Kai-fu Lee: 78 Innocent Weibos Hounded to Death

Kai-fu Lee, dubbed 2012’s most influential Weibo personality by Sina, has decided to market more than his self-help books today. Google China’s former CEO has just posted an image of every single post deleted from his Weibo account over the last six months:

@kaifulee: [Innocent Weibos Hounded to Death] Over the past 6 months, 78 of the weibos I posted were deleted (see the image below). What do you all think: did these 78 posts really deserve to die?

@李开复:【冤死的微博】过去6个月,我发的微博一共被删除78条(见图)。大家评评理:这78条,真的那么该死吗?

As of posting, Lee’s weibo of weibos has been reposted 5447 times and commented on 3581. It has not yet been removed.

A business guru and best-selling author, Lee is not a political activist by any means. Nor does he have personal grievances with the Chinese government; Taiwanese by birth and American by citizenship, he only stands to lose business from his current perch in mainland China. For Lee to broadcast such carefully documented evidence of censorship to his audience of over 27 million followers is to bring a “fringe” concern to the mainstream. His move comes just weeks after Yao Chen’s viral weibo in support of the Southern Weekly protesters in early January. Everyone is affected by censorship in China–now they’re talking about it.

A sampling of Lee’s defunct posts:

@kaifulee: This many? If I hadn’t seen the post below, the rate of deletion would have risen from 16.3525% to 16.3526%. //@SparrowScience: [How Many Weibos Disappear?] How many posts are deleted inside the Wall? This March, Carnegie Mellon University did just this kind of study. Among 1.3 million Weibo posts they observed, 212,583 were deleted, a rate of 16%.

@李开复:有这么多吗?如果下面的微博不见了,那就是从16.3525%升到16.3526%。// @麻雀理工科技创业:【多少微博消失了?】在墙内,有多少帖子被删?今年三月,卡耐基梅隆大学的学者就做了这么一个研究。在他们统计的130万条微博中,有212583条微博被删掉了,删贴率超过16%。

@kaifulee: I like this cover and headline!

@李开复:喜欢这个封面和标题!

@kaifulee: RT @liuxiangming: RT @yantao: This laundry detergent ad is loaded!

It isn’t really clean
Until the collar and sleeves are clean*

@李开复://@刘湘明:转发微博//@闫涛:洗衣粉广告太内涵了!!!

领袖干净
才算真干净

* The abbreviation “collars and sleeves” (领袖) also means “leader.”

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

There are plenty of vicious attacks on Lee among the comments he received, but each one carries the taint of the Fifty Cent Party. Praise for Lee, on the other hand, is sincere:

@ieras: You know too much.

@李昊哲CEO:你知道的太多了。

@miceecim: This one will soon be number 79!

@小耗子耗小:这条马上就是第79条!

@beautie-yes-itsher: Little Weibo Secretary, you’ve worked too hard. Have a rest and let them speak. Yuan Fang, what do you think?

@玲珑-对-就是她:微博小秘书,这样太辛苦了,休息一下,让他们说去吧,元芳,你怎么看?

Walk through Lee’s weibo graveyard at CDT Chinese.