In a mind blowing move, the Chinese government mouthpiece Global Times published a long feature on Weibo censorship and highlighted websites that would allow users to get around the Great Fire Wall.
Global Times, best known for its controversial and less-than-stellar editorials (see here, here and here) interviewed the founders of Freeweibo and mentioned WeiboScope and Blocked on Weibo.
These websites, often founded by China-watchers abroad or while VPN-ing in China, provide archives of deleted (censored) Weibo posts and unfiltered searches.
The article, interestingly enough, was not flatly against the mission of these websites. The paper describes how certain terms were restricted in mainland China:
For instance, the name of Bo Xilai, former Party chief of Chongqing who was recently prosecuted on corruption charges, was banned from searches until July 25, the day the news of his prosecution was announced.
The article also provided information on the government’s general policy when it came to censorship:
China’s regulation on Internet information lists nine types of banned content, most of which concerns national security, state unity, rumors, pornography and violence. But in practice it isn’t always clear where the line is and in the event of a breaking incident, certain words or phrases that are otherwise normal might become sensitive for a period of time.
The article seems to emphasize the academic slant within the websites, with many of the sources saying that they either use the sites for research or to provide information access.
What’s next? More actual journalism?