Former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷) said yesterday that none of the Chinese microblogging accounts bearing his name have any connection with him or the foundation that he heads.
Hsieh, who formerly served as Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) chairman, made the comments after learning that many such accounts had sprung up since his bona fide account with Sina Weibo was apparently shut down by Chinese censors on Wednesday.
Just one day prior to this, he had announced in a radio interview that he had opened the account on Feb. 9.
Hsieh said on Plurk, a social Web site similar to Facebook, that he lodged a complaint with Sina Weibo late on Wednesday. He would withold comment and would not set up any new accounts pending a reply, he added.
However, he did say that many people on the Internet are certain that his account has been blocked or shut down altogether.
The account became inaccessible less than 24 hours after he posted a message saying: “Freedom of speech, or the lack of it, does not depend on whether you are free to criticize the powers that be, but whether you lose your freedom after the fact.”
His comments, as well as the fact that he succeeded in setting up an account, captured the imagination of tens of thousands of Chinese netizens and many left messages in response.
Although the 66-year-old politician is considered China-friendly compared with others in the DPP, the Chinese authorities often criticize the party.
It is not known how many accounts have been set up in Hsieh’s name with China’s many microblogging services, but Hsieh said earlier that when he was setting up his account, he found that there were already eight accounts with a Chinese name similar to his.
He eventually prefixed his name with “Taiwan Weixin” to complete the registration.
Weixin means “reform” and is a reference to his Taiwan Reform Foundation.