Weibo is the Twitter of China. Microblog fans in China flock to Weibo because it offers them a chance to vent and because Twitter and Facebook are blocked by the Great China Firewall.
To keep running Weibo employs its own censors to make sure “antisocial” or “destabilizing” items do not make it into the wild.
Now we hear from an actual censor from Weibo (@Geniune_Yu_Yang) about the pressure these censors face:
Washington Post: A Chinese Web censor snaps, goes on public rant
He compares Chinese government censorship to a famous scene in the 1988 Italian film “Cinema Paradiso,” in which a priest watches a movie before it can be shown in public, ringing a small bell to indicate scenes that the theater staff should censor. He scolds users for complaining, arguing that Weibo’s method of having human censors manually delete posts and accounts, rather than doing it automatically, allows them greater freedom.
- Global Voices: China: Sina Weibo Manager Discloses Internal Censorship Practices
- China Digital Times: Weibo Censorship and Southern Weekly
The CDT piece is especially interesting because it ties in with the battle going on in Southern China over censorship policies.