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U.S. Consulate's China microblog mysteriously disappears

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A widely read microblog written by the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai and known for its sometimes tongue-in-cheek comments about China's social and political issues was inaccessible Friday.
Popular China microblog site Sina Weibo, which hosts the consulate's account, said it could be a technical glitch, an explanation the company has given in the past in cases where censorship was at work.
The Shanghai account had more than 80,000 followers before it became inaccessible Thursday. It has in the past touched on topics the government considers sensitive.
On June 4, the 23rd anniversary of the student movement on Tiananmen Square in 1989, when online censorship kicked into high gear for the taboo topic, the Shanghai consulate's blog remarked that history could not be discussed that day. A day later, it said: "Yesterday is finally gone."
Also in June, when a Chinese newspaper called for response from the U.S. embassy after a senior environmental official criticized its popular Twitter feed that tracks pollution in smoggy Beijing, the Shanghai consulate posted a shushing emoticon. "Keep your voice low. People are still sleeping," read the posting. The comment later disappeared, though it was unclear why.

Associated Press



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