Tiananmen Square memorials over the years as public commemoration banned on 33rd ...
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The biggest influencer in China has been 'cancelled' over a piece of Tiananmen Square cake.

On Friday (3 June), Austin Li Jiaqi peddled some snacks to his 64 million followers on the e-commerce site Taobao when he brushed the service of a taboo topic.

As reported by Vice, the livestream was swiftly cut off after Li Jiaqi and his co-host showcased a layered ice cream cake shaped like a tank that had cookies as weels and a chocolate stick as its gun.

This was a touchy symbol because on that very same night over 30 years ago, the ruling Communist Party deployed troops and tanks in central Beijing during the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square that resulted in bloodshed.

Since then, June 4 has become a sensitive date on China’s political calendar. Beijing has seemingly sought to scrub from its history by banning any observance or discussion about it.

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Eric Liu, an analyst who tracks censorship at China Digital Times, told Vice that Li Jiaqi’s incident happened because his team weren’t privy to the incident and believed it “was any other ordinary day.”

“This by itself highlights how successful China’s censorship apparatus is,” Liu said.

Now, every year that the anniversary approaches, Chinese censors double down on efforts to quell any expression that is thought to be related to the horrific incident in 1989.

Beijing’s campaign to remove the tragedy from people’s memories has been highly successful, so much so that many people in Li Jiaqi’s generation aren’t aware of the travesty.

The Li Jiaqi incident prompted many of his younger fans to try and find answers, flooding the Chinese social media platform Weibo with questions about why the influencer was suspended.

“Weibo’s current strategy is to stop the Streisand effect,” Liu, who previously was a content moderator for Weibo, further told the outlet.

The site did not explicitly ban Li Jiaqi’s name, which could bring more attention to the situation, sparking curiosity.

But, it is instead deploying enormous manpower to screen content and delete answers deemed sensitive. Things that are thought to be politically correct remained on the platform.

Not too long after the suspension, Li Jiaji blamed it on a technological malfunction and told viewers to wait.

Sometime close to midnight, he apologised on Weibo and said the livestream would not continue.

It's been reportedly that Li Jiaji hasn’t posted an update and missed a scheduled event on Sunday. He also didn’t respond to any birthday wishes he received from his fans on Tuesday.

Li Jiaqi gained prominence in 2019, where he made a name for himself as the “Lipstick King,” selling beauty and skincare products.

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