Saturday, December 29, 2012

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." At the time of the announcement Liu was in prison serving 11 years for "subversion of state power."

This blog has previously discussed how web sites in China are censoring information regarding Liu Xiaobo and his Nobel Prize:

These screenshots show Baidu search results for "Charter 08" (零八宪章) in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012:
  • January 2009: The month after Charter 08 is published, Baidu returned 11 search results from Xinhua, China Central Television, the People's Daily, and (operated by the State Council Information Office).
  • February 2010: On the day Liu's appeal was rejected, Baidu returned no results, only a notice saying: "Search results may not comply with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, and have not been displayed." (搜索结果可能不符合相关法律法规和政策,未予显示。) 
  • December 2011: Baidu said it can locate over 27,000 search results, although it appears they are limited to Baidu's broad white list, which is comprised of 100+ large portal and news web sites located in China.

 December 2012: Baidu says it can locate over 6,000 search results, although it appears they are limited to Baidu's broad white list ( is located in China, is located in Hong Kong).

These screenshots, also taken in December 2012, show that Baidu restricts search results for "08宪章" to its strict white list.
These screenshots show that Baidu continues to ban forums on "Charter 08" on its Tieba product, and searches for  "Charter 08" (零八宪章) on its Zhidao and Wenku products return no results.

These screenshots show that both Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo are completely censoring searches for "Charter 08" (零八宪章).