On Wednesday the New York Times launched a Chinese news website, containing both original content and translations of English New York Times’ stories. From the paper’s announcement:
The site, which is called cn.nytimes.com and went live Thursday morning China time, is intended to draw readers from the country’s growing middle class, what The Times in its news release called “educated, affluent, global citizens.’’
The site will feature about 30 articles a day on national, foreign and arts topics, as well as editorials. Joseph Kahn, the paper’s foreign editor, said that about two-thirds of the content would be translated from Times articles and one-third would be written by Chinese editors and local freelance journalists.
The Times Company, which is well aware of the censorship issues that can come up in China, stressed that it would not become an official Chinese media company. The Times has set up its server outside China and the site will follow the paper’s journalistic standards. Mr. Kahn said that while the Chinese government occasionally blocked certain articles from nytimes.com, he was hopeful that the Chinese government would be receptive to the Chinese-language project.
Almost immediately upon its launch, netizens noticed that the Sina Weibo account associated with the website was taken offline. While many suspected censorship, the account was back up several hours later and now appears to be accessible. From the Washington Post:
The paper’s Chinese microblog accounts were activated Wednesday, attracting around 10,000 followers on Sina Weibo within a day and several thousand users on other sites. But on Thursday morning, the accounts hosted by Sina and Sohu.com appeared to have been taken down. The account on Tencent, another popular portal, remained active but functions such as commenting and forwarding posts were apparently disabled.
By late afternoon, the Times’ Sina microblog site was accessible again.
The Times had no indication its microblogs went offline because of the company or its content, or if a technical problem occurred, Smith later said.
Meanwhile, readers in China had trouble accessing Bloomberg News on Thursday, though access was later restored.