Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sina Weibo Stops Censoring "Zhou Yongkang," Keeps Censoring "Xi Jinping Zhou Yongkang"

On July 29, 2014, China’s official news agency Xinhua reported “The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has decided to place Zhou Yongkang under investigation for suspected ‘serious disciplinary violation.’”

Zhou is a former member of the Political Bureau Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Minister of Public Security.

These screenshots show that Sina Weibo recently stopped censoring searches for Zhou’s name, but that it continues to censor search results for “Xi Jinping Zhou Yongkang” (习近平 周永康).


Screenshots taken hours after the Xinhua announcement.


Baidu, Sina, and Tencent Censor Discussion About Toads and Rivers

On July 25, 2014, the state sponsored China Daily published an article entitled “Critics Busy as Giant Toad Floats Into Beijing.” An excerpt:
An inflatable golden toad that first appeared in Beijing earlier this month in an attempt to emulate the success in China of the Rubber Duck created by Dutch designer Florentijn Hofman has stirred controversy on the Internet.

Guo Yongyao, chairman of Ningbo Jinluban Carpentry Co, designed the toad in December and said his initial intention was to compete with Western art and raise funds for the protection of cultural relics.
These screenshots were taken on July 27, and show that Baidu had banned users from establishing  PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) forums on "Toads" (蛤蟆) and "Rivers" (江).

These screenshots were taken on July 23, and show that both Tencent and Sina Weibo were not censoring searches for “Gold Toad” (金蛤蟆), but was censoring searches for “Gold Toad River” (金蛤蟆 江).



Monday, July 28, 2014

Baidu Brazil vs. Bing Brazil: Searching for the New York Times Article Connecting Alibaba to China's Princelings

On July 20, 2014, the New York Times published an article entitled “Alibaba’s I.P.O. Could Be a Bonanza for the Scions of Chinese Leaders.” The article appeared in Chinese the following day under the title “The Red Descendants Behind Alibaba’s IPO” (阿里巴巴上市背后的“红二代”赢家). Some excerpts:
In September 2012, the Alibaba Group announced that it had completed a $7.6 billion deal to buy back half of Yahoo’s stake in it. The giant e-commerce company raised part of the money by selling shares to select investors, notably China’s sovereign wealth fund and three prominent Chinese investment firms.

What Alibaba did not detail was the deep political connections of the investment firms, Boyu Capital, Citic Capital Holdings and CDB Capital, the China Development Bank’s private investment arm.

Their senior executive ranks included sons or grandsons of the most powerful members of the ruling Communist Party, according to an analysis by The New York Times. Documents reviewed by The Times also show that a fourth investor bought Alibaba shares that month: New Horizon Capital, a private equity firm co-founded by the son of China’s prime minister at the time, Wen Jiabao.
. . . .
By that measure, the $400 million investment in Alibaba made by a subsidiary of Boyu Capital gained more than $1 billion in the same time period. Boyu counts former President Jiang Zemin’s Harvard-educated grandson Alvin Jiang as a partner.

In a country of more than 1.3 billion people, the fact that four Chinese companies investing in Alibaba have had executives who are either sons or grandsons of the two dozen men who have since 2002 served on the Politburo Standing Committee, the most elite group of leaders, speaks to how deeply China’s political class has attached itself to the highest echelons of finance.
 These screenshots show what a user of Baidu's recently launched Brazilian search engine - "Baidu Busca" - would find if they were trying to search for that article.





Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sina Weibo Censors Searches About Alibaba's IPO and China's Princelings

On July 20, 2014, the New York Times published an article entitled “Alibaba’s I.P.O. Could Be a Bonanza for the Scions of Chinese Leaders.” The article appeared in Chinese the following day under the title “The Red Descendants Behind Alibaba’s IPO” (阿里巴巴上市背后的“红二代”赢家). Some excerpts:
In September 2012, the Alibaba Group announced that it had completed a $7.6 billion deal to buy back half of Yahoo’s stake in it. The giant e-commerce company raised part of the money by selling shares to select investors, notably China’s sovereign wealth fund and three prominent Chinese investment firms.

What Alibaba did not detail was the deep political connections of the investment firms, Boyu Capital, Citic Capital Holdings and CDB Capital, the China Development Bank’s private investment arm.

Their senior executive ranks included sons or grandsons of the most powerful members of the ruling Communist Party, according to an analysis by The New York Times. Documents reviewed by The Times also show that a fourth investor bought Alibaba shares that month: New Horizon Capital, a private equity firm co-founded by the son of China’s prime minister at the time, Wen Jiabao.
. . . .
By that measure, the $400 million investment in Alibaba made by a subsidiary of Boyu Capital gained more than $1 billion in the same time period. Boyu counts former President Jiang Zemin’s Harvard-educated grandson Alvin Jiang as a partner.

In a country of more than 1.3 billion people, the fact that four Chinese companies investing in Alibaba have had executives who are either sons or grandsons of the two dozen men who have since 2002 served on the Politburo Standing Committee, the most elite group of leaders, speaks to how deeply China’s political class has attached itself to the highest echelons of finance.

2012年9月,阿里巴巴集团(Alibaba Group)宣布,已经完成了回购一半雅虎所持阿里巴巴股份的交易,金额为76亿美元(当时约合480亿元人民币)。这家电商巨头通过向顶尖投资机构出售股份筹集了部分交易资金,其中主要包括中国的主权基金,以及三家著名的中国投资公司。

然而,阿里巴巴并未详细说明这些投资公司拥有的深厚的政治背景。它们分别是:博裕资本、中信资本,以及国家开发银行的投资机构国开金融(CDB Capital)。

据《纽约时报》分析,这三家企业的高级管理层中,不乏执政的共产党中最有权势的成员的子孙。时报审阅的文件还表明,当月还有另一家公司也购买了阿里巴巴的股份:新天域资本。当时的国家总理温家宝的儿子就是这家私募股权公司的联合创始人。
. . . .
按照这一标准,同一时期,博裕资本的子公司对阿里巴巴的4亿美元投资获得了逾10亿美元的回报。前国家主席江泽民的孙子、哈佛毕业生江志成(Alvin Jiang)是博裕资本的一名合伙人。

在投资阿里巴巴的四家中国企业的高管中,都有2002年以后在中央政治局常务委员会——中国的最高领导机构——任职的20多人的子孙。在这个拥有逾13亿人口的国家,这一事实说明,政治圈子与金融业最高层之间的联系有多么密切。
On July 21, Alibaba posted the following statement on their official Sina Weibo: 
Today, the New York Times published an article in which they made incorrect
Alibaba's Response
characterizations regarding various Alibaba shareholders and offered blatant speculation based on individuals' biases. We express our strong opposition to this article's speculations and imaginings arising from its self-possessed standpoint, as well as the "speculation on Alibaba's background" that certain media outlets are continuously flogging.

We understand that various International media outlets are suspicious and judgmental when it comes to the habits of China's society and enterprises. However, starting today the global society must get used to the fact that China can, and indeed already has, give birth to a cadre of large, international companies that have matured in the market and which serve the market.

We have repeatedly expressed our gratitude and reverence for the era in which we live. And we hereby once again declare our company's position: The only thing  behind us is the market. As for any kind of "backing" from outside to strengthen the company, we've never had it, we don't have it now, and we'll never need it!

Furthermore, we hereby reiterate that all information disclosed by Alibaba strictly conforms to the requirements and principles of an IPO document, as well as the openness and transparency required for a company to develop, and we will bear all associated legal liability.

今天,《纽约时报》的一篇文章,对阿里巴巴个别股东进行了错误的描述及个人倾向明显的推断。我们对这篇文章基于自我立场上的推断和想象,以及一些媒体屡次三番关于阿里巴巴的“背景论”强烈反对。
我们理解个别国际媒体对中国社会和企业习惯性的怀疑和判断,但是,今天,全球社会都要开始适应一个事实:中国可以而且已经诞生一批成长于市场并完全服务于市场的国际化的大型企业。
我们曾多次表述我们对这个时代的感恩与敬畏。我们在此也再度申明公司的立场:我们唯一的背景只有市场。对于外界强加于公司的各种“背景”,我们以前没有,现在没有,将来也不需要!
此外,我们再次强调,阿里巴巴的一切信息披露都是严格遵循招股书要求和原则,力求企业发展的公开与透明,并为此负法律责任。
On July 23, the state sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled "New York Times Attack of Alibaba Has Ulterior Motives" (纽约时报向阿里巴巴发难目的不纯).  Some excerpts from the editorial (which made no mention of the actual claims made in the New York Times article):
The New York Times' deep-rooted prejudice against China and Chinese companies is a problem seen throughout the entire Western world. China's successful market based companies, such as Huawei and ZTE, have all subjected to groundless  questioning and censure from American officials and the public. Americans are constantly picking at one element of China's companies and blowing up its implications. It is they, far more so more than Chinese people, who clearly exhibit "politics in command."

That which is outstanding and mainstream in China are the subject of ridicule in the West, and now even Alibaba is falling victim to this tendency. It would appear that it is only those people and things which in China are seen as against the grain, extremist, and marginalized are deemed worthy of discussion by the West. One cannot help but be filled with sense of regret.

《纽约时报》对中国和中国企业有着根深蒂固的成见,这也是整个西方世界的问题。中国市场化最成功的华为、中兴等大型企业,都受到过美国官方及舆论莫名其妙的诘问和指摘。美方往往从中国企业中单挑出一个元素,放大它的含义,他们经常显得比中国人“政治挂帅”得多。

中国优秀且主流的东西在西方频遭毁誉,现在连阿里巴巴也轮上了。能够一直受西方舆论追捧的,大概只是中国社会里那些反主流或者极端化、边缘化的人和事。这真是令人遗憾。
These screenshots were taken on July 22, and show that Sina Weibo was not censoring searches for “Alibaba,” (阿里巴巴) “Red Descendant,” (红二代) “Jiang Zemin,” (江泽民) and “Jiang Zhicheng” (aka Alvin Jiang 江志成).


These screenshots, taken the same day, show that Sina Weibo was censoring searches for “Alibaba Red Descendant,” “Alibaba Jiang Zemin,” and “Alibaba Jiang Zhicheng.”


These screenshots were also taken the same day, and show that Sina Weibo was also censoring searches for “Boyu” (博裕) and “New Horizons” (新天域).

These screenshots show that on July 26, Sina Weibo began censoring search results for "Alibaba New York Times" (阿里巴巴 纽约时报).


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Baidu Begins Censoring "Guo Boxiong"

Guo Boxiong (郭伯雄) was a member of the Political Bureau of the 16th CPC Central Committee and a Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission from 2002 to 2012.

These screenshots show that, some time between July 10 and July 17, 2014, Baidu began censoring searches for his name.