Watson Meng, founder of Boxun.com
The Financial Times takes a look at the widely-cited US-based dissident website Boxun.com, which it says has been reporting on every twist and turn of the Bo Xilai case with “unusual accuracy”. The site was founded by one Watson Meng, 47, who studied electrical engineering at Duke University, worked in China for several multinationals, and now edits the website from his home in Durham, North Carolina.
A snippet from the FT article:
Mr Meng, 47, studied electrical engineering and IT at Duke University before returning to China in the 1990s. He says he worked for a number of multinationals in China, including Motorola and Unilever, before heading back to Durham.
In 2000, he set up Boxun to publish the kinds of reports that are largely banned in Chinese media – but which he says people should be able to read – on subjects such as human rights abuses, the dissident movement and top-level corruption. While his first posts were based on media reports, he later started receiving information from China, largely anonymously.
“It became more like citizen journalism [although] I had never heard of the term at the time,” Mr Meng explained in a phone interview from California on Sunday.
In the current political upheaval in China, however, some contributors to Mr Meng’s site, could be more than citizen journalists. Some have speculated that his site is now being used by people who wanted to engineer the downfall of Mr Bo.
“Much of the information must have come from party cadres pushing their faction’s agenda,” says an executive at a state enterprise in Chongqing.
In the past, Boxun was mainly seen as a receptacle for wild rumours. In recent weeks, however, it has been surprisingly accurate in predicting many of the developments in the Bo Xilai case, including most notably the move on April 10 to strip the charismatic Chongqing politician of his remaining party posts.
“It is not often the case that our reports have been confirmed by the government – this time, the government has exposed itself,” said Mr Meng.
Read the rest of the FT article here.