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.