Videos of COVID-19 protests in China continue to surface on Chinese sites despite the country's strict internet censorship, a sign of the power of social media, The New York Times reported.
The Chinese government has tried to drown out images of demonstrations over the country's tough zero-COVID policy, with police patrolling streets, calling some protesters to warn them and checking cellphones, according to CNN.
On Tuesday, China's domestic security chief vowed to "effectively maintain overall social stability."
Chen Wenqing also urged law enforcement officials to "resolutely strike hard against infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces, as well as illegal and criminal acts that disrupt social order," state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
The current wave of protests is the largest since the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement of 1989.
Videos of the marches and rallies have surfaced on apps WeChat and Douyin, and some internet users are tripping up algorithms designed to flag the content by adding filters to videos or recording videos of videos, according to the Times.
Chinese people are also using software to access Twitter and Instagram, apps that are blocked in Beijing.
"They're outgunned by the massive amount of content coming from all over the place," said Xiao Qiang, a researcher on internet freedom at the University of California, Berkeley.
"Once the anger spills on to the street, it becomes much harder to censor," he added.
China would need more people and develop far smarter algorithms to scrub the content completely, according to a former censor and internet control expert who spoke with the Times.
The videos are spreading worldwide, with one popular Twitter account, called "Teacher Li is Not Your Teacher," receiving a thousand submissions a day from China, according to the person who runs the account.
"About a dozen messages come to my inbox every second," Li, a painter in Italy, said in an interview. "Information published in China is deleted very quickly, so people have no choice but to come to me."
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