China Blocks ‘Egypt’ on Microblogging Service

AP reports that the term “Egypt” is now blocked from Sina Weibo, the country’s largest microblogging service:

A search for “Egypt” on the Sina microblogging service brings up a message saying, “According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, the search results are not shown.” The service has more than 50 million users.

News on the Egypt protests has been limited to a few paragraphs and photos buried inside major news websites, but China Central Television had a report on its midday broadcast.

Internet users inside China have reported being able to post the term “Egypt” (埃及) on Sina Weibo, but that search results for the term are in fact censored.

China Geeks also reports on what
Egypt news is and is not visible on the major Chinese news portals (as of Saturday morning, Beijing time):

Xinhua’s Chinese site doesn’t feature the Egypt story prominently. At present, the big headline story is about Wen Jiabao calling the German Prime Minister. The only headline on the site that mentions Egypt is this short blurb about Hong Kong officials announcing a travel warning for Egypt. There are Xinhua stories about the riots, but they are clearly being buried, none of them appear on Xinhua’s crowded front page.

Xinhua’s English site does mention the protests on the front page, in this story, which describes the protests but makes no attempt to explain why they are occurring.

Word of the revolutionary protests is spreading on Weibo and through BBS forums, but appears to be being scrubbed just as quickly. Attempts to link to Al-Jazeera’s live coverage of the story resulted repeatedly in Sina’s Weibo service displaying an error message about “forbidden” content. Some Weibo messages have mentioned Egypt, but the topic appears to have been scrubbed from the trending topics on Weibo, where it hasn’t appeared in the top 50 all night.

See also, “North Africa and China” from Granite Studio.

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