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His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tweet with Chinese Writer

May 23, 2010

Dharamshala: His Holiness will be participating in his first-ever Twitter interview, at the invitation of Chinese writer Wang Lixiong on 21 May. This interview will begin at around 8:00 am Eastern Time in the United States (8:00 pm in China) and will be twitted in Chinese by Wang Lixiong.

Wang said in a blog entry that His Holiness the Dalai Lama will respond to about 250 questions submitted by more than 1,100 web users on the mainland, where information about him is restricted, Bangkok Post reported.

Nearly 12,000 people selected the 250 questions by online voting done on a Google Moderator site, which was blocked in China on Thursday, according to Xiao Qiang, who heads the US-based China Digital Times.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama joined Twitter, the popular micro-blogging site, earlier this year.

Although Twitter is blocked in China, Chinese users will be able to access the chat with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from 1200 GMT, as Twitter allows third-party applications and servers to freely use its data both inside and outside China.

This has made Twitter largely available in China, eliminating the need for the virtual proxy networks often used to circumvent the vast web of government Internet censorship sometimes dubbed the "Great Firewall of China", Xiao said.

"The Great Firewall has actually helped the Twitter community to grow in China in a way not seen around the world," he told AFP by telephone.

"This community has a particular political bond, which is anti-censorship. Many Twitter discussions are about Internet freedom and how to circumvent the so called Great Firewall in more sophisticated ways."

An estimated up to 150,000 Chinese have Twitter accounts, with as many as 100,000 of them physically living in the mainland, Xiao said.


--Bhuchung K Tsering of ICT contributed reporting from New York
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