News / Asia

In Shanghai, US Consulate's Microblog Disappears

Logo of Sina Corp's Chinese microblogging site, "Weibo," on a screen, Beijing, September 2011.
Logo of Sina Corp's Chinese microblogging site, "Weibo," on a screen, Beijing, September 2011.
A social media account run by the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai has mysteriously disappeared from the Internet in China, prompting many to wonder if it is the work of government censors.

The Shanghai consulate's account on Sina Weibo, a popular Twitter-like microblog service owned by SINA Corporation, was known for its sometimes witty commentary, often on Chinese political and social issues.

But as of Friday, the consulate's account was still inaccessible, replaced by an error message that reads "temporarily unavailable" -- a message similar to those seen when accounts are deleted by government censors.

Consulate officials say they do not know why the account has been removed and that they are working to find out how the service can be restored.

But Jeremy Goldkorn, the editor of Danwei.com -- a website about Chinese media and Internet -- calls the incident "almost certainly" more than just a technical glitch.

"This is very common. Sina, sometimes at the request of governments, and sometimes on their own initiative to avoid getting in trouble with the government, shuts down accounts and deletes tweets [posts] -- they do all kinds of censorship," he said. "So almost certainly this is what happened."

It would not be the first dispute between American diplomats and the government of China, which employs a massive team of web censors to remove material deemed objectionable.

Last month, a senior Chinese environmental official slammed the U.S. Embassy in Beijing's Twitter account for regularly posting air quality readings that are much worse than the government's official figures.

According to Goldkorn, Beijing is likely even more displeased with posts that appear in the Chinese language on locally hosted services, such as Weibo. But he says he does not know of any instances of government censors completely shutting down a U.S. government-controlled account.

"They have deleted tweets from the U.S. government's Weibo accounts in the past, so in that sense it's not new," he said. "But I think this may be the first time that they have completely removed or disabled an account, on Weibo at least."

Popular Western social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked in China, forcing the country's estimated 500 million Internet users to more easily controlled versions, such as Sina Weibo.

Beijing defends its online censorship, dubbed the Great Firewall of China, by saying it is aimed at maintaining social stability, preventing the spread of false rumors, and blocking inappropriate material.

Analysts say they expect censors to work even harder to filter out controversial content in the coming months in an attempt to enforce calm as a once-in-a-decade leadership transition in the Communist Party draws closer.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
July 20, 2012 2:28 PM
Sometimes my friends and I were "deleted" from Facebook too. Maybe it's just a coincide, who knows! Btw, Chinese Gov't won't let ppl to use Facebook or twitter because ppl can talk whatever they want. If Chinese see this and get the idea, it will be horrific for Chinese Gov't! China and USA are different, so don't use American point of view to judge China.


by: Anonymous
July 17, 2012 10:23 PM
Thanks for China.Beat USA.


by: matt
July 16, 2012 2:23 AM
Thank goodness the Chinese government interferes with the local internet.
Can you imagine how awesome China would be with an open internet?
So thanks again to some dim witted party bosses for keeping its citizens in the dark.

In Response

by: Gordon
July 23, 2012 9:29 AM
you are so funny!


by: Anonymous
July 16, 2012 1:35 AM
china goverment always do this when they think some informations

need not let chinese people know.

In Response

by: CK from: VN
July 17, 2012 3:05 AM
US do the same when wikilick unveilled some info. that were considered not favor for the US. So don't blame other countries when they response with the same action.


by: Anonymous
July 14, 2012 3:39 AM
Why all my comments can not be passed the censoring of this Web site. I have writen hundreds of commments, but none of them can be posted in the site. A big satire!


by: georgefromChina from: China
July 13, 2012 10:03 PM
Sorry for this.but sometimes the government doesen't stand for its ppl.most of our Chinese are open-minded and hope to get connected with the rest of the world.

In Response

by: JohnnyWang from: Taiwan
July 15, 2012 10:41 PM
So, do you think all Chinese are idiots?
what do you mean to connect with the rest of world?
that's an insult of american!


by: joe from: usa
July 13, 2012 1:32 PM
Chinese are clueless thanks to their govt.

In Response

by: fu from: china
July 14, 2012 8:11 AM
as same as American.....thanks to your govt.

In Response

by: georgefromChina from: China
July 13, 2012 10:07 PM
eh,I don't want to argue about this,i just want to say,the definition of clueless is various.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid