As the 23rd anniversary of the Tiananmen Massacre approached, in the wee hours of June 2 and 3 Sina Weibo quietly removed the candle icon from its collection of “frequently used emoticons,” replacing it with an animated “London Olympic torch” icon.
Sina explained the disappearance in a @WeiboSecretary (微博小秘书) post:
WeiboSecretary: Dear @: The related icon is currently being optimized. Please excuse us for any inconvenience this causes. We sincerely thank you for supporting Sina Weibo. Every single improvement we make depends on the widespread support of netizens. If you have an idea or suggestion, @SinaCustomerService always welcomes your feedback! Weibo help is also by your side: http://t.cn/zOEKSvN. The Age of Weibo, look @ me!
微 博小秘书：亲@：相关表情正在优化调整当中，给您的使用带来了不便，请您谅解。非常感谢您对新浪微博的支持，新浪微博的每一滴进步都与广大网友的支持离不 开。如有好的意见和建议欢迎随时@微博客服 反馈！微博帮助就在您身边： http://t.cn/zOEKSvN。 微时代，look @ me!
There were over 200,000 posts containing the search terms “Weibo + candle” earlier this weekend. Weibo searches for “candle” (蜡烛 and 烛) are now blocked. The Olympic torch emoticon has also been removed.
Below are translations of some of the comments. Read more from this screenshot taken by CDT Chinese.
WangJiangsong-PHILOSOPHY (王江松-PHILOSOPHY): Sina’s Candle Icon Disappears: I just reposted the news of the Jiangsu bus driver Wu Bin, who saved the lives [of his passengers] as he faced death. I wanted to light a candle for this hero. I searched everywhere in the “Weibo emoticons” list, and found the candle missing. Why is this???
ItsBroJerry (是Jerry哥): Sina is too powerful. It removed the candle from the frequently used emoticons. Congratulations.
GuaguaZoe (瓜瓜Zoe): Tomorrow really is a mysterious day. Even Sina doesn’t dare light a candle.
WhatDegree (神马度度): Sina, your candle has no feelings. Professor @KaifuLee, here’s one for you!
WangYuzhou (汪雨舟): Mysterious country, half-yuan Sina, suddenly deleting the candle emoticon…
DoudousNanny (兜兜的老保姆): The candle is being optimized! It’s a rainy day, perfect for reading a book. //@MoreThanSenses (不止六根): They need 3 days to optimize it? //@WuWeibj (吴伟bj): I just received a reply from the Weibo Secretary saying the candle “is currently being optimized.” Do you believe that?
NoBiz (木冒泡): So because tomorrow is a “climax” day, the candle icon is gone today? Sina, you’ve been raped until you wanted it.
CaiZhaoming (蔡照明): Sina got rid of the candle emoticon! @HuXijin, say something. //@SweepFilth (扫地之垢): Sigh, forbidden words are forbidden this far. If you can’t use the real one, use the birthday cake emoticon instead. It has more candles. //@CaiZhaoming (蔡照明): Is there no memory without candles? Will deleting that word tear down all of our memories? Tears cannot blur the conviction in our hearts. They are still there, calling to us from their long journey, including you!