Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Baidu, Qihoo, Sina, and Tencent Silence Fang Zhouzi After He Criticizes Zhou Xiaoping - Blogger Praised by China's President

On October 17, 2014, the state-sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled “Online Trolling Suppresses Public Opinion” (the Chinese version was entitled “The Attacks on Zhou Xiaoping Are Not a Proud Moment for Internet Big Vs” - 围攻周小平不是网络大V的光荣). Some excerpts:
Online writers Zhou Xiaoping and Hua Qianfang were invited to attend a Wednesday symposium on literature and art in Beijing, shaking hands with and getting encouragement from Chinese President Xi Jinping.
. . . .
Liberal Chinese celebrities, who have labeled Zhou as a representative of the "50 cent party," a term used to describe online commentators posting comments favorable toward Party policies, took this chance to launch attacks against Zhou again.
. . . .
Coming from the grass roots, Zhou could strike a chord with many young Chinese with his work. Nonetheless, he is not flawless. His rivals could make use of loopholes in his articles to attack him.
. . . .
Some demand perfection in Zhou out of ulterior political motivations. Zhou and Hua weren't invited to the symposium because they are perfect.
The Internet is supposed to be an open community that could accommodate different thoughts.
At 9:00 am on October 20, 2014, online commentator Fang Zhouzi (方舟子) posted an essay on his Baidu Baijia blog entitled “Zhou Xiaoping Sleepwalks Through America” (周小平梦游美利坚). In his essay Fang outlined certain facts that might be considered loopholes or imperfections in Zhou’s September 19, 2014 essay published on the website of “Party Building” magazine entitled “The Broken American Dream” (梦碎美利坚).

The following day, Fang posted the following announcement (now deleted) on his Tencent Weibo:
This Weibo was deleted by Tencent, and the long-form essay that I wrote - “‘An Online Writer’ Sleepwalks Through America,” was deleted after I published it on Baidu. 
Fang Zhouzi's essay as it appeared on Baidu before it was deleted (left).
Fang Zhouzi's post on Tencent Weibo (right).
These screenshots show that Tencent shut down Fang's Weibo hours after he posted his announcement.

These screenshots were taken on October 21, and show Fang’s essay was deleted from and, where it was reposted under the title “Fang Zhouzi Attacks Zhou Xiaoping: Its Easy to Complain About America When You Travel Through It In a Dream” (方舟子打假周小平:梦里游趟美国便控诉美国罪恶).

Original URLs:

These screenshots were taken on October 21, 2014, and show that Baidu and Qihoo were censoring search results for "Zhou Xiaoping."

Monday, October 13, 2014

State Media Reports Yu Yingshi's Books Banned, His Books Disappear from Online Bookstores

On October 13, 2014, the state sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled “View Publishing Ban Within Context” (the Chinese version was entitled “Its Exagerrating to Call Publication Administration as ‘Book Burning and Burying Scholars’” (“焚书坑儒”是出版管理的夸张帽子)). Some excerpts:
Several verified Weibo accounts exposed claims during the weekend that the media regulator has released an internal notice demanding books authored by Yu Yingshi and Jiubadao (penname of Ke Jingteng) to be taken off the shelves. In addition, material by Ye Fu (penname of Zheng Shiping), Mao Yushi, Zhang Qianfan, Liang Wendao and Xu Zhiyuan will not be published. The incident was compared to "burning books and burying Confucian scholars alive" during the Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC).
. . . .
The future prospect for publication of books by people on the list is grim. The prediction is based on the fact that some on the list are foreign nationals but active in Chinese politics, including openly supporting Hong Kong's Occupy Central movement or "Taiwan independence." Some are Chinese mainland scholars but are opposed to the country's political system. If these people are subject to some limit from authority, the signal is not unusual to Chinese society.
. . . .
If one has positioned himself at odds to the country's mainstream political path, he shouldn't expect his influence to keep on rising without disruption.
If these advocators of political dissident culture define themselves as reformers, they should take responsibility for maintaining mainstream politics, not jeopardizing the country's solidarity. If they insist on prioritizing opposing political ideas, they must prepare for pushback from society, which will be unpleasant in most cases.
These screenshots show that, within hours of the publication of the Global Times editorial, works by the scholar Yu Yingshi (余英时), including “Modern Crises and Ideological Characters” (现代危机与思想人物) and “Reviews and Prospects of Modern Confucianism” (现代儒学的回顾与展望),  began disappearing from online book sellers like DangDang and

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What Baidu Was (and Was Not) Censoring During Hong Kong's Occupy Central Protests

On October 4, 2014, the People’s Daily, official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, published an editorial on its front page entitled “Earnestly Safeguard Hong Kong’s Rule of Law” (坚决维护香港的法治). An excerpt:
It is only by using democratic means to develop democracy and the rule of law to safeguard the rule of law that opinions can be expressed and rights can be exercised on a thoroughly orderly track, enabling Hong Kong democracy to follow a path of positive development. It is only in this way that citizens' welfare can be promoted, ensuring glorious stability and long-term peace for Hong Kong. As for that minority of people who want to use Hong Kong as a stepping stone for a "color revolution" on the mainland, they are just daydreaming.
These screenshots were taken on October 5, 2014, and show that Baidu was censoring “Hong Kong Disobedience” (香港 抗命) but not “Hong Kong Revolution” (香港 革命)

These screenshots were taken on October 5, 2014, and show that Baidu was censoring “Umbrella Revolution” (雨伞革命) but not “Color Revolution” (颜色革命)

These screenshots were taken on October 1, 2014, and show that Baidu was censoring “Peacefully Occupy Central” (和平占中) but not “Occupy Central” (占中) - But see also:

See also Baidu Begins Censoring "Scholarism," "Hong Kong Students" and "Hong Kong Tear Gas" 

Monday, October 6, 2014

Watch: Social Media Results for "Peacefully Occupy Central" Disappear from Baidu

These screenshots show that on September 29, 2014, Baidu began censoring search results for “Peacefully Occupy Central” (和平占中). One consequence of Baidu’s censorship is that social media results are no longer displayed.

These screenshots illustrate the impact of Baidu’s censorship: before the censorship the majority of results for a search for “Peacefully Occupy Central” restricted to the domain were from Sina’s blogging platform. After the censorship, there are no blog results.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Baidu Resumes Censorship of "Occupy Central"

The blog previously noted that, on September 29, Baidu began displaying a censorship notice for searches for "Occupy Central" (占中), but the following day the notice was gone (even though Baidu still appeared to censoring search results from many foreign news services).

These screenshots show that on October 4 Baidu was once again displaying a censorship notice for "Occupy Central," and results from social media sources such as Sina Weibo were no longer being displayed. Baidu had also stopped displaying the Chinese Wikipedia article for "Hong Kong Occupy Central Public Elections" (香港占中公投).