Friday, December 28, 2012

[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 the inability of political reforms to keep pace, bureaucratic corruption, abuses of power, an expanding wealth gap, and other issues have become increasingly severe, and are trigger strong disatsifaction in society.
. . . .
The signatories proposed six reforms that include promoting constitutional governance, holding democratic elections, respecting freedom of expression, deepening the market economh, implementing judicial independance, and ensuring compliance with the Constitution. The Proposal believes that this "should comprise a consensus for reform for all rational citizens. 
近日,一份由学者联署的《改革共识倡议书》在网上流布。参与联署的有北大法学院教授张千帆、贺卫方、法学家江平、郭道晖、律师张思之、近代史学者章立凡等72人。
倡议书认为,改革三十多年来,中国经济获得了巨大发展,但是中国社会也出现了诸多问题。尤其是由于政治改革未能同步进行,官僚腐败、公权滥用、贫富差距拉大等现象日趋严重,引发了强烈的社会不满。
. . . .
联署者就此提出推进依宪执政、落实选举民主、尊重表达自由、深化市场经济、实现司法独立、保障宪法效力等六项改革主张。倡议书认为,这“应构成所有理性公民所认同的改革共识”。
This screenshot, taken on the evening of December 27, shows that the article, originally available at this URL - http://china.caixin.com/2012-12-27/100477502.html - had already been deleted and replaced with a notice saying "Sorry, page not found." (对不起,页面没有找到)
The article was reposted Yahoo News at http://news.cn.yahoo.com/ypen/20121227/1516619.html and on Tencent's QQ news portal at http://news.qq.com/a/20121227/001033.htm, but as these screenshots show, it was deleted from those web sites within hours as well.

These screenshots show that some time on the afternoon of December 27, Sina Weibo began censoring searches for the title of the document.

This screenshot, also taken on the afternoon of December 27, shows that Tencent Weibo was also censoring searches for the title.
Beijing University law professor Zhang Qianfan (张千帆) posted the document on at least three of  his blogs. As of the evening of December 28, it had been deleted from two of them, and remained available only on his QQ blog here - http://zhangqianfan.qzone.qq.com/#!app=2&via=QZ.HashRefresh&pos=1356424559.

Update December 31, 2012: As these screenshots show, the QQ blog post was deleted on December 29.

These screenshots show that at 2:00 pm on December 27, Zhang's "Proposal for Consensus on Reform" post was listed as the 3rd post on his Caixin blog's home page, and his blog had five posts for the month of December. A few hours later, the post no longer appeared in the list of posts, and his blog had only four posts for the month of December. On the evening of December 27, the URL where it originally appeared - http://zhangqianfan.blog.caixin.com/archives/50779 - directed users to a 404 error page.

Similarly, these screenshots show that the document was also deleted from Zhang's Caijing blog, which was originally available at this URL: http://blog.caijing.com.cn/expert_article-151521-45584.shtml.
The state-sponsored Guangming Daily also published the full the text of the Proposal on its web site at http://www.gmw.cn/xueshu/2012-12/27/content_6158540.htm, but as this screenshot shows, by the evening of October 27 it had swapped out the Proposal for an article entitled "Sun Liping: What Kind of Problems Does China Really Have When it Comes to Governing the Country in Accordance With Law?" (孙立平:中国的依法治国究竟是个什么问题?).
Update December 31, 2012: As of December 31, the text of the Proposal is still available on the Beijing University Law School web site here http://www.publiclaw.cn/article/Details.asp?NewsId=4090&ClassName=%C0%ED%C2%DB%C7%B0%D1%D8.

Update January 13, 2013: These screenshots show that the copy of the Proposal posted on the Beijing University Law School web site has also been removed and replaced with a blank page.

Translation: Huang Xuqin and Wang Jianbing Inciting Subversion Indictment

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