The extraordinary protests, which began over the weekend and spread to cities across China including Shanghai and Beijing, have been characterised by acts of civil disobedience, including clashes with police. The most widely used symbol in the demonstrations has been a blank sheet of paper. It symbolises censorship, and may also, some Twitter users pointed out, be read as a reference to the deaths last week of ten factory workers in Urumqi, Xinjiang; in China white is a colour used at funerals.
Others have dared to put text and symbols on their sheets. One group of protesters printed the Friedman equation, which governs the expansion of the universe – the equations name sounds like the words “Freed man”.