This afternoon New York Times columnist and China hand Nick Kristof tweeted the following:
I immediately followed him on Weibo, and sent out a message to my followers saying that he had joined to test what could and could not be said on Weibo, along with his Weibo name.
My weibo was almost immediately retweeted by Hong Huang, who has nearly 1.6m followers.
Soon after, Nick Kristof’s Weibo account disappeared. In total it appears he had the account for less than an hour.
As of this writing I do not know if Sina removed his account, or if Kristof deleted it himself after realizing that people knew who he was. I have contacted Kristof over twitter to see if he pulled his Weibo down himself or was in fact censored. So far he has not replied.
UPDATE: Kristof ignored my queries over Twitter but did tweet that his Weibo account was shut:
“@nickkristof Chinese State Security never sleeps. My micro-blog account on Sina was deleted. So much for that experiment.”
I assume we will see mention of this incident in a future New York Times Kristof column.
His first two Weibos likely did not endear him to Sina or censors:
????????[Can I mention FLG?]
???????????????[Delete my Weibos if you dare! My Dad is Li Gang]
I think Kristof took the wrong approach to using Weibo. The point is not what it is censored, it is what is allowed to be said on Weibo. And Kristof, as a long-time China hand, may have missed a real opportunity to engage in conversations with a lot of interesting people on Weibo, and to have access to a very illuminating window into contemporary China.
Subscribe to the Free Sinocism China Newsletter! Enter Your Email In The Box Below And Start Getting Smarter About China.