China Shutters More Blogs

The Chinese government has shut down at least three more blogs just as its parliament begins a 10-day session in Beijing.

The satirical blog of journalist Wang Xiaofeng, dubbed “Massage Cream,” covered a variety of topics, from the Chinese state-run media to Beijing slag, often with implicit jibes at the ruling Communist party. The site had drawn more than 10 million visitors; a message from the blog hosting company now pointedly reads “Because of unavoidable reasons known to all, this blog is now temporarily closed.”

Wang blogged under the name “Dai San Ge Biao,” which is apparently a play on a political slogan used by former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin. Wang’s blog was recently featured in Newsweek magazine in an article on Chinese blogging, and in 2005 was selected the “best journalistic blog in China” by Germany’s Deutsche Welle.

Milkpig,” another irreverent blog run by entertainment reporter Yuan Li of Guanzhou’s Southern Metropolis News was also shuttered, and its shutdown is curious because it did not often cover sensitive topics. Additional reports indicate another blog titled “The Inflamed Prostate” has also been closed for covering events at the Beijing News.

The closures have taken place as the annual 10-day session of the Chinese parliament gets underway in Beijing; during parliamentary sessions, the Chinese government tightens already ever-present media and political controls.