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Journalists get access to censored Weibo posts

Weibo SuiteJournalists writing in English will now be able to access some posts on China’s popular social network Sina Weibo that have been deleted by government censors, thanks to a project by Hong Kong University.

A program developed by the university’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre in 2011 has collected around 200 million posts, which are now findable via a search engine that makes a selection of those posts available to English language users.

Frequency of words related to outspoken Guangzhou newspaper Southern Weekly were deleted

Frequency words related to Southern Weekly were deleted

The platform is called Weibo Suite, and shows posts in Chinese followed by an English translation. For now, the platform shows just 1,000 of the most recently deleted posts, but the university plans to expand the project, the South China Morning Post is reporting.

The table to the right, published in the SCMP today, shows how many times posts on Weibo related to the outspoken Guangzhou-based newspaper Southern Weekly were deleted.

According to Dr Fu King-wa, the brains behind the project, WeiboScope data shows that censors had been more effective lately in stopping internet users in China posting out-of-bounds content since they now need to register Weibo accounts using their real names.

Weibo has around 300m users in China, and is the country’s most popular social network.

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