Showing posts from December, 2012

2012 in Review: Baidu's Top Searches Include Censored Terms

Baidu has just posted its  Top 10 Fastest-Rising Search Terms and Top 10 Social Search Terms  for 2012. Numbers 1 and 3 on the former are "Wang Lijun Incident" ( 王立军事件) and "Bo Xilai Removed From Posts" (薄熙来被免职). Number 1 on the latter is "Bogu Kailai" (薄谷开来). Regarding Gu Kailai, Baidu had this to say: Gu Kailai, wife of fallen Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai, was the Lady MacBeth of this dramatic year politically. When she was publicly named on a CCTV1 news broadcast as being “strongly suspected” in the murder of British national Neil Heywood in Chongqing, many found it odd that all references to her included her husband’s surname, appended to hers as a kind of double surname. Speculation was that this was a none-too-subtle attempt to tie her husband more closely to her misdeeds. Searches for her peaked again around the time of her trial, when many netizens believed that a body double had been used in court. This has since been generally disprove

Translation: Decision Regarding Strengthening Network Information Protection

National People's Congress Standing Committee Decision Regarding Strengthening Network Information Protection (Passed at the 30th Meeting of the 11th Plenum of the National People's Congress Standing Committee on December 28, 2012) In order to protect Internet information security, ensure the legal rights and interests of citizens, legal persons, and other groups, and safeguard national security and the public interest, it is hereby decided as follows: 1. The State protects electronic information that can distinguish a citizens' personal identity and that relates to citizens' personal privacy. An organization and individual may neither steal or obtain through illegal means citizens' personal electronic information, nor sell or illegally provide to a third party citizens' personal electronic information. 2. Network service providers and other enterprises that collect or utilize citizens' personal electronic information in the course of business ac

On the 4th Anniversary of Liu Xiaobo's Detention: Censorship of "Charter 08"

In December 2008, Liu Xiaobo and over 300 other Chinese academics, activists, lawyers, and journalists signed Charter 08 (零八宪章), a document released on the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 10, 2009), written in the style of the Czechoslovakian Charter 77 calling for greater freedom of expression, human rights, and free elections. On December 8, 2008, Liu was detained. On December 25, 2009, Liu was sentenced to 11 years' imprisonment and 2 years' deprivation of political rights for "inciting subversion of state power." In the verdict, Charter 08 was named as part of the evidence supporting his conviction. On February 11, 2010, the Beijing Higher People's Court rejected Liu's appeal and upheld the trial court's verdict. On October 8, 2010 the Nobel Committee announced that Liu was to be awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize "for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China

[Updated] A "Proposal for Consensus on Reform" (Almost) Disappears From China's Internet

Update December 31, 2012 - The copy of the Proposal posted on Zhang Qianfan's QQ blog was deleted on December 29. See below for details. Update January 13, 2013  - The copy of the Proposal posted on the Beijing University Law School web site has also been deleted. On the morning of December 27, 2012, the state sponsored Caxin published an article entitled "People Take Notice of 'Proposal for Consensus on Reform'." ("改革共识倡议书"受关注).  An excerpt: Recently, a "Proposal for Consensus on Reform" signed by scholars has been making the rounds on the Internet. The 72 signatories include Beijing Law School professors Zhang Qianfan and He Weifang, legal scholars Jiang Ping and Guo Daohui, lawyer Zhang Sizhi, and modern historian Zhang Lifan. The Proposal believes that, while China's economy has achieved enormous progress over the last 30 years of reform, China's society has also seen the appearance of many problems. Owing particularly to t

State Media (Selectively) Translates Foreign Reports on China's Attempts to Move Internet Regulation to UN

From December 3 -14, 2012, the 12th World Conference on International Telecommunications ("WCIT") convened in Dubai to revise a key treaty of the International Telecommunication Union ("ITU"), a United Nations agency that sets standards for international telephone networks. According to the WCIT web site, their goal was to "review the current International Telecommunication Regulations (ITRs), which serve as the binding global treaty designed to facilitate international interconnection and interoperability of information and communication services, as well as ensuring their efficiency and widespread public usefulness and availability." Prior to the WCIT, China's position was that responsibility for regulating the Internet should be handed over to the UN. See: . On December 10, overseas media reported that "China, Russia and others have withdrawn controversial

Web Sites Censor Speculation That Xinhua Photoshopped a Photo of Li Keqiang

On December 24, 2012, Xinhua published an English language article entitled " Li Keqiang: A Man Who Puts People first ." The article included several photos showing Li Keqiang, including this one . Within hours, Internet users began posting claims that the photo was a fake. For example, this screenshot shows an article posted on the same day on the Tianya blog here -  - entitled "Why Did Xinhua Use a PS'd Photo to Promote Li Keqiang?" (新华社推出李克强的照片 为什么用PS过的? - "PS" is shorthand for "photoshopped"). The post was deleted on December 25. These screenshots show that, also at some time on December 25, Sina Weibo began censoring searches for "Xinhua PS" (新华社 PS). Several users pointed out that the photo in question looks remarkably similar to one that is available on the Guangming Daily web site here - .

When It Comes to Free Speech, Mo Yan Agrees With Father of the Great Firewall: China is an Airplane and Chinese are Passengers

On February 18, 2011, the English language website of the Global Times (published by the People's Daily) published an article about Fang Binxing (方滨兴) entitled "Great Firewall Father Speaks Out." It was originally here - - but was subsequently deleted. Some excerpts: The father of the Great Firewall of China (GFW) has signed up to six virtual private networks (VPNs) that he uses to access some of the websites he had originally helped block. . . . . Fang concedes his Great Firewall doesn't do a great job of distinguishing between good and evil information. If a website contains sensitive words, the firewall often simply blocks everything "due to the limitations of the technology," he says, expecting it would become more sophisticated in the future.  "The firewall monitors them and blocks them all," he says. "It's like when passengers aren't allowed to take water aboard an airplan

"Santa Claus" Not a Sensitive Term, But What About "Snuffleupagus"?

Aloysius Snuffleupagus, also known as "Mr. Snuffleupagus" or "Snuffy," is a recurring character on the American television program Sesame Street. He resembles a woolly mammoth with a long thick pointed tail, brown hair, and a trunk, or "snuffle," that drags along the ground. Snuffy is, by Muppet standards at least, a controversial and divisive figure. For many years he was a source of tension on Sesame Street, as Big Bird was the only character who could see him. Then in 1992 it was revealed that his parents had divorced. Sesame Street originally planned to address the affair, going so far as to film an episode on the subject. That episode proved so controversial that it has been extensively censored in the United States and Canada. This screenshot, taken on December 16, 2012, show that a search on Baidu for "Snuffleupagus" returns apparently uncensored results. However, these screenshots show that when a user tries to search for Snuff

How Other Websites Are Censoring Leaders' Names After the 18th Party Congress

This blog has recently posted examples of how Sina Weibo and Baidu have changed how they approach censoring search results for the names of members of the Politburo Standing Committee since the conclusion of the 18th Party Congress in November. In summary: Sina Weibo - Before: No results, just a censorship notice.  After: Results are delayed for seven days (except for "Hot Posts"). Baidu - Before: Any search containing the name of a leader was restricted to Baidu's strict white list, which is comprised of about a dozen websites controlled by the central government and the Communist Party - People's Daily, Xinhua, etc.  After: Searches containing only the name of a leader is restricted to Baidu's strict white list. Searches containing the name of a leader and a non-sensitive term is restricted to Baidu&

Baidu's New Censorship Policies for Leaders' Names After the 18th Party Congress

Prior to November 2012, Baidu's practice was to restrict all queries containing the name of a member of Searches on Oct. 27, 2012 for PBSC members' names on Baidu restricted to return no results. the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China ("PBSC") to a strict white list of about a dozen websites controlled by the central government and the Communist Party: State Run News Outlets   The China Daily ( The Economic Daily ( The People's Daily ( The Guang Ming Daily ( Xinhua ( China News Service (  State Run Broadcasters   China Radio International ( China Central Television ( and  Government Agencies   Communist Party Youth League ( Central Government ( State Council Information Office ( State Council Taiwan Affairs Office( In early 2012 Baidu also began i