China’s Latest Mystery: Hu Jintao and the Vanishing Micro-blog

A -like micro-blog supposedly written by President suddenly appeared, and disappeared, over the weekend. The Independent reports:

A brief pro-forma note this morning on the empty site, hosted by the Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily Online, said simply: “This item cannot be found, the author may have erased it.”

That fails to explain the mystery of the president’s missing micro-blog.

Did the famously cautious leader of 1.3 billion people decide he wasn’t ready for such open interaction? Has he joined the ranks of those censored by the Great Firewall of China? Was it a case of identity theft? Had the People’s Daily failed to carry out the proper checks? Or was it a simple computer error?

A newspaper report on the sudden disappearance offered two official explanations. One was that the site simply crashed under the onslaught of 1,000 people an hour signing up to follow President Hu’s micro-blog.

The second was that a recent upgrade created an automatic micro-blog for anyone who had registered their identity in the People’s Daily chatroom – as the president did for an online conversation with the public on June 20, 2008.

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