Taming Chinese Cyberspace

3090 Words Aug 13th, 2014 13 Pages
Taming Chinese Cyberspace
-- a vision from Weibo

Yicheng Zhu

Reg. No. 110136970

Course: JNL 6032 Media Censorship

Course leader: Dr. John Steel

Abstract
In this essay the recent fashion of Weibo in Chinese media is discussed, especially on the Chinese authorities and government's attitude towards it, moreover and more importantly, the way of how Weibo is being censored is explained.

According to previous theories, internet cannot be regarded as a safe and free place for ideas and liberated speeches, Weibo is a good and exaggerated example as it is born in China--a nation long been considered to be less democratic.

But is it really true? Was the limit of speech and media censorship
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The changes that took place in the Chinese cyberspace had made Chinese political leaders realize, that it would be unwise to refuse this trend of civic need. Nevertheless real reforms could never have happened if the government did not give permissions.

In July 2009, Twitter was officially blocked by the Chinese government, this date is near to a riot in Xinjiang province, not long after the Twitter, the first Chinese edition of Twitter: Fanfou was also closed for nearly 2 years.

One month after the riot and the blocking, on the 14th of August 2009, the close data of Weibo appeared. 2 month later there were a million user already, and a year later this figure grew to 20 million. Today there is approximately 250 million users on Weibo, this means another milestone for Sina and the Chinese government. And new forms of media may have already surpassed the traditional method of media censorship and control (McNair, 2006). Does it mean a better environment of free speech as Chinese Prime Minister had claimed, or is it just a new way of media censorship, on a larger and more invisible scale?

Weibo changed the traditional way of news dissemination, many argue that it is a huge improvement to the Chinese media censorship, thus to the freedom of speech. For the advertisers, ordinary people, Weibo means a
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