Apparently the censors at Weibo are still quite touchy about the recent “airpocalypse" in Beijing, when the U.S. embassy’s air quality monitor seemed to go off the deep end and reported record high levels of pollution in the city back in January. The above image was found in the latest roundup at FreeWeibo, which relies in part on data from Weiboscope, a University of Hong Kong tool that checks popular Weibo feeds to see what posts have gone missing (that is, deleted/censored). Weibo posts with these images have gone missing on a number of feeds (1, 2, 3). Apparently the combination of Mao + criticism of Beijing’s air quality are a no go.
Look at these two clever pictures! Haha. (看到两张神图！[哈哈])
Just as the great leader said: The people, only the people, are the driving force in the creation of world history. Netizens are truly gifted! So creative. (【正如伟大领袖所言：人民，只有人民，才是创造世界历史的动力！网民太有才了！太有创意了！】)
[Pitiful emoticon] [可怜]
Update 3/11: An anonymous tipster writes in to remind thatThe Economist ran a cover during the 2003 SARS crisis with Mao wearing a surgical mask. He notes that “the China chief was called in to the responsible party official, and told that ‘the highest levels’ of government were very displeased. Turns out it wasn’t because of the surgical mask, but because The Economist was using Mao to represent China.”