Internet

Censor's Rant Offers Peek Into Chinese Web Controls

Private companies stuck between the government and users

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Spare a moment for the Chinese censor, stuck between a Communist Party that demands strict control and a few million Web users who increasingly expect the ability to speak their minds online.

As controversy over a censored newspaper grows into one of China's biggest and potentially most significant free-speech fights in years, party officials are likely seeking greater control at exactly the moment that outraged Web users are making that task most difficult. At least one censor on Weibo, the popular Twitter-like service that often serves as the closest China has to a public national conversation, seems to have snapped.

A rant was posted from a Weibo account belonging to @Geniune_Yu_Yang, which is identified as belonging to a Weibo manager, about the pressure from government officials and complaints from regular users. To be clear, he's not a state employee: Weibo self-censors, employing folks like @Geniune_Yu_Yang to implement the party's ever-evolving guidelines on what is and isn't allowed.