Beijing - The New York Times has launched a Chinese-language website that has generated so much interest in China that two of its Twitter-like microblog accounts already have drawn thousands of followers. They apparently were taken offline after one day.

The paper's China managing director Craig Smith said on Thursday the paper's accounts on microblog sites hosted by Chinese web portals Sina and Sohu were offline. Smith says the paper is seeking clarification on the matter.

Smith notes that the Times' Chinese site,, has not been affected and is receiving “strong traffic.” He declined to elaborate.

The Times joins the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal and several other English-language news titans in offering news in Chinese to tap into the huge China market and break the government's controls on information. - Sapa-AP