Many turn to U.S. blog to get censored news out of China

The topic may be Tibet, earthquakes or outbreaks of dengue fever. But when people in China want to share news or commentary that government censors would likely squelch, many turn to a U.S.-based Web site run by Watson Meng of Durham, N.C.

The site,, relies on a host of bloggers and citizen journalists — mostly in China — to break stories, often faster than state-controlled Chinese media or foreign news services. The site is banned in China, but Chinese people can skirt that Internet censorship through proxy servers hosted in the United States.

Posting on Boxun (pronounced "bow shwin") is not without risks. Numerous contributors, including three in the past several weeks, have been jailed in China.

"It's really aggravated the [Chinese] government because it takes stuff outside and puts it on display internationally," said Bob Dietz, of the New York nonprofit Committee to Protect Journalists. "For us, the site is required reading."

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