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China Daily Mail

The Not-So-Great Firewall of China


China Daily Mail

Every news organisation needs a social media strategy. Even China’s government-controlled Xinhua News Agency now “tweets” news bulletins through Twitter-like microblogs called weibo — through which more than 300 million users share details of their daily lives, jokes, gossip, and news.

Chinese companies running weibo services are required by the government to censor and monitor their users, blocking politically sensitive content. Yet despite weibo‘s best censorship efforts, China’s chattering classes have outsmarted the system, using literary allusions, code words, and innuendo to pass around juicy leaks and tidbits from the foreign media about the alleged murder of English businessman Neil Heywood by associates of Gu Kailai, wife of the former Chongqing Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai, whose fall from grace has precipitated the biggest leadership crisis in China since the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.

Censorship has even backfired in bizarre ways. After a long silence by official media…

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