences were allowed. Initially, there were personal comments praising Li’s leadership qualities, with some referring to him as “the people’s premier.” But as time passed, individual content became unavailable, and search results only showed state media and official statements. The majority of condolences were limited to saying “rest in peace.” Mourning restrictions were imposed by authorities across the country, including bans on political posts, unauthorized descriptions of Li, public gatherings, and online or offline mourning activities. The bans followed previous protests against COVID lockdowns. This incident comes after the sudden death of premier Hu Yaobang in 1989, which led to mass protests and a pro-democracy movement. Li’s death has become a symbol of dissatisfaction with the current Chinese Communist Party leadership. Discussion of Li’s merits and faults is prohibited, and readers are directed to official obituaries from state media. The sensitive nature of the topic, along with recent high-level personnel changes, reflects a period of turmoil in the Chinese government. The government aims to prevent any possibility of history repeating itself and to maintain control.

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