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The trials of Tweeting in China

Twitter may be blocked in China, but the Chinese have Sina Weibo, which the government tries to police but may already have lost hold of. (Photo: Reuters)

China last week shut down its sanctioned version of Twitter, when rumours of a coup spread like the proverbial "prairie fire" throughout the country.  A couple of weeks ago, Rick spoke with a journalist who knows how this "tweeting" system works. 
 
We know it as Twitter, though not in China, where it's blocked by state surveillance.

Instead, the state permits the Chinese version -- something called Sina Weibo. The principles are similar to Twitter. The parameters, not so much.

Not when Big Brother has its algorithmic finger posed above delete, just waiting to wipe out any sign of dissent in those 140 characters on Weibo.

That hasn't stopped hundreds of millions of Chinese from signing up. It just means they have to find clever ways around it.

Author Rachel DeWoskin has been looking into it. She lived in China for five years in the 90s, writing and consulting and eventually becoming a TV star in a hugely-popular Chinese program similar to Sex and the City. Her findings appeared in a recent edition of Vanity Fair magazine. She joined Rick from Chicago.

 Rachel's interview with Rick  

The March 22 Dispatches program

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