Sina Weibo: Hey Twitter, how did you keep your government’s hands off you?
Twitter: [Turned Away] No Comment.
Sina Weibo: Gotcha.
Then here comes something you’ve already knew if you use Sina Weibo, the popular Chinese microblogging service announced today to disable its comment function over three days from March 31 to April 3.
Joke aside. Sina Weibo did turn off its comment feature starting 8 AM today, the Beijing-based company ascribed the act to “the necessity of controlling and cleaning illegal comments that spreading rumours” in an announcement. (pictured below)
Sina Weibo has been under close supervision from the day it went online on for its capability in fostering the information flow/transparency on Internet. If you take a look at its inspiration, you’ll find out that Twitter has long been used by activists and democracy-promoters to advocate speech and Internet freedom – the last thing some people want to see happening here. Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State once noted that the spread of information networks is forming a new nervous system for our planet. And the system apparently was cut off here. Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and anything that spreads uncontrollable information – sometimes, namely truth – were turned away.
Sina’s move follows a “crackdown” of over 1000 Chinese websites in a government’s effort to punish them for spreading rumours about a coup in Beijing.
It’s worth to note that, there’s no hundred per cent speech freedom, even in countries advocating such freedom some sort of limits are always enforced on free expression on humanistic concern, social stability or other grounds. However, silencing everyone on everything is not the right and only approach to achieve a so-called harmony society, transparency usually would be a better solution to expel rumours rather than muffling your people.