Local Time

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Censor from China Silenced

A local censor employed by the popular microblogging website Weibo was seen snapping on the back of a censorship story which is now going viral across China.

The Guandong Southern Weekly newspaper had to take action when it turned out that a top Communist Party official edited an article without consulting the publication. Then, the newspaper’s Weibo account was accessed by the local authorities who published a retraction on all comments about censorship, which prompted further protest along with rare planned strike action at the newspaper.

Due to the controversy, the country’s government wanted to censor all keywords and terms which had something to do with Southern Weekly, currently known as the “Southern Weekly New Year Greeting incident”. Since then, the users were expressing their frustrations at Sina Weibo, and one of the managers, going by @geiune_Yu_Yang, has snapped and published a detailed description of the censorship process. He explained that the Internet users were shielded from seeing the process. In case the company fails to delete controversial publications, the entire account can be banned. The manager also explained that there’s a group of people who can send alert signals to the portal, and are able to shut down the website when they wish. This scheme was compared to the “Emperor’s 18 golden orders in ancient times”, where in case of an urgent order there is no choice but to carry them out.

The manager insists that despite the fact that the company wants to give voices to people, it is under control of a manipulating hand. In other words, China has so many sensitive barriers that the organizations have to operate within a certain set of rules. Yu_Yang compared censorship orders to a scene in Cinema Paradiso, where a Catholic priest is sitting backstage, waiting for a scene considered against the church to ring a bell. The same happens with China – they have to take orders whenever they hear the ringing bell. The fate of the message proves this point, since it must have rung a bell and was promptly deleted, along with the manager’s account. However, as the manager pointed out, the messages are able to spread quickly despite their eventual deletion. This proved to be true and his message has been delivered, although the original message was destroyed by the Chinese authorities.

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