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China: Cracking down on micro-blogging

Categories: Law, Regulation, China

According to today's Apple Daily News, the Propaganda Department and State Council Information Office have taken joint action in strengthening the control over micro-blogging services.

Since Twitter and Facebook was blocked in China, the development of social media services have been booming. Most of the portal websites, such as Sina, Sohu, 163.com and Tencent, have introduced micro-blogging services. Within one year, for example, Sina Micro-blogging service claimed that they have 20 million users.

Last week, the Social Science Academy released a study on new media and in the press conference, researchers pointed out that social media and micro-blogging are able to reorganize social relation, and thus subversive to the existing social structure. The state media, CCTV, highlighted the statement and there were speculation that the CCP would take action in cracking down social media and micro-blogging services.

In the past few days, since July 9, many internet users have encountered problems in micro-blogging websites. Some failed to upload their tweets; some found out that their friends could not view their updates. 163's micro-blogging service has been shut down for maintenance from July 13 (below is the screen capture of the notice).

163's micro-blogging service [1]

163's micro-blogging service

Sources (quoted from Apple Daily) said that all these signs are the beginning of a new round of online censorship control and the ultimate goal is to turn micro-blogs into “mouthpiece of the CCP and the Government”. They can let go of “entertainment news” but no more political and social news.