Feed on Posts or Comments 01 October 2023

Media &Society newlight on 01 Aug 2011

The empire strikes back

Last week I wrote here that China’s twitter equivalent, Weiboc.om, won a small victory over the censors in reporting the high speed train crash at Wenzhou, Zhejiang. Many factors such as the location and time of the crash contributed to the fast-moving reporting from eyewitnesses and the slow response of the censors. In the process Weibo.com became the media of choice for eyewitnesses as well as journalists. One statistics says in the six and half hours after the train crash, over one million mini-posts related to the accident had been posted to Weibo.com. That’s over forty mini-posts every second.

The attention was quickly moved on to the rescue mission. The crash site is in a reasonably populated area, only about 4 kilometres outside the Wenzhou South train station. Besides rescue workers, local residents (many joined the initial rescue) and journalists reached the site fairly quickly. The fiasco of the rescue operation was on full view, live to many eyewitnesses and many many more Weibo users sitting in front of the screen waiting for latest update.

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Society newlight on 25 Jul 2011

A small victory for weibo

I learned in Saturday afternoon the news of a train crash in China’s Zhejiang province from weibo.com, China’s equivalent of Twitter. There are quite a few twitter copycats in China but Sina’s Weibo, literally means ‘min-blogging’ is the most influential one. It’s since became the primary source for me to follow the development.

Suddenly the crash became the most discussed subject, and weibo.com added a special section for the discussion of this accident. It does not escape censorship though. Many tweets have since been deleted ‘by the original poster’, so the site claims. But it helps that this happened in a Saturday evening when perhaps the censor’s response wasn’t fast enough. According to China Digital Times, a directive was indeed sent to various news organisations later, stopping them from reporting anything out of the official line. But it was too late to stop this accident became the hottest discussion on weibo.com.

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