A leading leftist scholar on the mainland says censors have blocked his microblog account on Sina.com after Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai was ousted last week. It's another sign of a crackdown on conservative forces ahead of a key leadership reshuffle later this year.
Social critic Sima Nan said he could no longer post new entries after his earlier postings about Premier Wen Jiabao's annual news conference and Bo's dismissal were deleted last week. A dozen of his video clips of the same nature posted on leftist websites had also become inaccessible, he said.
'I don't know why [that happened], but I know it's a reality that has caused me a lot of stress because I can no longer say what I want to say,' Sima said yesterday.
Major leftist websites Utopia, at wyzxsx.com, Redchinacn.com, Maoflag.net and others have been inaccessible for several days. They were apparently taken offline after Wen criticised conservatives last week.
These sites had been rallying behind Bo and his so-called Chongqing model of development - a combination of equal growth, conservative ideological control and a ruthless crackdown on organised crime with little regard to due process.
Political science professor Mao Shoulong of Renmin University said the targeting of leftist academics was born of Beijing's need for 'a unified ideology' ahead of the 18th party congress in the autumn. 'It's also a way of showing support for the new Chongqing leadership [and avoiding] any further instability there,' he said.