Blogger Qin Zhihui
"Qin Zhihui, a self-confessed 'rumor monger', was led away from court on Thursday to serve a three-year sentence for spreading 'lies, smear campaigns and fibs' across the Chinese internet. Mr. Qin accepted the verdict, telling the court: 'I hope my behaviour can warn others, not to do stupid things as I did.' On the same day, the platform he used to achieve his notoriety, microblogging site Sina Weibo, received a different kind of punishment – from financial markets. The launch of its initial public offering, listing on the Nasdaq stock exchange, achieved a valuation of just $3.8bn, much reduced from earlier ambitions of $7bn-$8bn in March...Punishments such as Mr Qin's, meted out to China's bloggers in the wake of a crackdown last autumn, have sent a chill through the microblogging industry, which is now creating a backlash for its business model. Many analysts increasingly refer to the period of 2011-13, the boom years for Sina Weibo, as 'the Weibo era' and refer to it in the past tense...'Censorship has created a climate of fear on Weibo, people are more reluctant to use it now,' said Zhang Lifan, a university professor and blogger whose account was deleted in November. 'If your account has not been deleted you are not a fully qualified Weibo user,' he jokes."