We’ve told you before about a few examples of memes, cartoons, and other images being censored on China’s Twitter-like microblogging site Sina Weibo. An army of 150 censors police Weibo’s 500 million users, deleting anything they find that might displease the government. But because images are more difficult than keywords to detect and block, cartoons and photos often manage to go viral before the censors catch on; eventually, however, they too are deleted. Yesterday BuzzFeed’s Kevin Tang featured 14 images, mostly cartoons, that got caught in the Great Firewall.
The censored images (which still only represent a fraction of those blocked every day) paint a portrait of topics the government–and its proxies, the censors employed by Weibo–would prefer its citizens not discuss. These include air pollution, food safety, arrest of activists, official corruption and graft, and the trial of disgraced politician Bo Xilai. Most of the blocked pictures were identified through an ongoing project by ProPublica, which has been tracking images deleted from a sample of 100 prominent Weibo accounts since July. Check out Tang’s post with translations and background information over here!
Assistant Web Editor Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.