Critic Of Chinese Censorship Censored: Microblog With 1.1 Million Followers Deleted

from the maybe-they-won't-notice dept

It will hardly come as a surprise to anyone to learn that a popular writer and well-known critic of China's pervasive censorship system has run into trouble for his views. Fortunately, in this case that doesn't mean getting arrested, but nonetheless involves quite a dramatic slapdown:

The online Sina Weibo microblogging account of Murong Xuecun, one of China's most popular writers and one of the country's foremost critics of censorship, has been deleted from the site, suspected to be part of the government's efforts to crack down on online rumors by targeting high-profile users.

Murong's account, which had more than 1.1 million followers, was taken down from the Twitter-link website on May 11, 2013. His writing as well as his microblogging discusses social issues in contemporary China such as corruption and media censorship.
The Global Voices story quoted above goes on to describe the ways in which some of those 1.1 million followers have reacted, and how many feel that Sina Weibo is diminished by Murong's absence. It also points out that all of his posts have been preserved and are available -- but on the other side of the Great Firewall of China (GFW). Although only those with the requisite technical know-how to tunnel under the GFW using VPNs will be able to access the now-deleted messages, that doesn't mean the Chinese authorities have really won here. After all, using censorship to silence a critic of censorship means that his 1.1 million (ex-)followers now have definitive proof of what he was warning them about.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    That One Guy (profile), May 15th, 2013 @ 2:45am

    Brilliant, just brilliant...

    He complains about censorship carried out by the chinese government, and they turn him into as very well known and visible example for all to see. But hey, I'm sure that couldn't possibly cause more harm to the government than his blog ever could have... /s

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), May 15th, 2013 @ 3:34am

    Oh how the UK and US governments dream about being able to get away with doing this.

    Ironically, the UK and US governments just love to decry the human/civil rights violations of the Chinese.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2013 @ 3:57am

    Re:

    Hilariously enough, the West has no high ground this time considering what they're doing to AP.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    Ninja (profile), May 15th, 2013 @ 3:59am

    After all, using censorship to silence a critic of censorship means that his 1.1 million (ex-)followers now have definitive proof of what he was warning them about.

    That. Awareness is key to promote change.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2013 @ 4:09am

    Re: Brilliant, just brilliant...

    I'd like to share your enthusiasm, but, although 1.1 Million followers is impressive, that accounts to less than 0.1% of the Chinese population (according to Wikipedia numbers).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2013 @ 4:12am

    So this is what Chris Dodd wanted for SOPA? "China-style censorship" that's easy to implement? Comforting to know.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2013 @ 5:01am

    given the over reaction to this sort of thing in ALL countries, but particularly in places like China, i wonder how long it will be before the news of his arrest, trial and sentencing are released? i then wonder how long it will be before those witting similar blogs in so-called Democratic countries receive the same treatment?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
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    That One Guy (profile), May 15th, 2013 @ 5:31am

    Re: Re: Brilliant, just brilliant...

    A proportionally small number on it's own yes, but as far as a 'seed' group from which the news can spread, that is a LOT of people to start out with, so the spread of news regarding this shutdown is likely to be very quick and very widely dispersed, making damage control on the censors' side quite tricky.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    That One Guy (profile), May 15th, 2013 @ 5:34am

    Re: Re:

    Please, as though demonstrable hypocrisy has stopped them from crying foul when others follow in their footsteps in the past...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    horse with no name, May 15th, 2013 @ 6:11am

    question:

    Glyn, exactly how much time have you spent in your life in China?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2013 @ 7:00am

    Re: question:

    Why, do you feel qualified or relevant to bring up this point as though it might merit some degree of valid criticism? Or would you like to live there for the SOPA-esque experience Chris Dodd wanted for America?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
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    That One Guy (profile), May 15th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

    Re: question:

    Ah good old ad hominem, when you can't attack the message, go after the messenger.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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