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Radiohead enters censored world of Chinese social media

The U.K. band Radiohead, which has spoken out on China's human rights record, has set up an account on Sina Weibo, a microblog service that is considered the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
Radiohead china sina weibo 07 03 11Enlarge
Thom Yorke of Radiohead performs at the Park Stage at the Glastonbury Festival site at Worthy Farm, Pilton on June 24, 2011 in Glastonbury, England. Radiohead recently launched an account on Sina Weibo, a microblogging service that is the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. (Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Radiohead, a band that has been outspoken about China's human rights record, has taken a tentative step into the heavily censored world of Chinese social media.

Radiohead recently set up an account on Sina Weibo, a popular microblog service that is China's equivalent of Twitter.

In the past the band led by singer Thom Yorke has been critical of human rights in China and performed at Free Tibet concerts. Radiohead in December posted a note on its website asking fans to campaign for the release of Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.

The Chinese Internet portal Sina.com checks the authenticity of celebrity Weibo accounts, and the Radiohead microblog is said to be genuine, the Associated Press reports.

Like other Chinese Internet sites, Sina Weibo is censored, with posts on "sensitive" topics quickly deleted by moderators.

(More from GlobalPost: China's "Twitter," Sina Weibo, to launch English version)

So far the band has only posted one message, which says "testing the Weibo."

According to the AP, Radiohead’s Weibo account has already drawn nearly 49,000 followers and its first message was reposted more than 10,000 times.

China blocks access to Twitter and other foreign social networking sites, including Facebook and YouTube, due to government fears that it could be used to foment political dissent.

This has provided Sina Weibo with a vast competitive advantage in China, and it has attracted 140 million registered users. About 10 percent of those users are outside China.

Weibo has at least 100 employees monitoring content 24 hours a day, according to a report in Forbes magazine.

Other Western celebrities that have set up Weibo accounts include actor Tom Cruise, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and several NBA players.

(Radiohead's Weibo: http://weibo.com/radiohead)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/weird-wide-web/radiohead-2011-china-sina-weibo-microblog-censorship