Some of China's Prominent Internet Voices

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HONG KONG -- Here are some popular people on Sina's Weibo and some of their recent messages.

Kai-Fu Lee is a Taiwanese high-tech investor who lives in Beijing and has more than 50 million followers. He attracted nationwide news media attention last week when he revealed on Weibo that he has lymphatic cancer. On Aug. 23, near the start of the crackdown on the most influential bloggers, or Big V's, Mr. Lee posted this: "Even faced with hardships and obstacles, I am full of confidence in China's social media, because I'm sure that China is now nurturing many friends with a sense of social responsibility, and they will give China a better future!"

尽管面临困难和障碍,我对中国社交媒体充满信心,因为我相信中国正在成长着为数众多的有社会责任感的朋友,他们将让中国的未来更好!

Yang Lan, a Chinese television celebrity with more than 34 million followers, usually sends messages about uncontroversial topics, including her interviews and philanthropic work. But recently, she has also criticized both restrictions on Internet expression and online attacks. She wrote on Aug. 23:

"Freedom of expression on the Internet, including voicing, debating and criticizing diverse points of view, is a force for social progress. But Internet rumors and freedom of expression are two different things, and we can all become victims of irrational linguistic violence. Whether it's protecting citizens' freedom of speech or protecting citizens' rights to their reputation and privacy, both should ultimately rest on rule of law."

网络上言论自由,包括多元观点的表达、争论、批评,是社会进步的推动力量。但网络谣言和言论自由是两回事,在非理性的语言暴力中,人人都可能成为受害者。无论保护公民言论自由,还是保护公民的名誉权、隐私权,最终还是要靠法治。希望尽快出台具体的司法解释。

Pan Shiyi, a property developer based in Beijing with more than 16 million followers, draws attention to the air pollution choking the city, and his messages played a significant role in forcing the government to take firmer action to reduce smog. Recently, he has also voiced misgivings about the government crackdown on Internet opinion. On Aug. 10, he posted this:

"Everyone is passionately discussing whether the Internet should be controlled, cleaned up, guided, to indoctrinate the public…I personally believe that everyone should participate in society online, and the public shouldn't be passively indoctrinated. Rumors should be sanctioned under the law. Forcing the Big V's and Internet celebrities to indoctrinate the public and raise the public's level of morality will not fly."

大家现在热烈讨论网络应该不应该管控、治理、引导、教化民众......。我个人认为:网络社会应该人人都参与,民众不应该是被动要教化、引导的对象。谣言应该受到法律制裁。让大V、网络名人去教化民众,提高民众的道德水平,这不靠谱。

Ye Haiyan, a businesswoman and feminist advocate with about 75,000 followers, promotes women's rights and urges stronger protection for sex workers. She wrote on Sept. 10:

"Looking at Weibo, there's an attitude of mutual crudeness between the public and the government – I'm rough on you, and you're rough on me – and an atmosphere of healthy communication hasn't formed. Those high up wave their big club back and forth to terrify people to death. The public's problem is that it demands that old and new problems are all tallied up, and gets worked up about small and big things. When will both sides calm down and have normal communication? I think those high up have to first give the weak a sense of security and respect."

从微博上看民间与政府的态度是互相粗暴,你对我粗暴,我对你粗暴,没有形成很好的沟通氛围。政府的问题是:高高在上,大棒子挥来挥去,吓死人。民间的问题是:新帐旧帐一起算,大事小事都反感。什么时候才能都双方冷静下来,正常沟通呢?我觉得还是高高在上的一方,要先让弱者有安全感,感觉被尊重。

Li Houlin, a Chinese jewelry businessman with 5.6 million followers, mixes his musings on society and commerce with criticisms of government policies. On Aug. 21, he criticized the crackdown on Internet rumors:

"These days when the spread of information has the capacity to have a real impact, each person must take responsibility for what he says. We must refuse rumors in the name of free speech, and must also avoid using the rhetoric about rumor to hinder freedom of speech. The most effective way to clean up rumors is not using state power to crack down, but letting the public promptly know the truth."

如今信息传递具有影响现实的能力,每个人都要对自己的言论负责任。既要杜绝打着言论自由旗号的谣言,也要避免拿谣言为说辞妨害言论自由。治理谣言最有效的办法不是公权打压,而是让民众第一时间知道真相。

The property developer Ren Zhiqiang has more than 15 million followers. He is one of the more outspoken voices on Weibo, using it to criticize government economic policy and take digs at rivals. Mr. Ren has also criticized government efforts to restrict comment. On Aug. 10 he wrote:

"If it weren't for Weibo, how much official corruption would be covered up? If it weren't for Weibo, how much rape and seduction by school presidents and principals would be covered up? If it weren't for Weibo, how much murder by city administration officers would be covered up? If it weren't for Weibo, how much of the truth would be covered up?"

如果没有微博会掩盖多少官员的贪腐?如果没有微博会掩盖多少院长与校长的奸淫?如果没有微博会掩盖多少城管的杀戮?如果没有微博会掩盖多少事实的真相?

world

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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