China: Touchy topics – John Kennedy

On Global Voices, John Kennedy writes about what is being written about – and being blocked – on BBSes:

BBS forums used to be the venue of choice to make oneself seen and heard in the Chinese blogsphere, until blogs came along and most of the biggest and best BBS names took their reputations and readers and set up their own spaces. While BBSes, some in blog+BBS hybrid form, are still running strong, though not as wild as in their heyday, they still do offer a quantity that blogs do not. Anonymity with a guaranteed profile probably remains the biggest draw, and many stories are broken there that can’t be seen in mainstream Chinese media.

But it’s not all for free. Of the thousands of posts coming into the bigger sites”most self-censoring just enough to keep themselves open but not so much as to bore readers”each day, undoubtedly many posts disappear with no-one the wiser. At KDNet, however, one of the biggest of the big, one strategy which seems to be working for them is to keep the offending post, but keep it on lockdown, available to read but closed to comments. Not blocked yet in some way not safe, what do these kinds of posts imply? A sensitive topic edge of mentionability? Fittingly, KDNet’s locked links appear grey instead of the usual black. Here are those found posted Wednesday night, Beijing time. [Full text]

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