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Father of Great Firewall forced to remove microblog

By Agence France-Presse
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 11:58 EDT
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BEIJING – The man widely seen as the architect of China’s vast Internet censorship system known as the “Great Firewall” has had to take down his microblog after a storm of criticism by web users.

Fang Binxing, the 50-year-old president of Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, removed his microblog on popular web portal Sina.com on Monday, just a few days after launching it, the Global Times said Wednesday.

Fang is sometimes called the “father of the Great Firewall” — a system designed to filter out any information deemed sensitive or politically harmful by China’s Communist government.

Social networking site Facebook, video-sharing giant YouTube and microblogging site Twitter are among those blocked by Chinese censors.

Thousands of Internet users flocked to Fang’s microblog within hours after spotting his first posts, mostly mocking or cursing him, despite rapid deleting of the comments by Sina editors, the China Digital Times reported.

“Before, the GFW deprived people’s right to freely access the Internet, now people will deprive your right to use a microblog. You should not regret this, should you?” the report cited one comment as saying.

“Animal. Running dog of the government, lower than animals,” another wrote.

“He is the enemy of all netizens who are forced to scale the wall all day long,” said another.

Many of the comments used expletives, according to the China Digital Times, a bilingual web project based at the University of California, Berkeley, that collates news on China from across the Internet.

Neither Fang nor officials at Sina.com were available to comment when contacted by AFP on Wednesday.

China has the world’s largest online population of over 420 million users, who have made the Internet a forum in which to express opinions in a way rarely seen in a country where the traditional media are under strict state control.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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