China microbloggers post 393m Olympic messages

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BEIJING, China, August 14 – China may have slipped to second place in the Olympic medals table, but when it came to online enthusiasm about the Games its microbloggers were second to none.

China’s main microblogging site Sina Weibo said its users posted 393 million messages about the London Olympics over the course of the two-week event — well over double the 150 million Games-related posts on Twitter.

China bans Twitter, but its home-grown microblogs — the most popular of which is Sina Weibo — have taken the country by storm as Internet access has grown.

Drama surrounding star Chinese athletes regularly topped Sina’s list of hottest topics during the Games, such as when swimming phenomenon Ye Shiwen broke the world record in the women’s 400m individual medley only to face accusations of doping.

More than 30 million people posted on hurdler Liu Xiang’s disastrous performance in the 110m hurdles when he crashed into the first fence with the same injury that prevented him from taking part in the Beijing Olympics.

Many web users praised their country’s performance, though there were also allegations of anti-China bias among referees and the Western media, which some web users said had prevented China from defending its place at the top of the medals table.

Sina Weibo says it has more than 300 million registered users, but it is not clear how many of these are active.

Twitter says it has 100 million active users and does not give a total number of registered users, although French web consultancy Semiocast said the total number of Twitter users reached 500 million in June.

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