Chinese Internet Restrictions Flouted by Government; Citizens Outraged

Chinese Internet Restrictions Flouted by Government; Citizens Outraged

December 11th, 2012
Chinese In Uproar Over Government Twitter Account

Outrage has sparked online amongst Chinese citizens following the revelation that Xinhua News Agency, the official press of the People's Republic of China, has been operating on Twitter for the past nine months while Chinese citizens have been banned from a variety of Western-based social platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, for more than three years.

According to an article published by the Atlantic Wire,
 
The Xinhua News Agency has been posting on Twitter (@XHNews) since March 1, but the vast majority of Chinese citizens had no idea until today, because they aren't allowed to be on Twitter themselves. A report in Yunnan Info Daily finally clued them in, sending China's actual microblogging service, Sina Weibo, into a frenzy of outrage.
 
Users there are not unaware of the irony, posting comments like “I am going to report this to the police: Xinhua is obviously breaching our internet laws" and "Xinhua has proved itself a traitor who has chosen an evil path."
 
However, the presence of the Chinese government on Twitter should not come as a shock, at least not to anyone who actively works in social media. The Chinese government has a history of arresting individuals who tweet negative things about the nation or the regime, showing (if nothing else) the presence of a savvy social media monitoring program. 
 
In November, for example, a Beijing man was arrested because “he wrote a micro-blog post containing false information on the internet.” Zhai Xiaobing posted on Twitter a series of tweet comparing the new Chinese regime to the Western Final Destination movies. The incident was hailed as significant by several large media outlets. According to the BBC, Mr Zhai’s arrest was significant because it had happened after a post on Twitter – which is officially blocked in China – and not on Weibo.
 
Although the Chinese authorities are unable to censor content posted on Twitter, they are able to monitor what Chinese users write.
 
"In China, domestic sites have to hand over the IP address of a user when demanded to do so by the authorities, but with a foreign site there's no such jurisdiction - so the Chinese government must have used other means to identify this person," said  Duncan Clark, chairman of consultancy BDA China.
 
 
 
 

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