Sunday, September 23, 2012

People's Daily Says Anti-Japanese Protesters Showed "Restraint," "Moderation," and "Civility," Then Deletes Articles Showing Violence

A Japanese department store burns
during protests in Changsha.
Credit: People's Daily

On September 17, 2012, the state-sponsored People's Daily published an article on its front page entitled "Solidify Patriotic Power Using Civility and Rule by Law" (用文明法治凝聚爱国力量). An excerpt:
For several days now cries of "The Diaoyu Islands belong to China!" from people all over have echoed across the broad expanse of the East China Sea. In their anger they have exercised restraint, in their passion they have maintained moderation, expressing themselves in a rational, civil, and orderly manner, demonstrating the determination of the Chinese people to defend their sovereignty and safeguard their their territory, forcefully beating back Japanese government's farcical "islands purchase," and winning the understanding and respect of the international community. 
These screenshots show that the People's Daily deleted an article from two places on its website:

The article was a repost of an article that appeared in the Beijing Morning Post under the title "Diaoyu Islands Coordination Announcement" (钓鱼岛坐标公布).  The People's Daily version, however, added several pictures depicting violence that were not in the Morning Post's version.
On September 17, Soso was able to locate the People's Daily article's URL.
Two days later the result was gone. 
Screenshot showing the People's Daily article was removed and now
return an error message.
 Sina Weibo also began censoring searches and posts that might lead users to information about the violence that took place during the protests. These screenshots show that at some time between September 17 and September 20, 2012, Sina Weibo began censoring searches for "Oppose Japan" (抗日).

These screenshots were taken during the height of the protests (September 15-19), and show that Sina Weibo was censoring searches for terms such as "Looting" (打砸抢), "Besiege" (围攻), and "Shenzhen" (深圳).

These screenshots show that at 11 am on September 17, the first result for a Sina Weibo search for "Guangdong Tear Gas" (广东 催泪弹) was a post showing protesters being tear gassed and saying: "Police fire tear gas to disperse a crowd, what do you think of these methods?" (警方要施放催泪弹驱散群众,这个作法你们怎么看?). That post, originally available here, was deleted in less than three hours.