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Communication & Technology

China Weibo: When regulation hits its stride, freedom of speech retreats


Weibo.com, the Chinese version of Twitter, has announced new rules today to complement the existing Weibo Community Convention.  The new rules have announced some  stricter measures to control the dissemination and sharing of information via the internet in China.

The prior Convention of Weibo was created two months ago following the heyday of microblogging that shed much light on the case of Bo Xilai. Rumours as well as truth ran wide, annoying authorities who turned to put much pressure on China’s Sina Corp, the owner of Weibo. This is not the first time that Sina was subject to such bullying.

In December last year, the government regulation forced all Weibo users to register their real names, a move that had scared thousands of new users away and broken the hearts of old ones. Seeing itself in a bind, Weibo had to offer financial reward for existing customers who would turn their names in, and remained by and large inactive for those who did not. Even so, bouts of discontent deepened Weibo’s woes. Its growth slowed and stock slumped following the name-rule.

Now, the New Weibo Rules creates new procedure in content-reviewing. An “expert committee” consists of 1000 to 1500 “scientists, scholars, well-known journalists and sophisticated internet users, etc.” will be founded to “sagfeguard internet security”.  They will be obliged to delete and report any information that

1. violates the constitution;

2. sabotages the unification of the country (don’t talk about Taiwan);

3. leaks national secrets threatens national security or damages national image (no picture of Wen jiabao  hit by shoes);

4.  stirs up hatred among or against other ethnicity (don’t talk about Tibet);

5. advocates superstitions and cult (Falun Gong? no,no…);

6.  makes up rumours that undermine social stability (no bad word on the government)

7. incites gambling, violence or crime (sounds normal ,but who knows how it will be interpreted)

8. encourages protest, strikes and any public gathering activities (shut up on the fourth of June)

9. contains content prohibited by the law, regulation and the government. (don’t say anything I don’t like)

However, the founding of the committee not only castrates information sharing, it also silences the voice of Weibo at its root. The people who were invited to join the committee are exactly those who tried to exercise their right to speak in and for the public via Weibo, especially after so much threatening, detaining and beating-up.

Some of their blogs have initiated reform in education; some have brought national attention on food security. But now, these people who once fought at the frontline of our battle are about to be bought to the other side. Being winded around by more rules, Chinese internet users will find it even harder to pursue speech freedom.

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About Chloe

you may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one! http://rvampie.wordpress.com

Discussion

11 thoughts on “China Weibo: When regulation hits its stride, freedom of speech retreats

  1. Reblogged this on OyiaBrown.

    Like

    Posted by OyiaBrown | July 12, 2012, 7:55 pm
  2. You are doing an absolutely wonderful job to make a better world, Chloe. Keep it up. By the way, I notice the odd advertisement at the foot of your posts – are these allowable now by WP or are they added without your knowledge? Thanks

    Like

    Posted by OyiaBrown | July 12, 2012, 8:00 pm
  3. Reblogged this on SunnyRomy.

    Like

    Posted by sunnyromy | July 12, 2012, 8:01 pm
  4. Hi Chloe great blog

    Like

    Posted by Joe | July 13, 2012, 4:02 am

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  1. Pingback: July 12 2012 China Daily Mail Headlines « Craig Hill - July 13, 2012

  2. Pingback: China Weibo can’t handle the truth « China Daily Mail - July 16, 2012

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