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Posts Tagged ‘twitter in china’

Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter, Valued At $6 Billion

Most mainstream social media networks – Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and YouTube – are banned in China, leaving Chinese social media users to log onto Sina Weibo (China’s Twitter), Renren (China’s Facebook), Tencent Weibo (China’s Tumblr) and Tudou (China’s YouTube) instead. And they’re doing so with incredible quantity.

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Why Are Western Celebrities On Sina Weibo Instead Of Twitter?

Have you seen Iron Man 3 yet?

It opened in North America on May 3. But Robert Downey Jr. fans in China got to see the blockbuster film starting May 1.

Indeed, Hollywood has been making a major play for the Chinese market. According to a recent report by the Motion Picture Association of America, China is now the second-largest box office market in the world. Not only that – last year, more than half of the country’s box office profit was from foreign (read: American) films.

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Are There Less Than 20,000 Active Twitter Users In China? [STUDY]

Back in September we looked at a study which, somewhat controversially, suggested that 35.5 million of Twitter’s (at the time) 140 million active users were likely located in China, putting the country top of Twitter’s user league table, ahead of second-placed India, with the U.S. a distant third.

The numbers didn’t sit right with me, nor many of our readers, and with good reason, as Twitter access is heavily restricted on the Chinese mainland, with the country actively blocking the micro-blogging social network since 2009. And while many people around the world access Twitter secretly via proxies, the penalties in China can be so severe that, even in a country of 1.34 billion, tens of millions of people blatantly taking this risk seemed a little unlikely.

And that line of thinking might have some merit, as a new study has suggested that that 35.5 million estimation could be off by several magnitudes.

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"Dear Chinese Government…" (Twitter CEO Reacts After Chinese Activist Is Sent To Labour Camp For Tweet)

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo (@dickc) responds to the disturbing news that the Chinese government sentenced ‘activist’ Cheng Jianping to one year of ‘Re-education Through Labour’ on Monday for “disturbing social order”, after she retweeted a satirical suggestion (from her boyfriend) on October 17 that the Japanese Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo be attacked.

Will it do any good? Probably not. Twitter is banned in China, after all, and everybody knows that governments in communism countries with atrocious human rights records always follow the exact same rules they impose on the people – so they won’t even see it! – but it’s encouraging to witness somebody in Costolo’s position being proactive.

Although if he suddenly disappears, we’ll have a good idea of what might have happened.

Chinese Girl Sentenced To Year In Labour Camp Over Twitter Activism

This one has shades of the Paul Chambers “bomb threat” case about it, but the consequences are far more severe.

Chinese online activist Cheng Jianping was sentenced to one year of ‘Re-education Through Labour’ on Monday for “disturbing social order”, having retweeted a satirical suggestion on October 17 that the Japanese Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo be attacked.

Cheng disappeared ten days later, on what was to be her wedding day, her whereabouts unknown until it emerged this week that she had been detained and sentenced by local police.

The offending tweet was originally posted by Cheng’s fiancé Hua Chunhui, mocking China’s young nationalist demonstrators who had smashed Japanese products in protest over a maritime incident between China and Japan involving the disputed Diaoyu/Senkaku islands.

Hua’s original tweet said “Anti-Japanese demonstrations, smashing Japanese products, that was all done years ago by Guo Quan [an activist and expert on the Nanjing Massacre].  It’s no new trick.  If you really wanted to kick it up a notch, you’d immediately fly to Shanghai to smash the Japanese Expo pavilion.”

According to other Chinese activists on Twitter, Cheng had participated in low-level online activism, including support for imprisoned Nobel Prize Laureate Liu Xiaobo and imprisoned consumer rights advocate Zhao Lianhai, as well as fundraising in support of other activists.

Cheng (@wangyi09) retweeted her fiancés (@wxhch) original message, adding the text, “Angry youth, charge!”.

“Sentencing someone to a year in a labour camp, without trial, for simply repeating another person’s clearly satirical observation on Twitter demonstrates the level of China’s repression of online expression” said Sam Zarifi, Amnesty International’s Director for the Asia-Pacific.

Twitter is blocked in China but is widely accessed and used, particularly by human rights defenders and their supporters who often use the social-networking platform to quickly organise in support of human rights activists who are detained or tried in court.

Re-education Through Labour is an administrative punishment that can deprive an individual of their liberty for up to 4 years through a decision by the police without a trial by an independent court.

Curiously, her fiancé has not been detained, and continues to use his Twitter account to update on Cheng’s situation.

Her fiance said she had signed petitions including one calling for the release of China’s jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

And she had been detained by police for five days in August this year after she voiced support for Liu Xianbin, a long-time campaigner for democracy in China, involved in the protests that preceded the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

(Source: Amnesty International, BBC.)