Former Google China head Kai-Fu Lee banned from Weibo

Kai-Fu Lee, former president of Google China, posted on Twitter on Sunday saying that he was temporarily banned from two major Chinese microblogging sites, Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo.

Photo of Kai-Fu Lee (cc) by Hubert Burda Media from Flickr. Some rights reserved.

With 30 million followers on Weibo, Kai-Fu Lee was picked by Sina as the 2012 most influential micro-blogger earlier. His being censored soon became a hot topic discussed on Weibo and other media platforms.

While people are guessing the reason why he got banned, Kai-Fu Lee wrote a post on LinkedIn, listed things he had been talked about on Weibo before the censorship with a sense of humor, saying that regardless of any setbacks and obstacles, he still believes in social media and the influential power of netizens in China.

According to an article in South China Morning Post, some of the Chinese netizens on Sina Weibo, however, linked the censorship with Lee’s critique on Jike.com, a search engine company owned by China’s stated-run newspaper People’s Daily, and its chief executive, former Olympic table tennis champion Deng Yaping.

Caijing News published an article saying that:

CNZZ statistics showed Baidu led the home search engine market in January with a market share of over 70%, followed by 360, Google and SoSo. And less than 0.0001 percent users turned to Jike.

Here is a CNN article about Deng Yaping and the re-launch of Jike.com.

Kai-Fu Lee’s Weibo post about search engine Jike. The post was deleted due to censorship soon later.

In Kai-Fu Lee’s Weibo post, he simply questioned:

1. Why is China using taxpayer money to build a search engine company?

2. Is that possible to build a search engine company successfully without any willings to let the public get free flow of information?

3. Why did the Communist Party appoint the CEO of a search engine company?

4. If the U.S. Democratic Party appointed Michael Phelps to be the CEO of Google, could have Google still beaten Yahoo to become the No.1 in search engine industry?

According to Kai-Fu Lee’s tweet, he will be back to Weibo after the three-day ban.

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