As Power Changes Hands, Chinese Censors Work Overtime

Can't have the masses discussing stuff


BEIJING, CHINA: Author Jin Song is relishing the challenge of beating China's army of censors and posting comments online about the country's impending leadership change, the first in the social media era.

Referring by name to the 18th Communist Party congress, set to begin next Thursday, can be difficult. One of Jin's posts on the subject was deleted and he received a message saying "system managers" had removed it.

The trick is to find similar-sounding words in Chinese when writing on the heavily policed but hugely popular "weibo" sites such as Sina Weibo, a microblog akin to Twitter, which is banned along with Facebook and YouTube.

Substituting homophones for political catchwords is second-nature to Chinese netizens, who poked fun at President Hu Jintao's call for social "harmony" by posting about "river crabs", a term that sounds similar to harmony in Chinese.