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Japan's Prime Minister's Office to Launch Account on China's Sina Weibo

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, July 25 2012

According to a blog post on TechinAsia, the Japanese Prime Minister's Office is planning to launch a microblogging account on Sina Weibo, the Chinese platform that is often compared to Twitter. Sina Weibo is a bit of a behemoth in the social media world, with more than 300 million users. Recently Chinese officials tacitly recognized the microblogging platform's influence when it decided against filtering words related to streets protests in the city of Shifang, even as state-run mainstream media were forbidden to report on the protests. As TechinAsia points out, the Japanese prime minister is not the first foreign leader to recognize the access and influence available via Sina Weibo: Australian politicians, including former prime minster Kevin Rudd, recently started microblogging on the site. Read More

Chinese Microbloggers Fill Vacuum Left By State Media in Coverage of Popular Protests

BY Lisa Goldman | Wednesday, July 18 2012

As analysts and observers release their studies of protests in Shifang, a city in China's Sichuan province, their work indicates that social-media-savvy Chinese officials are giving space online to some dissenting views at a sensitive time of transition for the ruling Chinese Communist Party. The official handling of the Shifang protests raises two salient questions: Why did local officials accede to protesters' demands, scrapping plans for a new factory? And why did the central government, perfectly capable of censoring some if not all dissenting opinions on social media, not hinder access to information about the unrest on platforms like the country's Twitter-like Sina Weibo? Read More