Thirty-one years ago to the day, Tian'anmen Square (aka, Gate of Heavenly Peace) was the site that witnessed the massacre of thousands of student protesters. Each year on its anniversary, the Chinese attempt to eradicate all memory of the horrifying events that occurred on June 4, 1989.
Foursquare, the widely popular location-based social network known for its check-in functionality and mayorships maybe checking into the wrong part of the world. According to a TechCrunch report, Chinese authorities appear to have blocked the service according to a flurry of tweets.
"While this obviously can’t easily be confirmed, it appears as though the block is a result of Foursquare users checking into: Tian’anmen Square, the infamous plaza in China’s capital of Beijing (Peking)," notes TechCrunch's correspondent Robin Wauters.
The current "mayor" of Tian'anmen Square, known as "Chommy" is being joined by a number of other Foursquarers "checking in" to the plaza - in a show of solidarity.
According to Techblog86, a tech news blog in China, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of users accessing the Foursquare app for this purpose. The blog has a screenshot of a user's Foursquare app on his iPhone, which displays hundreds of people checking in at the site of the shootings.
According to the Telegraph,"It remains unclear whether the blocking of Foursquare in China is a permanent or temporary move by the authorities. It already uses its 'Great Firewall' to filter content that it deems unsuitable for Chinese citizens, such as websites about Tibet, the religious group Falun Gong or the Tian'anmen Square massacre, in which hundreds of student protesters were crushed by government tanks."
On May 30, 2010, Hong Kong protesters carrying posters of jailed dissidents called for the release of all political prisoners in China ahead of the 21st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown. This YouTube video talk about the lead-up till this year's anniversary, June 4, 2010.
Interesting that an event as devastating as this massacre can be commemorated using 21st Century location-based service tools. Here's hoping that this year's Chinese dissidents and Foursquare users are not persecuted for their actions (as there was very little pushback seen at the recent 2008 Beijing Olympics).