Chinese luxury watch blogger forced to put a halt to posts

A Chinese blogger, most well-known for posting pictures of Chinese officials and their luxury watches, has been forced out of action due what he calls outside “pressure”.

The internet activist, known by his account name “Huaguoshanzonshuji” on Sina’s Weibo — a Chinese equivalent of Twitter — has been posting pictures of government officials, stating the brand and the value of their wristwatch.

The blogger’s commitment to exposing officials even garnered praise from the state-run Xinhua news agency. Xinhua said that others wishing to join the fight against corruption should follow his method.

Huaguoshanzonshuji said, however, that his Sina accounts had been shut down and any accounts he registered afterwards with other Chinese microblog providers had been closed or had their names changed.

“I believe (the service providers) did not mean to do it. They may have come under some pressure,” said the activist, who identified himself as Daniel Wu.

The blogger could not reveal where the pressure came from. China does, however, have the world’s largest online population with nearly 500-million users, regularly blocks content it deems politically sensitive as part of a vast censorship system.

Wu said he would stop surveying watches “for now”, hinting that it may be for self-protection.

Once the dust had settled, however, he said he would resume the practise.

“I am not a corruption fighter… but I think this (survey) is a personal choice that should be respected,” he said.

“Also I believe transparent information is the best solution to problems.”

The inspiration for the blog came to Wu after a high-speed railway crash in July in eastern China which killed 50 people and prompted widespread outrage on the Sina Weibo platform.

In a report on the accident, the activist noticed railways minister Sheng Guangzu wearing a 70 000 yuan (US$11 000) Rolex and one of his deputies, Lu Dongfu, sporting a 50 000 yuan model.

Wu also posted a picture of Sun Jingmiao, president of the National Development and Reform Commission in the eastern province of Zhejiang, wearing a Rolex worth 70 000 yuan.

And Zhou Wenzhang, vice president of the China National School of Administration, was seen wearing a watch identified by Wu as a Piaget Emperador estimated to be worth 100 000 yuan.



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