China: Sohu.com removed online public opinion leaders’ blog accounts

Sohu.com, one of the most popular portal website in China, removed more than a hundred bloggers from its blog hosting service on July 14 2010. Many of them are influential public opinion leaders, political dissidents and citizen rights activists, including:

He Weifang (賀衞芳)- a legal expert and citizen rights lawyer
Tiger Temple (老虎庙)- a citizen journalist
Yang Hengjun (楊恒均)- a prominent blogger on foreign affair
Liu Xiaoyuan (劉曉原)- a human rights lawyer
Teng Biao (滕彪)- a citizen rights activist
Xu Zhiyong (許志永)- a citizen rights activist
Pu Zhiqiang (蒲志強)- a citizen rights lawyer
Zhang Lifan (章立凡)- a historian
Yu Yiwei (余以為)- a current affair blogger
Gu Xiaojun (顧曉軍) – a famous writer
Wen Kejian (溫克堅)- a member of PEN China
Liu Junning (劉軍寧)- a political scientist
Wang Junxiu (王俊秀)- an editor and new media expert
Wu Zuolai (吳祚來)- a cultural critic

The reason for kicking these bloggers out of Sohu.com is yet unknown. According Yao Xiaoyuan, whose blog has also been closed in Sohu, there are two possible reasons. Some believe that it is a result of the pressure from government censors; some believe that it is related to the scandal of Tang Jun's fake academic credentials. The bloggers would take action to press sohu for providing an explanation for removing their accounts.

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