Weibo Rumours Continue

Weibo Rumor: Bo Xilai Resigns at Central Party Meeting

A screenshot of Hong Kong’s TVB news program reportedly showing the resignation of Bo Xilai, Chongqing’s party secretary, has gone viral on Sina Weibo, one of China’s biggest microblog platforms.

Bo Xilai resigned on Monday at a meeting attended by members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, according to the screenshot, which was taken from a news program aired on Tuesday.

The news has not officially been confirmed.

Considered a rising star in the Communist Party, Bo has been hit by the leave of Wang Lijun, the Vice Mayor of Chongqing and Bo’s ally.

Wang was detained and sent to Beijing after visiting a U.S. consulate general in Chengdu, a provincial capital not far from Chongqing.

Bo’s resignation is still waiting to be approved, Now TV, another HK media, reported.

Sources cited in the news reports said Bo may leave Chongqing and take up a position as a director of a work committee of the National People’s Congress.



China’s RenRen

Want to know more about RenRen? Not sure what it is? Watch the video below to garner a better understanding of China’s number one social network.

Threatened by Social Media Outlets, Chinese Officials Violently Interrogate Twitter User

The recent detention of a California physicist by Chinese security agents has shown how far the government will go in exercising its social media regulation. Ge Xun was abducted in Beijing this month and was roughly questioned by public security officers at a secret location. Mr. Ge said “The agents peppered him with questions about his blogging activity, his membership in an organization that promotes dialogue between Tibetans and Chinese, and his role in maintaining a Web site that supports a blind lawyer living under house arrest in China.” It appears that Mr. Ge’s greatest fault is his zealous embrace of Twitter, a social media outlet blocked in China along with other web sites deemed a threat to the government’s hold on power. This recent event suggests how far the government will go in exercising its social media regulation and censorship.

 Mr. Ge described that when he refused to provide his Twitter password, two of the security agents unleashed a torrent of kicks and punches that lasted 30 minutes. In the end, Mr. Ge and his captors came up with a compromise: he did not reveal his password but logged on to Twitter and allowed them to peek inside his account.

Adhering to Censorship, Propagating Inequality or Just Good Business?

Yesterday, the Huffington Post piqued my interest. As it often does, it’s filled with a myriad of goodies, and this time, I found an intriguing question.

Is adherence to censorship laws abroad an affront to liberty or simply good business?

Although the question seems to have an obvious answer for the social scientist, ask any MBA and they will probably give a different answer. Touting freedom and democratic ideals seems natural to your average future diplomat, but to the young business leaders of America a deeper understanding of those ideals motivates their actions.

Capitalism. What a beautiful word.

So should Twitter and Facebook adhere to high standards of democracy promotion, or should it look to the bottom line?

Recently, Twitter changed the way that it allows countries to censor tweets. By removing tweets considered inappropriate by the host country (Thailand for example), but not deleting them, they are still available to Twitter users outside of that nation. Suddenly, Twitter is much more attractive to China. Which would allow Twitter to capitalize on the Chinese market of over 500 million users. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo believes that adhering to local laws while maintaining this content allows for more transparency.

The plot only thickens. If Twitter (and most likely Facebook) are willing to follow censorship laws, to what degree will they continue to follow them. China requires users to give up their anonymity by registering with their real names. If Facebook and Twitter choose to follow Chinese policies, will they inherently help the Chinese government track down dissidents?

It will be interesting to see when, how and to what extent, Twitter and Facebook choose to enter the Chinese market and follow censorship laws which govern social media use in the Communist Republic.

Will social media platforms choose to promote freedom of speech or let capitalist ideals rule their company policy?

For the original article, see In Social Media We Trust? in The Huffington Post (15 February 2012)

Political Motivations Behind Chinese Regulation of Social Media Sites?

In the wake of a political scandal involving one of China’s most famous mob-busting security officials, scrutiny on the Chinese government’s political motivations on social media sites has increased. Wang Lijun, the deputy mayor of Chongqing recently visited the US consulate, which has sparked mass online discussion about the purpose of his visit. City officials have stated that he had sought “vacation-style medical treatment”. Microbloggers on Sina Weibo has speculated that Lijun has sought refuge in the embassy and is intending to defect. The Chinese government has usually censored blog posts concerning its officials, however no censorship has been implemented. “Observers have sought to find signs of broader political meaning in an unusual way – by watching how the Chinese authorities have, or have not, censored social media posts on the subject.” The lack of censorship by Chinese government officials seems to imply that they are allowing this story spread on purpose, and perhaps pointing to troubles for Lijun with the top level party officials.

The original article by the New York Times can be found here.

Sina Weibo: A Dating Site Now?

Well, all the single ladies, now put your hands up! Beyonce’s song kind of linger when I read this news (I don’t whether we can call it a news though). As we know that social media(s) do change our culture and society. It’s now more about the quantity instead of the content wise.

“Sina Weibo continued its role as a catalyst for transforming Chinese culture and society last week by becoming the official dating channel for some of China’s single policemen.” That is the opening paragraph of the news. Now Weibo has extend its leverage. The news said that, “The micro-blogging network was used by the Chengdu Wuhou district police department’s official account (‘@Safe Wuhou’) to promote five single policemen to would-be partners. The police bureau’s deputy director, Shu Yi, told Chongqing’s Economic Times that they had launched a ‘help your single police officers’ program last week in a bid to help police officers ‘shed their single status’.” And now you can see how the Chengdu district advertise their single policemen on social media.

Hmm, that is a new and creative way of getting your significant others. Who said that old habits die hard? 🙂

Here’s for the complete story.

Sina Weibo For The Chinese Only!

Just as Sina Weibo appeared set on the world stage, it is about to pull the red carpet and leave an estimated 8 million overseas users who have taken to its Twitter-like service high and dry. These include international VIPs, such as Microsoft’s Bill Gates, actor Tom Cruise and actress Emma Watson, and tennis player Maria Sharapova.

Come March 16, hundreds of millions of Sina Weibo micro-bloggers will have to register with their real names and Chinese ID numbers.

Full Article

Popularity, Twitter versus Weibo

American-Chinese basketball player Jeremy Lin has shot to stardom in the past few days after an astonishing run of performances for the New York Knicks. This has rocketed the 23-year old’s fan-base on Sina Weibo well past that of his number of Twitter followers, and Lin now has nearly 348,000 microblog fans in China. That dwarfs the 78,000 he has on Twitter.

Read More

China Propaganda Department announced the new policy on microblog platform

Feb. 8th,after the committee meeting in Beijing, Chinese Department of Propaganda announced that Chines government is going to further implement censorship agents and policies onto every microblog platform including Sina, Tencent, Soho, etc. Here is the full report on the newly announced policy:

Click here for full report.

Is Sina Weibo going to lose large number of users? I know I’m going to delete my account on Sina Weibo after June, 2012.

Tell me what do you think and how does this change our current research method or result.