Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Party secretary puts squeeze on Sina Weibo - Jeremy Goldkorn

Public debate has gone wild on China's internet fora, especially on the twitter-clone Sina Weibo. The party establishment try trying to regain control and the Beijing party secretary paid a visit to the Sina headquarters. Internet observer Jeremy Goldkorn comments in the Wall Street Journal. The Wall Street Journal:
"This kind of thing–these visits–have been going on a long time, but if it's the Party secretary of Beijing, that does seem to be sending a fairly clear signal," Jeremy Goldkorn, founder of Danwei, a website that tracks Chinese media, said Tuesday... Exactly what signal Mr. Liu intended to send over Weibo remains unclear, though Mr. Goldkorn said he thought a complete shutdown was "unlikely." The political costs of taking away such a popular service, he said, would be too great, "but they could squeeze it to the point where it becomes far less interesting." The government has several tools at its disposal for exercising more control over what gets said on Weibo without pulling the plug entirely. For example, it could require that Sina step up in-house censorship by banning more searches for sensitive keywords and hiring more human censors to take down sensitive posts.
More in the Wall Street  Journal   Jeremy Goldkorn is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch.
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