Asahi Shimbun microblogs deleted

By Global Times – AF Source:Global Times Published: 2013-7-19 0:38:01

One of Japan's biggest newspapers said Thursday its social media accounts have been deleted in China.

In a statement released to the Global Times, the Asahi Shimbun said that all four of its microblogging accounts in China were shut down this week in what it described as an "abnormal situation."

"It would be really regrettable if the accounts had been closed intentionally despite the large number of followers... we strongly request the operators reopen the accounts as soon as they can," it said.

Users of Sina Weibo said the newspaper's account disappeared on Wednesday after having gathered around 1.3 million followers.

The reason for the account's deletion was unclear.

Asahi Shimbun said it had sent out inquiries to Sina, Tencent, NetEase and Sohu, the four microblogging service providers in China, to "confirm whether they have purposely shut down its accounts," but said they have not received any response as of Thursday.

Asahi Shimbun, with its 1.3 million followers on Sina Weibo, is one of the most popular foreign media outlets on the microblogging networks.Some Sina Weibo users on Thursday posted icons of candles in memory of the account's disappearance.

Since June 2012, the Japanese newspaper has posted a daily entry called "oyasumi" on its accounts, meaning "good night." The posts traditionally used a few Chinese characters as a humorous or sarcastic hint at a news story. Many Chinese Internet users began taking part in this nightly riddle.

Besides posting riddles and their own stories, the Asahi Shimpun also re-posted and commented on reports from Chinese media, and approached Web users in a more intimate way by making jokes or even making light of their own Japanese origins.

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