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China's Netizens Cry Foul After Online Personality Detained

posted 27 Aug 2013, 04:08 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 27 Aug 2013, 04:09 ]

"One of the stories on Weibo that's attracted as much attention as disgraced politician Bo Xilai's trial is the detention of a Chinese-American venture capital investor for alleged involvement in prostitution.

Xue Biqun - AKA Xuemanzi - has over 12 million followers on Weibo.

Over the past three years he's posted more than 85,000 messages, mostly news of all sorts.

He's also used his Weibo account for charity work.

He's launched campaigns against child trafficking, tried to help sick kids, passed along health tips, and frequently criticized the Chinese government over issues like pollution, food safety and corruption.

State media mentions him sometimes in reports about online rumour-mongering.

It seems that they don't like him very much.

So when the news of his detention first broke, many people on Weibo saw it as a government attack on social media.

Some users are wondering why not long ago a group of judges patronizing prostitutes didn't make the news, but a foreigner allegedly doing the same has been splashed all over state media.

One asked if this was the beginning of an online Cultural Revolution.

Many Weibo users commented, that Xue allegedly visiting a prostitute isn't news, but the story getting picked up by China's main broadcaster CCTV is.

So is this a campaign against one man or a wider social media crackdown? We'll have to wait and see.

I'm Anita Li, your China Weibo Watcher."