China blogging conference cancelled

Organisers of an annual blogging conference, CNBloggercon, to be held last weekend in Shanghai were told to cancel the event because it was too “sensitive.”

Convener and citizen journalist, Zhou Shuguang, told Agence France-Presse that the venue informed them one day before the conference was due to start that the Shanghai government had warned them not to allow it to go ahead.

This is the first time in six years that the two-day meeting has been cancelled. Previous conferences, described as the “best annual internet event in China,” by China media blog,, have been held in different cities to avoid being shut down. Last year, for example, it was held in a cave near a mountain town in Guangdong province.

Organisers, though, tried to have the last laugh. The conference website has been wiped clear of content but if you press (alt+A) highlighted text appears: ‘The grass mud horse has been harmonised.'” The Grass Mud Horse, an imaginary alpaca-like creature, is a popular online slang used to poke fun at Internet censorship and in Chinese it has the same sounds as a fairly strong profanity.

When asked why he thought the conference failed this year: prominent Chinese blogger Isaac Mao replied by email: “It’s a very tough year for the China authority this year… [they] are becoming either less tolerant or less confident.”

Mao added that those people who arrived to take part still managed to meet in informal groups. “Because it comes from an internet philosophy, it will definitely continue. Probably no one can ever really stop it.” He noted that they employ “creative ways beyond the mentality of the old-fashioned government.”