Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Global Times Op-Ed: US Consulate Weibo Closure Result of Its Arrogant Tone, Harmful Influence

On July 13, 2012, the state-sponsored Global Times reported:
The official Sina Weibo account of the US Consulate General in Shanghai became "inaccessible" since Thursday morning for unknown reasons, a diplomat has told the Global Times. "We discovered our Consulate Shanghai's official Sina Weibo page cannot be accessed since the opening hour of business at 8 am on Thursday morning. We're now trying to find out why," Wylita Bell, an information officer for the US Consulate General in Shanghai, said.
. . . .
According to latest Sina regulations that took effect in May, any accounts that published more than five pieces of sensitive information that violate Chinese laws, contain rumors, or leak national secrets will be asked to delete the information and be punished by being barred from posting for over 48 hours. For those who maliciously post sensitive information, their accounts will be shut down.
This follows the recent shutdowns of the Weibo accounts for the New York Times and Bloomberg.

On July 16, the Global Times published an op-ed by "Hu Yue" (identified as a "media critic") entitled "In the Hope That the US Consulate Will Learn to be More Cautious" (希望美驻华领馆由此学会“慎独”). An excerpt:
On Weibo, people can enjoy a high degree of "freedom of speech" -- each person is a media outlet unto themselves, and when you publish information it would seem that you are not subject to any "screening" standards beyond your own moral consciousness. As a result, on Weibo one can find all manner of information, moral and immoral, true and false.
. . . .
Within this context, let us now take a look at the closure of the US Shanghai Consulate's Weibo. . . . Much of its information can be classified as "garbage" that is harmful to society. For example, before it was shut down, this Weibo once defended its opinions by using the opposite perspective of a Party newspaper paired with a somewhat "cutesy" cartoon. At first blush it appeared satirical and mocking, even a bit "innocent." In fact, it was "artfully" issuing a challenge to Chinese government authority, and in addition, the challenge carried with it a kind of "condescending" air. It was, in essence, an unintentional demonstration of the kind of arrogance one is used to seeing from America.

This kind of arrogance is no longer an issue of free speech, but rather is an matter of one country's attitude. When you add to this the influence of the Weibo platform, the harmful social influence caused by this Weibo is not insignificant. The closure of this Weibo was in fact a kind of response to its arrogant attitude, and was also Chinese society defending itself against an outside "infectious virus."
. . . .
This Weibo was shut down for spreading illegal and immoral speech online, and was simply the result of its having crossed the line.
The screenshot shows the US Shanghai Consulate's notice regarding its Sina Weibo account deletion posted on its Tencent Weibo.
 UnitedStates-USEmbassyShanghaiNotice-TencentWeibo-20120713.jpg

Translation: Huang Xuqin and Wang Jianbing Inciting Subversion Indictment

On June 14, 2024, the Twitter account "Free Huang Xueqin & Wang Jianbing 释放雪饼" (@FreeXueBing)  posted a copy of the last two p...