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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 March 2006, 07:17 GMT
China outspoken blog reappears

Internet cafe in Beijing. File photo
There are more than 100 million internet users in China
One of China's most outspoken blogs, Massage Milk, has reappeared one day after fears were raised it had been closed by the authorities.

A message which appeared on the blog on Wednesday said it had been shut for "unavoidable reasons".

But a new post, on Thursday, said: "I like to joke, but this time was not a joke, nor was it meant to deceive".

The disappearance coincided with the annual session of China's parliament, when media control is tightened.

Another high-profile blog which appeared closed on Wednesday, Milk Pig, was also accessible again on Thursday.

Despite Massage Milk's assurances, some Chinese bloggers accused it of staging the closure as a hoax.

The BBC's world media correspondent, Sebastian Usher, says Massage Milk has attracted a lot of attention both inside and outside China for its sardonic take on the country's heavily censored state media.

It is written by a journalist based in Beijing, Wang Xiaofeng, whose irreverence about all aspects of daily life in the Chinese capital has won him considerable popularity.

It has also earned him a prestigious international bloggers' award.

The site formed the centrepiece of an article on blogging in China in last month's edition of the US current affairs magazine, Newsweek.

The authorities exert even tighter control than usual on how Chinese citizens express themselves during the parliament's session, particularly on the blogs that many of the country's more than 100 million internet users have set up.

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