By Philip Chun
The New York Times has just launched a Chinese language web site, targeting China’s “educated, affluent, global citizens.” On Thursday, cn.nytimes.com went up in an effort to expand its reach into international markets and to gain revenue from luxury ads targeting China’s growing upper echelon. The site will be a combination of translations from the New York Times main website as well as articles written by Chinese editors and local freelance journalists.
The New York Times, ever aware of the Great Firewall hosted its servers outside of China in an attempt to mitigate Chinese censorship. Joseph Kahn, the foreign editor of the NYT, said: “China operates a very vigorous firewall. We have no control over that. We hope and expect that Chinese officials will welcome what we’re doing.”
Well it seems that Mr. Kahn can rest a little bit easier tonight. Although it was earlier reported that the site’s offical Weibo was terminated for no clear reason, the page has been reinstated. (You can check it out here). Weibo has been known to ban accounts for posting politically unsavory news or repeatedly mentioning forbidden buzzwords, but given that the site was brand new, they could not have possibly posted anything controversial.
It remains a mystery why the page was banned in the first place but the most probable reason is the likelihood that the New York Times would post articles that went against Chinese media directives. It seems that Weibo has given the new site a chance but the more important question going forward will be whether the Net Nanny will give the site the space it needs to grab the eyeballs it needs to survive.