British rock band Radiohead launched a blog in China, even though the group has been publicly critical of the country’s human rights record in the past. According to various news sites such as Yahoo, the band recently launched a page on the ‘weibo’ site of Chinese internet portal Sina.com. “Weibo” translates exactly as “micro blog” and is the Chinese-equivalent of Twitter.
Not very much can be viewed on the site yet. The English alternative rock band simply posted a single message that reads: “Testing the weibo”. All due respect, the band’s account has been confirmed to be genuine by Sina.com. The authenticity of the celebrity status also checks with the weibo. The new account has more than 40,000 followers as of today.
The band formed in 1985 and includes Thom Yorke (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Jonny Greenwood (guitars, keyboards, other instruments), Ed O’Brien (guitars, backing vocals), Colin Greenwood (bass, synthesizers) and Phil Selway (drums, percussion).
In the past, Radiohead spoke openly about their criticism of Chinese policy on various issues, primarily the human rights violations. The band performed at a Free Tibet concert and heavily campaigned for the release of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 2010. Raising awareness on their official website for Xiaobo is just one of the band’s attempts to campaign for his freedom.
If you are wondering if the band will make open comments about Chinese government on weibo, that is very doubtful because of the government continues to maintain a dominant control over politically sensitive messages. The government is very active in crushing any dissident campaigning that could possibly start on the internet.