Six weeks ago, Chinese Twitter micro-bloggers made a quite a splash on the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall through the online Berlin Twitterwall. It was reported by October 29 that over 1,500 Tweets had been scrawled in Chinese across the site, most drawing apt parallels between the Berlin Wall and the "Great Firewall" of China. The remarkable twist of this story was that these Chinese commenters "scaled" that very same cyber-wall to make their thousands of protests - Twitter has long been banned in China.
Yet Chinese Twitter users are a growing presence on the popular micro-blogging platform, as we discovered firsthand. During our ten-day campaign protesting the continued imprisonment of Chinese writer and dissident Liu Xiaobo, of the 395 Tweets and Followers collected by our Twitter petition, 337 were in Chinese. (Read more after the jump)
In fact it seems that precisely because Chinese users must "scale the wall" to participate in Twitter-based communities, Twitter has become a hotbed of honest dialogue on some of China's most contentious political missteps. Chinese Twitter communities exploded this year over the trial of Deng Yujiao, a case which sparked Chinese outrage over government corruption. It would later make its unmistakable mark on the Berlin Twitterwall. And it was this same audacious community led the campaign to free Liu Xiaobo these past two weeks.
Which seems to indicate that whether Beijing likes it or not, uncensored Chinese netizens are a strong and growing force online, demanding and creating the global public forum for their grievances that they are denied by the Chinese state. And though the request of one Twitter user - "Mr Hu Jintao, please tear down this Great Firewall," - is still a relevant battle cry, Chinese micro-bloggers are finding cracks in the Wall on their own.