For the second time in less than a week The New York Times’ account on the Chinese social-networking site Sina Weibo has been deactivated. Users wanting to interact with the NYT via the site are greeted with a “user does not exist” message. Techcrunch also reports that other Chinese social networking accounts bearing the NYTimes’ name have also been blocked, though the paper has yet to confirm that these are authentic.
As previously reported by the Editors Weblog last Thursday, The New York Times’ Sina Weibo account was suspended within hours of its launch, only to be reactivated the very same day. In the time before the account was reinstated, speculation was rife that the Times's efforts to expand into the Chinese market would be fraught with difficulty. This time the gravity of the matter appears to have escalated, as the Sina Weibo account has seemingly been deleted, not suspended as it was before.