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In light of the removal of Chongqing party leader Bo Xilai from his position last week, the Chinese online community has been buzzing with rumors and government criticism—all without ever mentioning their political leaders by name, according to The Guardian.

Microbloggers have been using cryptic code words, ranging from Teletubbies to Instant Noodles, to keep comments about Bo’s dismissal and meetings of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party from being blocked, The Guardian reports.

Internet users nicknamed Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao “Teletubby,” or tianxianbaobao as the show is called in China, the article said. Other codes include instant noodle brand Master Kong (Kang Shifu) for alleged Bo supporter Zhou Yongkang and “Tomato” (xihongshi) for Bo himself, the article said.

The blog Offbeat China also published a list of key words used by bloggers as well as sample blog posts that incorporated the codes, the article said.


Gianna Walton's picture

Gianna Walton


2012-03-23 14:36

by Hannah Vinter

Twitter has announced that it will begin selectively blocking Tweets in some countries.

"Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country -- while keeping it available in the rest of the world. We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why."

Twitter writes that it will withhold access to Tweets in certain countries "if we receive a valid and properly scoped request from an authorized entity". As an example of illegal material it names pro-Nazi content, which is outlawed in France and Germany.

For more on this story please see our sister publication www.sfnblog.com


Hannah Vinter's picture

Hannah Vinter


2012-01-30 15:53

Today the Associated Press opened the first fully-operated news bureau in North Korea from a Western news organisation, a press release announced. The international news wire's office in Pyongyang will be the first to offer, with a full-time staff, a video and text coverage from the country. The plan to open the bureau was announced last June.

According to the Guardian, the opening arrives after months of discussions with the Korea Central News Agency, inside which the new office will be based, and it was originally planned to open last December but it has been postponed after the death of leader Kim Jong-il.

The agency already had a video office in North Korea six years ago through its London-based Associated Press Television News (APTN) and it has been the only independent foreign media news agency operating in North Korea till now, as reported on the APTN website.


Federica Cherubini's picture

Federica Cherubini


2012-01-16 18:06

The number of new Internet users in China in the past three years exceeded more than the total number of Internet users in the USA today: that's a lot of people.

Despite this enormous amount of Internet users, the Chinese government has resolved to further increase online censorship. 39 firms have agreed to cooperate with this latest attempt to "curb rumours" and prevent the "spreading of harmful information", according to the BBC - including Baidu, a popular search engine, and Alibaba.

Google pulled out of mainland China in favour of Hong Kong during March 2010 due its objections to Internet censorship. Exercising this online control is now the job of the State Internet Information Office that was created in the same year.

According to the BBC: "Miao Wei, minister of Industry and Information Technology, called upon internet companies to strengthen their research and development to ensure better censorship of content."


Katherine Travers


2011-11-07 17:32

3 May is World Press Freedom Day, established as such by the UN General Assembly in 1993.

The day is celebrated worldwide by different international organizations such the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and here, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA).

"Every year, May 3rd is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession", announces UNESCO's website.

UNESCO has organized a conference at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on Monday 2 and Tuesday 3 with a focus on how the Internet and digital platforms are contributing to freedom of expression, democratic governance and sustainable development across the globe.
Mashable provides the livestream of the conference here.

WAN-IFRA's theme of this year is the importance of a free press for democracy, whether emerging or well established.


Federica Cherubini's picture

Federica Cherubini


2011-05-03 16:48

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