On May 28, 2012, new management regulations took effect for Sina Weibo, one of China’s most popular social media sites. According to the regulations, users logging more than 5 posts of “sensitive information” would be prevented from posting for 48 hours and have the relevant content deleted. Further, those users posting “sensitive content” with “malicious intent” would be prevented from posting for more than 48 hours and face the possibility of having their account terminated. Ever since August 2011, China has targeted the so-called “online rumor” in a bid to cleanse its domestic internet of harmful information. The campaign intensified in March 2012, as rumors on domestic social media suggest there had been a coup attempt in Beijing. In this cartoon, posted by the state-run online television network CNTV (part of China Central Television), users cower before a computer screen as another user, the proverbial online malicious gossip, gabs away, his words becoming a pair of hand grenades labeled “online rumors”.

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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