Lee Kai-fu, the former head of Google Inc (GOOG:US).’s China division, returned to posting on Sina Corp.’s Weibo microblog service after the end of a three-day ban on one of the site’s most popular voices.
“I’m back,” Lee said in his first post to his more than 30 million followers on Weibo yesterday.
Lee’s return comes after Sina said Weibo had more than 500 million users for the first time. Lee, who has used Weibo to complain about China’s Internet controls, was banned from Weibo and a similar site run by Tencent Holdings Ltd. starting Feb. 17 after speaking out on topics ranging from Beijing’s air pollution, to a censorship battle at a Chinese newspaper last month, to presidential politics in Taiwan.
China, the world’s largest Internet market by users, censors comments critical of the ruling Communist Party.
Lee, former head of Google’s China division and now chairman and chief executive officer of Innovation Works, a Beijing-based technology-business incubator, said he holds no grudges.
Sina (SINA:US) Weibo “has become the media of choice that people flock to find or share information, and to voice or hear opinions,” Lee told his more than 500 connections on LinkedIn Corp (LNKD:US).’s professional networking site on Feb. 19.
“While the controls are tighter, one must realize that social media is infinitely more open than other media in China, and Sina has built a solid product integrating images, video, structured dialog, and longer tweets,” Lee said via LinkedIn. “I am confident that China is building up a significant population of socially responsible netizens, who will make a difference to the future of China.”
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