Wednesday, September 25, 2013
With the klieg lights of Chinese government scrutiny shining brighter than ever on social media, and the threat of prison lurking in the shadows for those whose online missteps reach a mass audience, China's most influential microbloggers have plenty of reason to be nervous.
Evidence of just how jittery at least one of them is arrived on Wednesday night, when state-run China Central Television broadcast footage of real estate mogul and microblogging megastar Pan Shiyi struggling to answers questions in an interview.
他们到底有多紧张？至少在周三晚间中国中央电视台(China Central Television)播放的采访视频中，地产大亨、微博名人潘石屹在回答问题时就显得有些费力。
Mr. Pan, who boasts more than 16 million followers on Sina Corp.'s popular Twitter-like Weibo microblogging service, is typically a smooth-talker, whether in person or on camera. Facing a CCTV reporter's question about the social responsibilities of influential Weibo users - known as 'Big V's' because a letter 'v' marks their accounts as verified--Mr. Pan developed a sudden stutter.
在 类似推特(Twitter)的新浪公司(Sina Corp.)旗下微博(Weibo)上拥有1,600万粉丝的潘石屹通常都很健谈，无论是与人交谈还是在镜头前。但是面对中央电视台一位记者有关微博有影 响力用户（又称“大V”用户，字母“V”代表其账户已经过实名认证）社会职责的提问时，潘石屹突然出现口吃。
'I-I-I I feel that 'Big Vs' -- people with a lot of f-f-f-fans -- should have even higher requirements of themselves, should have more d-d-discipline. You can't be so c-c-casual, ' Mr. Pan told his interviewer, punctuating each repeated syllable with a thrust of his hand as if to push the words out of his mouth (in Chinese).
The co-founder and chairman of real estate developer Soho China, Mr. Pan is one of a number of successful entrepreneurs who've earned large audiences online for their willingness to criticize the government. He has been particularly active on environmental issues. In 2011, he spearheaded what many regard as the clearest example of the power of social media to influence policy by the authoritarian state: a Weibo campaign that forced authorities in Beijing to finally release more accurate air-pollution data.
潘 石屹是房地产开发商SOHO中国有限公司(Soho China)的联合创始人兼董事长，也是愿意批评政府而在网上赢得大批粉丝的诸多成功企业家之一。潘石屹在环境问题上尤其积极。2011年，他带头在微博 上发起运动，迫使北京当局最终公布更准确的空气污染数据。此事被很多人看作是社交媒体力量影响这个威权国家政策的最明显事例。
The CCTV interview came amid a government campaign to gain control over the more freewheeling social media, particularly by putting pressure on influential social media users. This week, China's highest court issued a judicial interpretation saying Internet users could face up to three-years in prison for posting rumors or slanderous content that attracts at least 5, 000 hits or is reposted at least 500 times. Last month, CCTV gave big play to a story on Chinese-American Charles Xue, another Big V known as Xue Manzi, who was detained on suspicion of soliciting prostitutes in a case interpreted by many social media users as a warning to Big Vs.
潘 石屹接受央视采访正逢中国政府向有影响力的社交媒体用户施压之际，政府这么做是为了获得对相对自由的社交媒体的控制权。本周中国最高人民法院发布司法解 释，说互联网用户散布的谣言或诽谤性内容被点击5,000次以上或转发500次以上，有可能最高获刑三年。上个月，央视就美籍华人薛必群（Charles Xue，另一名网络大V，微博名是薛蛮子）因涉嫌嫖妓被捕一事进行了大幅报道。很多社交媒体用户认为这是对网络大V的警告。
Writing on Weibo, Mr. Pan admitted to being nervous about the interview, describing a phone conversation with another Big V who advised him to avoid it at all costs. 'I said, 'It's too late, they're already 20 meters away and walking toward me.'' Mr. Pan wrote (in Chinese), then he quoted his friend saying: ''Then just tell them you think slander and creating rumors are shameful.''
In keeping with tradition, Weibo users opted to respond to the sight of Mr. Pan's skittishness with an outpouring of snark.
'Boss Pan s-s-s-scared to death, ' wrote legal scholar and prolific microblogger Xu Xin, who then applied the stuttering meme to a number of his other posts.
'I thought my TV was broken, ' wrote another Weibo user. 'I pounded on it a bunch of times.'