China has conventionally controlled the social as well as political discourse of its citizens. This trend has long been trickling into the digital media. Now, it is being reported that many Sina Weibo users were recently arrested after they had made certain posts on the micro-blogging site.
Siba Weibo is the Chinese counterpart of Twitter and is a micro-blogging platform which has nearly 300 million users. According to reports, police has arrested four people in China over charges that they ‘incited dissatisfaction with the government’ by sharing certain posts on Sina Weibo.
The exact content shared by these users apparently included a ‘hero’ which has been used in many propagande posters in the past. The crackdown of the Chinese state on these users indicate how closely the regime is monitoring online activity as well as its aims to carefully control the narrative.
According to BBC’s editor in China, “On one hand they know how popular this platform is, but they are also aware it can be a disruptive force. This is one of the main campaigns that the Chinese public security ministry is carrying out – to send out a clear message.”
Although Sino Weibo has recently attracted an audience from outside of China, the website is still heavily under Chinese government’s influence. The government recently devised a number of directives which define unacceptable behaviours and aim to actively curb online freedom of speech.