In GlobalPost, Kathleen McLaughlin writes about a home-grown incarnation of Wikileaks in Wenzhou, which has shrugged off attempts at censorship to detail the local effects of the credit squeeze plaguing private enterprises in China:
The site has played host to just about every dramatic detail of the credit collapse; some of it very true, though much of it speculation. It has also become an essential tip sheet in tracing what went wrong with Wenzhou’s private lending system and has provided essential insight into how locals are dealing with it.
Much of the credible information appears to come from inside sources who have posted anonymously. Many of the stories are repeated nearly word-for-word in newspapers and other media across China, eventually making their way into international news reports.
Wenzhou native Ye Zhe, who does not consider himself China’s Julian Assange, helped start the forum as a gossip site in 2004, for fun. Since then, the chat site has grown into a formidable and credible source, thanks largely to whoever is leaking the most dependable information.
Ye, who works by day for the local government, says sources post on the site because they know they will reach the largest possible audience. But Ye says he doesn’t know who they are.
The site, which now employs several full-time staffers, gets about 1.2 million hits per day.