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Shanghai US Consulate Weibo Deleted, Chinese Netizen Reactions

A boy who is waiting to greet U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the National Museum makes a face while holding the U.S. and Chinese flags in Beijing May 4, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

A boy who is waiting to greet U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the National Museum makes a face while holding the U.S. and Chinese flags in Beijing May 4, 2012. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

From Solidot:

Sina Deletes Shanghai U.S. Consulate General’s Weibo Account; Consulate Then Makes Statement on Tencent Weibo

Sina deleted the official Weibo/Microblog of the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai, while searches for it return “In accordance with relevant laws and policies, search results cannot be displayed”. The U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai was not the only foreign diplomatic organ in China that has been is censored [on Sina Weibo], search results for “U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong”, “U.S. Embassy in China”, even “Embassy in China” and “embassy” all return search results that cannot be displayed. The reasons for Sina’s censorship remain unknown, and a backup currently cannot be found on WeiboScope. The account of @Smith-Harrison, spokesperson for the U.S. Consulate Generate in Shanghai, was banned from posting [but not deleted]. He created a new account under the name of @Smith_Harrison_II and posted a microblog post saying he would no longer use a social network controlled by thugs.

A microblog post on Tencent Weibo by the US Consulate General in Shanghai regarding their much more popular Sina Weibo account being deleted.
A microblog post on by the US Consulate General in Shanghai regarding their Sina Weibo account being deleted. This message was posted on Tencent Weibo, a competitor to the much more popular Sina Weibo microblogging service.

@Smith_Harrison_II: I will no longer use a social network controlled by thugs. I ask that Sina Weibo close my account. Sina Weibo is a thug! From this day forth, this weibo will no longer be updated. Sina Weibo is a thug!!!!!!!!

@Smith_Harrison_II: If a party was great/mighty, it would not be afraid of being opposed.

A screenshot of @Smith_Harrison_II's account on Sina Weibo featuring his last posts before quitting the service.
A screenshot of @Smith_Harrison_II’s Sina Weibo account featuring his last posts before quitting the service. The latest post (top) was eventually deleted, either by Sina or himself, but the second to last post (bottom) remains.

Reactions to this news by accounts belonging to famous and notable users on Sina Weibo were often sarcastic…

@杨恒均的微博_nub [writer]:

Sina has made the microblog of the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai “inaccessible”, I would fantasize as follows: 1. If [Sina] is unable to point out which law or policy was violated, then the United States can ban all of of the propaganda and publicity that China has made in the US; 2. The United States investigates the U.S.-listed Sina Corporation for suppressing freedom of speech, causing Sina’s stocks to drastically go down; 3. The United States is unable to do anything, because it boasts democracy and freedom, and even if you violate freedom and human rights, it is unable to.

@梁幕天 [Vice Editor in Chief of a journal of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences]:

After the Shanghai American Consulate General’s microblog was deleted, the Hong Kong American Consulate General posted a microblog post without a single word except for the red song “Remembering my Comrade-in-Arms” from the movie “Guest on the Iceberg”

[Note: “Red Songs” are old patriotic Chinese Communist propaganda songs.]

@韩志国 [Economist]:

“New Weapon”: The Shanghai U.S. Consulate General’s microblog has been deleted, and the U.S., who always boasts itself as the defender of freedom and democracy, doesn’t even dare let out a fart [say a word] while the Hong Kong US Consulate General’s microblog rushed to raise a white flag [of surrender], posting a link on its account to the red song “Remembering my Comrade-in-Arms”. After long arduous effort, China has finally found a new weapon with which to defeat enemies and achieve victory: Deleting weibo accounts. If the little Japanese dare infringe on the Diaoyu Islands, just resolutely delete its microblog account, no need to be polite!

@完颜络 [Chairman of the Board of Evercare Company]:

They bombed your embassy, and you delete their consulate [microblog account].

@贺江兵 [Editor in Chief of Finance Section of ChinaTimes]:

The @美国驻上海总领事馆 [Shanghai U.S. Consulate General] official weibo account was deleted. Some netizens say it is the first time in a decade that China has defeated the American Imperialists! In my opinion, there is something positive to this. It shows us that the [Sina] administrators are relatively fair, not only daring to delete the account of grassroots activist “作业本”, but also daring to challenge American Imperialists!

@范彬-jason [Art Director of 《SOHI上海制造》]:

I can’t believe it, Sina actually deleted the @美国驻上海领事馆 [Shanghai U.S. Consulate General] microblog account. This is the first time in decades that China has prevailed against the U.S. on the internet. Talk about raising China’s national prestige! While I’m at it, may I ask when the @联合国 [United Nations] account will be deleted?

@陶景洲律师 [lawyer]:

China has used huge amounts of foreign currency exchange to increase its outward propaganda/public relations initiatives. At the same time, it also deletes the @美国驻上海总领事馆 [Shanghai U.S. Consulate General] official microblog account. With these two things offsetting each other, we can say billions spent on outward propaganda has just gone to waste.

The US Consulate in Shanghai's Sina Weibo account.
A screenshot of the US Consulate in Shanghai’s Sina Weibo account.

More Chinese netizen comments on both Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo…

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Comments from Sina Weibo:

@1000d:

Please, get Obama to register a Sina Weibo account, get it verified [identity], and then let’s see if it gets deleted…

@傅家刀客:

Sina’s deleting of so-called “sensitive” accounts profoundly reflects one of their values, which is “even if I agree with your opinion, I reserve the right to delete your account at any time, and will at any time exercise that right”. This is what is politically correct on China’s microblogs. @作业本, @美国驻上海总领事馆, etc., you didn’t “die” in vain.

@LindsayYQ:

I heard that @美国驻上海总领事馆 was deleted! Would this be considered a diplomatic incident???

@温和的民族主义者:

Whoever ordered the deletion of @美国驻上海总领事馆 is probably already regretting it now. Do you think Imperialist America is so easy to bully? Your relatives in the U.S. will be deported, their assets frozen. And of course, it is not impossible for you to visit the US on private business, because the @美国驻上海总领事馆签证处 [Visa Office of the Shanghai U.S. Consulate General] will never again grant you a visa. And if your trip is on public business, sorry, the moment you get to America you will receive a subpoena. And if you have a green card, the situation will only be even worse for you, hehe.

@好运福娃:

Free speech of course has limits! No matter what country it is, its freedoms are not without boundaries. If you say something over the bounds, or you do something over the bounds, then you have to bear the legal responsibility/consequence!

@郑州律师:

Is it because it often posted photos of Luo Jiahui [US Ambassador to China Gary Locke] traveling light [being a down-to-earth government official who isn’t waited on by subordinates or enjoys lavish trappings]? Or is it because it publicized air quality data on Chinese cities?

@人世间的看客:

The microblog account of @美国驻上海总领事馆………We’re sorry, but the account that you’re @ing is out of the service area and cannot be reached!

@议员:

If America’s mainstream media reports this, along with the previous complete censoring of the @杀纽约时报中文网 [Chinese version of the New York Times Sina Weibo account], Sina’s stock price will definitely drastically fall, and the stock prices of other Chinese internet companies will also be affected. It must be a really hard for Sina to be in the middle.

Comments from Tencent Weibo:

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@刘掌柜2238:

If this incident gets big, it’ll be yet another temporary worker who was responsible for it.

@空谷幽兰:

Freeze the United States assets of corrupt government officials, make public the property held by government officials.

@法大何兵:

Westerners are now going to start petitioning [the government]!

@冉金龙:

[I believe] It’ll be reinstated as soon as possible.

@哨兵:

You think they still dare dispatch an aircraft carrier to Shanghai in protest? Hahahahaha…

@不正常人类研究中心:

American Imperialists are just stupid! With this kind of thing, Chinese people just say “you understand/you know…” and they’ll understand [because everyone already knows why], while you guys are still “working to find out why”.

@叶脉:

Must have been paranormal activity.

@佐夫:

I reckon it’s because too many people have been directing too many XXXXX problems/issues @ this account.

@宗承宝:

Be careful of getting the Tencent account also deleted.

@狗肉丸子:

Sina went a bit too far here! It was too cooperative [suggesting that Sina was too cooperative with government complaints or requests for censorship].

@双子小怪兽:

This is China, you think you can say the truth whenever you want? Sina already has its tail between its legs [has it hard trying to walk a fine line with the government], so stop making trouble for it!

@好人-阿明:

Even if China has a lot of undemocratic aspects, this is something everyone knows, but no matter what, it is none of those Americans’ business. What right do they have to criticize and comment while on our own territory? Are they actually fighting for the rights of our ordinary common people Are they fighting for our people’s rights? I don’t think so, they want our country to be more and more chaotic, just like how Afghanistan and Iraq is right now, claiming democracy on the surface but actually just for their own interests.

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