BY TIMOTHY MCGRATH / GlobalPost
China just blocked Instagram. Here's what they're hiding.
Instagram is down in China, and if you've been following the news, you already know why.
Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in Hong Kong in an outpouring of frustration over politics and representation. Under Hong Kong's present electoral system, citizens don't elect their own leaders. Instead, they're appointed by a Beijing-friendly electoral committee. That will change — sort of, but not really — in 2017, when Hong Kong citizens will get to choose from among two or three candidates pre-selected by a Beijing nominating committee.
Protesters call the new electoral system "fake democracy." Sounds about right.
As we've come to expect, social media has played a large part in getting the word out. On Twitter and Instagram, activists and sympathizers use a variety of hashtags to organize information and speak to the wider world. If you want to follow along, check out #OccupyCenter, #hongkong, #hk and #UmbrellaRevolution. The last one refers to protesters' creative use of umbrellas to defend against tear gas. Ten years from now, it might be the name we remember this demonstration by.
Beijing's not having any of it. Following a police crackdown in Hong Kong on Sunday, Chinese authorities struck a major blow against demonstrators' ability to transmit news and images of the protest via social networks. They blocked Instagram on the Chinese mainland.
What's Beijing so afraid of?
Here are 21 photos from Instagram users on the ground at the protests. China doesn't want you to see them. And if you live in China, you can't.
1) This large gathering of people
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2) This same large gathering of people as recorded by a different person
3) This same large gathering of people all recording things with their smartphones
4) Like these police officers
5) This dog
6) This subway station
7) This reference to Les Miserables
8) These multilingual sign-makers
9) This classic take on protest-sign-making
10) This crowd, again. Lots of people. Here they are
11) These faces in the crowd
12) This tear gas being fired on peaceful protesters
13) This gassed protester and these helpful people
14) These friends who are prepared for tear gas
15) This decal
16) This inspirational veteran of the cause
17) This sign featuring the giant face of Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong's chief executive
18) These umbrellas
19) These umbrellas
20) These umbrellas + puppy and kitten
21) This glorious sunset