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People's Daily Online>>China Features

Reading China between Weibo posts

(Xinhua)

19:51, December 14, 2011

BEIJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Sina Weibo, the Chinese Twitter-like microblogging site with over 200 million users, revealed its annual roundup on Wednesday, summing up this year's most heated topics on a website that has arrived on the scene as a major forum for public opinion.

Unsurprisingly, first place went to the fatal high-speed train collision in July, which spawned millions of posts railing against the railway authorities, mourning the victims, and calling for thorough investigation of the crash's causes.

While Twitter keeps on the rails as a pure social networking site, its Chinese counterpart, Weibo, acts more like China's Hyde Park -- an open space where people feel free to participate in public affairs.

As a popular post on Sina Weibo said, "When we surf Weibo, affairs of the state pour into our minds, requiring us to make our own judgement and responses. An emperor is hidden in everyone's heart, and Weibo just activates the complex."

Weibo started flexing its muscle in public affairs in January when a post by a well-known scholar snowballed into a national campaign clamping down on child abduction, a topic ranking third on the website's billboard.

Yu Jianrong, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, tweeted a post searching for kidnap victims-turned child beggars, prompting Weibo users to swathe the Internet with photos of street children.

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