Sina Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, has suspiciously gone down during the murder trial of Bo Xilai’s wife, Gu Kailai, in what seems to be a calculated move by the government to mute the public.
The ‘Bo Xilai controversy’ had threatened to disturb the calm and collected facade of the Communist Party. Now that it drags on over the approaching once-in-a-decade leadership, it can be guessed that putting a lid on the most boisterous community is the work of a heavy hand. Gu Kailai is accused of murdering British businessman Neil Heywood, a long-time family friend, and reportedly “did not deny” the killing.
Several Weibo users said that the comment and repost function had been “suspended for about an hour” while posts bearing the name of Bo’s wife received “system error” messages. However, Weibo – with over 300 million users – did not experience any glitches when “20 million posts in 5 minutes” flooded the microblogging service after Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang fell. According to The Next Web, Olympic-related posts reached more than 119 million.