July 16th, 2012
12:59 AM ET

Weibo can't handle 'Truth'

Update: Since we posted this, the "truth" was unblocked on Sina Weibo.

On the Internet in China, the "truth" has vanished.

The Chinese word for "truth" (真相) has been blocked from Sina Weibo, China's leading social media site.

It might seem like a bad Orwellian joke, or a satirical headline from "The Onion," but it's true.

This is what we saw when we searched for "the truth" on Sina Weibo on July 13:

And here's the translation: "According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, search results for 'the truth' cannot be displayed."

It's not known how long the term has been censored, why the block was put in place, or when the censors might allow "the truth" to come back.

But it does mean that, for now at least, Sina Weibo can't handle the "truth."

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Jessa

    Lot of CCP 50 cent army are going to be very upset with this story. Brace yourselves CNN for a barrage of attacks on this article and America.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:36 am | Reply
  2. kenyan in cheif

    This is Obama's fault.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:38 am | Reply
    • Kim

      I can barely treolate Weibo. The only reason I have one is to be better connected with my girlfriend and I've noticed that some of our comments on each other's blogs have been mysteriously deleted. Sure the comments were a little flirtatious but were they worthy of deletion on our own personal blogs? The lack of freedom of speech just shows how insecure and childish the CCP truly is. And that's keepin it real.

      October 9, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  3. zhongming

    For folks outside China, it is so hilarious. It could be the joke of the year.

    But for billions of people living in China, it is the sad reality.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:51 am | Reply
    • Buse

      Weibo, or any sort of media in that matter, conant substitute the justice system. I agree with you on many points. For instance, I agree that public opinion sometimes can obstruct justice, and weibo, where the public's opinions are voiced, is surely no exception. However, it is still a channel of expression for Chinese public, whether these opinions will have positive or negative impact on society. China needs a more comprehensive and healthier justice system, as well as enforcement of the Constitution and laws. However, it also needs a place for free speech. Weibo is nowhere near perfect, but it is important and, I have to say, necessary in building a democratic society in China, although it is going to be a long process.

      October 8, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Reply
  4. SlowDay

    CNN get a life!

    July 16, 2012 at 2:33 am | Reply
  5. John Doe

    To make this even more... amusing(?):
    Your Weibo screenshots can't be viewed from china either.
    Just checked and as soon as I use my VPN, your article makes a whole lot more sense 😉

    July 16, 2012 at 3:18 am | Reply
  6. jiang

    Is this true? why I can search "true"(真相) in weibo. And I'm Chinese.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:41 am | Reply
  7. skype biolifts

    I am living in China, sorry to see that, it is true maybe. But we have to face the strange thing in the eyes of people from other countries.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:50 am | Reply
  8. John Q. Public Sr.

    Any nation that has a ministry for controlling the flow of "information" and propaganda is unlikely going to be able to be transparent regarding the truth of anything, unless it is convenient for the current ruling party or dictated as such. Unfortunately, the truth has also been spun less than truthfully here in the United States because our mass media today are only concerned about advertising and marketing revenues, political correctness, and they refuse to emphasize investigative journalism, critical and genuine objective thinking. We are not the paragons of virtue that we once stood by, and that is truly regrettable.

    July 16, 2012 at 3:57 am | Reply
  9. gazza

    Another pointless and vapid article castigating the Chinese. Who wrotes this garbage, and when will they grow up?

    July 16, 2012 at 4:01 am | Reply
    • Oscar

      I think your comment is a worhty one and should make clearer the distinction between justice and democracy as you have expounded. While I feel that justice is sorely lacking in China today and that will be a major source of potential instability until it is addressed (or the system is replaced/overhauled), people often confuse the two. Westerners tend to view democracy and justice as being one and the same and often equate it to the version of democracy seen in the West. Of course, this is the same sort of confusion that leads to unhappy relations with democratic nations that disagree with each other on various policy issues while dictatorships sometimes enjoy warm relations with those same Western democracies through the efforts of an elite Westernized few (think Shah-run Iran, Marcos-dominated Philippines or Mubarak's Egypt, among others).Does the West really want to see a majority opinion run China or a China that falls more in line with Western interests? Observing various Chinese opinions on various subjects, I'm not completely convinced that Chinese democracy is best for China or the rest of the world (in all aspects).

      September 10, 2012 at 6:57 am | Reply
  10. Robin Chen

    It is the Americans who cannot handle truths who are saying here. Look at the two wars you have been involved yourself in. What position are you in to say others cannot handle the truth. Compare to this country here, China is much better at tell their people the truth.

    July 16, 2012 at 4:02 am | Reply
  11. JM

    I just read this article and I am shocked to see a highly respected news outlet like CNN fail in having advisors explain to them that their Chinese characters above do not in fact mean "the truth." The first character doesn't even mean anything. What's even more ridiculous is that when you input the correct characters for "the truth," Weibo does indeed search and come up with results, negating this entire article.

    CNN, what are you trying to do with this? Are you all still upset about your FB shares you bought and hope that by taking down Weibo your shares will go up? Please try to be objective and get your facts right before you write articles like this.

    July 16, 2012 at 4:05 am | Reply
  12. Robin Chen

    It is like the liar keep pointing to the next person and shouting " He's the liar", rather tasteless.

    July 16, 2012 at 4:05 am | Reply
  13. Robin Chen

    You think youtube won't sensor their videos, any website will just allow comments to post. Look at what you are doing here.

    July 16, 2012 at 4:06 am | Reply
  14. audrey

    i can search it out right now and the word truth is 真相 not what you write

    July 16, 2012 at 4:06 am | Reply
  15. Robin Chen

    Can we move on to some more mature topics next time?????

    July 16, 2012 at 4:07 am | Reply
  16. skpe biolifts

    I am living in China, sorry to see that, it is true maybe. But we have to face the strange thing in the eyes of people from other countries.

    July 16, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  17. manuelo

    the "truth" have been abuse and mis-use for the linfwastr time. Therefore, it;s riighfully that they prevent such occurance to take place,

    July 22, 2012 at 9:22 am | Reply

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