I'm Drew Breunig and I obsess about technology, media, language, and culture. I live in New York, studied anthropology, and work at PlaceIQ.

Chinese Censors Crack Down on Influential Microbloggers 

The Chinese Government is tries to put their thumb over the faucet, deleting the accounts of several influential microbloggers:

On March 24, Chinese journalist Yang Haipeng drew a connection on his Sina Weibo account between a British national and the Bo family, including Mr. Bo’s son, Guagua. “Deceased: Guagua’s nanny. Nationality: British. Place: Chongqing. Handled by: Wang Lijun. Cause of death: Wang was not allowed to investigate. The body was not preserved and instead directly cremated,” said the post, which was forwarded widely before it was deleted.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Yang’s Sina Weibo account was deleted, though the company didn’t issue a notice. In an interview, Mr. Yang confirmed the deletion and said he had more than 247,000 followers before the account was closed. This week’s crackdown shows it is “more and more dangerous” to write about the incident, he said.

"The most important effect of weibo is decentralization," said Qiao Mu, director of the Center for International Communication Studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University, using the Chinese term for microblog. "Before, what the story is, who gets famous, everything was decided by the government. It was a centralized process. Now anyone can become famous. They don’t need the government’s permission. And anyone can put out news."

Or, as the Party put it in their official statement: “Recently, criminal elements have used Sina Weibo to create and spread malicious political rumors online for no reason, producing a terrible effect on society.” It’s unusual for them to acknowledge such deletions at all. (Via WSJ)

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