Image Grab: Weibo.com
Chinese censors are sandwiched between a government that wants strict control and web users that constantly want to speak their minds. The pressure is immense and has been doubled as controversy grows over the censorship of a newspaper in China.
Weibo is a popular Twitter-like site that is the closest thing China has to a public conversation on national issues. And a censor on this website, due to the pressure of both the vigilant government and the outraged users, has snapped. A rant was posted from an account on this website belonging to @Geniune_Yu_Yang. The account has been identified as belonging to a manager of Weibo.
The rant was about the regular pressure being exerted by the government authorities and complaints from the site’s users. A Global Voices blogger Oiwan Lam, who translated the message in English, compares the Chinese government censorship to an Italian film scene in which a priest watches a movie before telling the theatre which scenes to cut.
The blogger also boasts that Weibo initially resisted the suppressing of Southern Weekly story. They resisted the pressure and allowed the messages to be circulated before they were silenced. It was not much of a surprise when the entire account of @Geniune_Yu_Yangwas deleted.
His message that has been removed now along with his account was: Last night in [Sina] Weibo, apart from the Propaganda Department, my work unit was the second most popular target of netizens’ verbal attack. The screen was full of the terrifying note: “The micro-blog has been deleted.” The platform looked like a sinking ship with thousands of holes on it. My boss, Lao Shen’s [Sina] Weibo’s page is full of cursing. In particular, after the Southern Weekly incident had been reported by Netease [a popular web portal] extensively yesterday, attacks on Sina’s cowardice and its role as the running dog [of the Propaganda Department] reached a climax. I was so frustrated and finally fought with a famous online script-writer. After I cooled down, I reflected upon the whole thing, feeling the urge to write a long micro-blog to explain the situation in detail.
It was further stated that Weibo is bound to delete posts and accounts which do not conform to the government’s policies. If a message, that is not ‘politically’ correct, is posted on the site and Weibo doesn’t remove it gets banned anyway. Despite of the censorship pressure and deletion of posts, Weibo managed to spread out the word.