Since Saturday, comments on Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblogging platform, have been shut down for clean-up all the way until Wednesday, April 4.
Weibos are a bit more “Twitter-esque” now, since comments are a unique feature of Chinese microblogs over their Western counterparts. It’s especially a critical feature, since reposts are often made through a comment first (you may then decide to repost something back to your readers) and allow to aggregate text of the same topic within a single stream.
Tencent had a similar message for their weibo, also one of the most popular ones in the nation:
The networks do not point fingers at a specific target of this “cleanup” in their message to users, but many understand that it is to rid their weibo systems of the chatter on a supposed “coup” in Beijing.
As illustrated in The Economist this week, but understood by any Chinese speaker, 140 Chinese characters are worth a lot more semantic value than in alphabet-based languages.
We’ll try to to monitor the blackout and keep you posted on it.