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The recent death of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il trended globally on Twitter. It was also, however, the most talked-about topic on China’s microblogs, or weibos.
Some 10-million messages were posted across the various weibos, most of them critical of the deceased leader.
This criticism was also in stark contrast to the stance taken by China’s official media, which hailed Kim Jong Il as a close friend who dedicated his life to his country.
“Although I am a Chinese citizen, I am not bitter and do not want to mourn,” posted one user of Sina’s weibo, the most popular of China’s Twitter-like microblogging services, under the name woshiyizhiC.
“On the contrary, I am very happy, because the death of a dictator is the blessing of the citizens of any country.”
Another Sina Weibo user, calling themselves WesternRain, criticised the decision to name Kim Jong Il’s third son, Kim Jong Un as his successor.
Sina Weibo, which has over 200-million users, logged some 6.5-million posts on the topic, while the weibo of Sina’s primary social media rival Tencent had around five-million comments.
Ordinary Chinese citizens have turned more and more to the weibos as a means of circumventing the tight online and media controls exercised by the Chinese government. Authorities in Beijing have become increasingly aware of the problems the weibos might cause for them.
In an attempt to address these issues, Chinese authorities recently issued a series of new rules forcing weibo users to register their real names before posting online.
Video of a North Korean news woman breaking into tears while announcing the death of Kim Jong Il, meanwhile, has also become something of a viral sensation. It is difficult to gauge precisely how many views the clip has, however, as it has been uploaded by multiple users.