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Since Saturday, comments on Sina Weibo, China’s most popular microblogging platform, have been shut down for clean-up all the way until Wednesday, April 4.

新浪微博公告

各位微博用户:
  最近,微博客评论跟帖中出现较多谣言等违法有害信息。为进行集中清理,从3月31日上午8时至4月3日上午8时,暂停微博客评论功能。清理后,我们将再开放评论功能。进行必要的信息清理,是为了有利于为大家提供更好的交流环境,希望广大用户理解和谅解。感谢大家的支持。
新浪微博

2012年3月31日

Weibos are a bit more “Twitter-esque” now, since comments are a unique feature of Chinese microblogs over their Western counterparts. It’s especially a critical feature, since reposts are often made through a comment first (you may then decide to repost something back to your readers) and allow to aggregate text of the same topic within a single stream.

Tencent had a similar message for their weibo, also one of the most popular ones in the nation:

腾讯微博客公告
關閉

用户朋友:
  近期,通过微博客传播的谣言等违法有害信息造成了不良社会影响,评论跟帖中的有害信息相对较多,需要作集中清理。为此,本网站决定,自3月31日上午8时至4月3日上午8时,暂时停止微博客评论功能。由此给您带来的不便,敬请谅解。

腾讯网

2012年3月31日

The networks do not point fingers at a specific target of this “cleanup” in their message to users, but many understand that it is to rid their weibo systems of the chatter on a supposed “coup” in Beijing.

As illustrated in The Economist this week, but understood by any Chinese speaker, 140 Chinese characters are worth a lot more semantic value than in alphabet-based languages.

We’ll try to to monitor the blackout and keep you posted on it.

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