(Bloomberg) -- China is censoring some discussion of Xi Jinping’s unanimous confirmation for president in the nation’s legislature, showing the sensitivities around his increasing grip on power as he begins his precedent-busting third term.

The #2952 hashtag that started on Weibo after the 2,952-0 vote in favor of Xi on Friday no longer allows ordinary users to post comments. The results that appear are mostly from state media outlets like People’s Daily, the ruling Communist Party’s flagship newspaper.

Sarcastic comments that described the result as “so awesome” or “the largest-scale democratic vote exercise” were censored, according to Freeweibo.com, a website run by dissidents that tracks posts that have been blocked on the Twitter-like site.

Neither Weibo Corp. nor the Cyberspace Administration of China immediately responded to a request for comment on the matter.

Read: Xi’s Third Term as President Cements Effort to Consolidate Power

The Chinese government has a history of barring content that it deems critical of Xi or his policies. In 2017, it barred images of the cartoon character Winnie the Pooh because they were used as a proxy to lampoon Xi.

Last year, as public frustration over Xi’s harsh Covid Zero policies mounted, censors restricted the search term “Beijing” on social media. That move followed a rare protest that involved a person unfurling large banners from a bridge in the Chinese capital that criticized Xi, lockdowns and mass virus testing.

The last time Xi had a vote go against him in the rubber stamp National People’s Congress was in 2013, when he won his first five-year term 2,952-1, with three lawmakers abstaining. 

He also won unanimously in 2018, the same year China abolished constitutional provisions that would have barred him from a third term. The result then was 2,970-0.

China’s censors are also removing state-media articles from past years that were critical of unanimous votes, such as a People’s Daily commentary published in 2011.

“Unanimous elections might have hijacked the people’s will, they cannot represent the people’s will,” said the article, which was still available on websites outside the Great Firewall, as the system that severs China’s internet from the rest of the world is known. 

“They do not reveal people’s real hearts,” the article added.

--With assistance from Zheping Huang.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.