Stuff you can’t microblog about


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Cheng Yizhong keeps a microblog on Sina. His account currently has over 22,000 followers and more than 700 updates, and bears a “V” logo, which indicates that it has been authenticated.

This afternoon he made an update noting a peculiar situation:

According to reports from the masses and my own tests, on Sina Microblogs, there are no search results for “Cheng Yizhong” (程益中). Tell me, oh incompetent microblog, why is this?

The update was deleted while this post being written (here’s a screenshot). Apparently Cheng Yizhong can’t write about Cheng Yizhong on his Sina microblog.

Cheng is currently vice-president of Modern Media and publisher of Asian Business Leaders (东方企业家) and Auto Life (汽车生活). But his status as a sensitive word stems from his career as editor of Southern Metropolis Daily and the paper’s expose on Sun Zhigang that led to the end of the custody and repatriation system. His subsequent jailing on corruption charges was widely interpreted as payback and a warning to other would-be muckrakers.

ChinaGeeks notes that Sina’s URL shortener now works only for domestic websites. Foreign website links are still shortened, and the full URL still hovers above the link, but the redirection no longer works.

Conveniently, all of this can now be blamed on the beta status of China’s microblogs: earlier this week, after Sohu’s service went down for maintenance, it and all the other major microblog providers slapped beta notices on their logos.

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