The New York Times launched a Chinese-language edition yesterday, along with accounts on a number of Chinese microblogging sites, joining the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and several other major newspapers trying to get a piece of the huge China market, reports the AP. It quickly racked up 10,000 followers on its Sina Weibo microblog account—the Chinese equivalent of Twitter—and thousands more on other microblogs. But its accounts on Sina and a second site soon went offline. The Chinese blogosphere quickly filled with rumors the sites had been censored, and the Times says it is investigating what happened.
Ahead of the launch, a Times spokeswoman said no agreement had been made with Chinese authorities over what to publish. "The content of the site will be determined by the New York Times,” she said. “Having said that, we know that occasionally Chinese readers cannot access certain articles on the Chinese-language sites of other foreign media organizations. That may be something we have to live with too, though we hope not." The Wall Street Journal's Chinese edition has been around for a decade, but the government has been known to shut it down for weeks at a time, along with other Western news outlets, when offending stories appear.