Thu, Apr 30, 2009 - Page 4 News List

DPP councilor, bloggers upset over PRC Plurk ban

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

A Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilor and a group of bloggers yesterday protested against China’s censorship of Plurk, a micro-blogging service similar to Twitter, and urged the public to voice their opposition to China’s move to curb freedom of speech.

They said China tried to block news of the SARS epidemic when the outbreak began in 2003, and it could ban Plurk to block the news if swine flu spreads to the country.

“This incident reminds us how China continues to be a threat to freedom of speech,” DPP Taipei City Councilor Yen Sheng-kuan (顏聖冠) told a press conference at the Taipei City Council.

Yang Hui-ju (楊蕙如), a Web manager for former DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh’s (謝長廷) campaign, said Plurk had become one of the most popular messaging services in Taiwan and the latest communication channel for independence activists.

A group of pro-independence plurkers even initiated an online activity, inviting other users to change their Plurk ID to the famous ­statement by free speech pioneer Deng Nan-jung (鄭南榕) — “My name is … I support Taiwanese independence” — on Plurk earlier this month to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Deng’s death.

“We suspect that China may have noticed our activity and become wary of Plurk becoming a powerful platform for discussion about Taiwanese independence,” she said.

Yang said many DPP politicians, including Hsieh and former premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌), have joined the trend and become plurkers.

The DPP also set up a Plurk account to communicate with its supporters, she added.

The micro-messaging service posted an article titled “China, Plurk wants to make peace, not war! Please lift the ban!” on its Web site on Monday to share concerns about China’s ban.

It urged users to help spread the news and pressure China to remove the ban.

“We still have not received information from official Chinese sources on what prompted the ban. Was it some Plurkers talking negatively about China?” it said.

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