Have Chinese Censors Loosened Their Grip?
While Chinese netizens expressed outrage yesterday at the fact that Xinhua News had been operating a Twitter account for months while they were barred from using the microblogging service, The Telegraph’s Malcolm Moore reports that Sina Weibo users found what may have been a brief hole in the Great Firewall:
Not only could they search for a range of Chinese leaders on the microblogging network, they were free to write criticism.
One comment called Mr Xi a “hypocrite” for suggesting that Communist Party officials should not enter politics for wealth or prestige. “Hasn’t he won wealth and prestige through politics?” asked the poster. Elsewhere, Li Keqiang, the incoming prime minister, was accused of covering up an Aids outbreak linked to infected blood in Henan province for five years. “Now he makes speeches [about Aids], but he is just making a show,” the comment said. The names of some leaders were still blocked. Wen Jiabao, the outgoing prime minister, was unsearchable.
The name of Ling Jihua, the former close aide to Hu Jintao whose son died in a Ferrari crash in March, was also blocked.
Bo Xilai, the disgraced former Politburo member, showed up in searches, as did Zhou Yongkang, the outgoing security tsar.
Moore notes that not everything turned up in a search, as Liu Xiaobo, the Dalai Lama and Tiananmen Square searches remained blocked by China’s Internet censors.