Thu, Feb 21, 2013 - Page 1 News List

Frank Hsieh’s ‘weibo’ account suddenly shut down

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Former premier Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) account on the Chinese microblogging Web site Sina Weibo (新浪微博) was suspended for unknown reasons yesterday, less than 24 hours after he made his account public.

He joined the Web site on Feb. 9, but only announced it on Tuesday during his weekly radio talk show. Within hours, he had more than 60,000 followers.

Hsieh, who in October last year became the first senior Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) politician to visit China, also became the first DPP veteran to join the microblogging service.

In one of his weibo messages, Hsieh wrote: “True freedom of speech is not whether or not you’re allowed to criticize government officials, but whether you lose your freedom after speaking your mind.”

Hsieh’s account was suspended at about 2:30pm, with a message showing that the account was not accessible due to unusual activity.

Hsieh said he did not know what happened, but that he would try to apply for a new account.

Before the suspension, Hsieh told reporters that social media was a good platform to get to know more about China’s civil society.

DPP Legislator Tsai Chi-chang (蔡其昌), one of the first DPP members to open a weibo account, supported Hsieh’s freedom of speech message in his own weibo post yesterday.

DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said the incident showed how valuable Taiwanese democracy and freedom are, and Taiwanese were best advised “not to have false expectations of the Chinese government.”

In other news, Hsieh rebutted a local media report saying that he would be meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) at an art exhibition in Beijing late next month or in early April, along with former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan (連戰) and former Taiwan Solidarity Union chairman Su Chin-chiang (蘇進強).

Hsieh said he declined an invitation from Su Chin-chiang, who is the president of the Foundation of Taiwanese Culture, the exhibition organizer, adding that he had no plans to visit China in the near future.

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