The tug-of-war between the government and the people over truth and rumor happens every day in today’s China. The rise of social media has made the struggle harder and the stakes higher. … “Why does the U.S. not censor rumors?” asked one Weibo user last November. “No matter how wild they are, nobody bans them, and the creators of rumors do not worry about getting arrested. Perhaps for places where truth persists, rumors have no harm. Only places that lack truth are fearful of rumors.”
Had the censors tried to look for the original writer of this message, they would not have found him or her. The name is lost amid millions of others, who forward the message after each round of rumor-clearing seizes Weibo in a state-run information purge that can never quite keep up.