Weibo, China’s microblog that’s celebrating its third anniversary this month, offers a national platform for ordinary citizens to hold the powerful to account. In an instant, an ordinary citizen can launch a public debate or shame government and corporate officials by posting photos, videos, comments and messages. Weibo has some 350 million users, and China's leaders are torn between appreciating Weibo’s capability to gauge public opinion and resisting public scrutiny, reports Beijing-based journalist Mary Kay Magistad. The microblog tool has opened a new battleground among Chinese authorities, internet companies and citizens – all testing the other’s boundaries and resolve to criticize, censor and self-censor. Weibo has become the voice of millions of Chinese, stepping up to offer suggestions, some impulsive and others more organized, on their society’s many challenges. Government officials are finding that rapid, reasonable response to valid criticisms is better received than censorship.
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