China’s First Lady sends out Instagram image despite ban on app

Saqib Shah
September 30, 2014

Although Instagram has been banned by her husband’s government, it seems that China’s First Lady is still posting on the app.

As Paul Mozur of The New York Times spotted, as recently as yesterday Peng Liyuan – wife of President Xi Jinping – uploaded an Instagram post of herself with her husband.

Peng Liyuan by all accounts seems to be an active user of the photography app the ruling government has targeted in China. Through her pengliyuanofficial account she has posted 296 images (mostly just stately snaps of her exploits, no selfies here kids) and has over 20,000 followers. That left us thinking that perhaps one of them should point out to her that the app she is still using is blocked in her country.

As it turns out they did. Disgruntled users have flooded the comments section of her most recent post with statements on the pro-democracy movement followed by an #occupycentral hashtag. Amusingly, some even asked Peng if she used a VPN to access the service.

The new post has subsequently overshadowed all of her other images, garnering 1,000 likes and 1,500 comments, and counting. However, it could also be the case that this is a fake account – as so often happens on social networking sites.

Chinese users of Instagram started reporting an outage as early as yesterday morning. The block was attributed to the pro-democracy protests that took place over the weekend in Hong Kong.

The protests are being led by the Occupy Central movement and students in the city. It is thought that the decision to block Instagram by the Chinese government is to stop the dissemination of protest images, the fear being that it will influence citizens in mainland China to offer their support.

About the Author

Saqib Shah

Tech/gaming journalist for What Mobile magazine and website. Interests include film, digital media and foreign affairs.

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