China censors officials' watches survey

Beijing - Authorities in Beijing have censored a survey of luxury watches worn by Chinese government officials published online by an activist whose investigation was welcomed by the official media.

Internet activist "Huaguoshanzonshuji" told AFP on Sunday that the previous night his research had been erased from his account on the microblogging site Weibo, a Chinese equivalent of Twitter.

He blamed the move on "pressure from the propaganda department".

The activist, who has a good reputation among the Chinese online community for his commitment to exposing abuses of power, had posted pictures of officials stating the brand and the value of their wristwatch.

Sun Jingmiao, president of the national development and reform commission for the eastern province of Zhejiang, was shown with a Rolex worth 70 000 yuan ($11 000).

And Zhou Wenzhang, vice president of the China national school of administration, was wearing a watch identified by "Huaguoshanzongshuji" as a Piaget Emperador and estimated it was worth 100 000 yuan.

In a commentary on Saturday, the official Xinhua news agency paid a roundabout tribute to "Huaguoshanzongshuji," saying the fight against corruption "should follow" his method.

"A simple watch can reveal the hidden corruption of some greedy officials and it shows that corruption leaves its mark," it warned.

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