Sunday, September 30, 2012

Xinhua Says Bo Xilai Expelled From Party, Sina and Tencent Weibos Stop Censoring "Bo Xilai" and Son "Bo Guagua"

At 4:00 pm on September 28, 2012, China's official news agency Xinhua published a report stating: "BO XILAI EXPELLED FROM CPC, PUBLIC OFFICE, TO FACE JUSTICE" (Chinese version)

Within hours after the announcement, Sina and Tencent stopped censoring searches for both "Bo Xilai" (薄熙来) and his son "Bo Guagua" (薄瓜瓜).

Both of those terms had been censored since at least 2011.

Changsha Police Require Hardware to Be Installed by Hotels, Restaurants to Record Patron's Internet Usage

On July 14, 2012, the Changsha Morning Post published an article entitled "Internet Users at Hotels Will Have a 'Recorder'" (宾馆酒店上网将有“记录者”). An excerpt:
Yesterday, the Changsha Public Security Office held a conference entitled "City-Wide Internet Information Security Work Drive," during which they confirmed the security technical protection measures for hotels, restaurants, and other venues that provided non-commercial Internet access services to floating populations, and explicitly required these venues to install Internet security management and monitoring systems. Based on our understanding, the cost of installing these systems will be borne by the non-commercial Internet service venues, and those who fail to put the systems in place can be fined up to 15,000 yuan.
. . . .
According to Tang Xinguo, Section Chief of the Network Administration Institute of Changsha Public Security Office's Internet Monitoring Bureau, it is not necessary to produce identification when going online at non-commercial Internet service venues such as hotels, lounges, and restaurants, and this represents a significant monitoring loophole, and many Internet users at these venues go online doing whatever they want and spread certain harmful information. Based on the  Provisions on Internet Administration public security agencies have brought these within the categorgy of managment. "The monitoring system is a piece of hardware, it is the equivalent of a recording device, and if an Internet user spreads harmful information we are able to use this monitoring system to inspect and control it."
. . . .

Monday, September 24, 2012

Wang Lijun Found Guilty - A Chronicle of Censorship of the Case

On August 20, 2012, a court in Hefei, Anhui, found Gu Kailai (谷开来), wife of former Chongqing Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai (薄熙来), guilty of murdering Neil Heywood (尼尔伍德), and gave her a suspended death sentence. It also found Zhang Xiaojun (张晓军) guilty and sentenced him to nine years imprisonment. For a detailed chronology of censorship in that case, see this post.

On September 24, 2012, the Chengdu Intermediate People's Court found Wang Lijun (王立军), former Deputy Mayor of Chongqing, guilty of bribe-taking (受贿 - 9 years), abuse of power (滥用职权 - two years), defecting  (叛逃 - 2 years), and “bending the law for selfish ends,” (徇私枉法 - 7 years) and sentenced him to a term of 15 years imprisonment.

The following is a timeline of the events and censorship leading up to Wang Lijun's conviction.


Wang, then police chief of the city of Jinzhou in northeast China's Liaoning Province, first meets Bogu Kailai.


April: While Wang was serving as the chief of Chongqing's Public Security Bureau, one of Wang's immediate family members was transferred to a working position in Beijing. Not having a residence in Beijing, Wang's relative received two apartments in Beijing bought by Xu Ming (徐明), board chairman of the Dalian Shide Group Co. Ltd. (大连实德集团有限公司)at a price of 2.85 million yuan (449,583 U.S. dollars). The apartments were registered under the name of Wang's father-in-law. After the deal, Wang gave his thanks to Xu in person.


August 12: Bo Guagua (薄瓜瓜 - son of Gu Kailai and Bo Xilai) tries to meet with Wang, but Wang refuses.

November 12: After a discussion with Bogu Kailai, Wang arranges surveillance and control efforts targeted at Neil Heywood under the pretext that Heywood may have committed drug-related crimes.

November 14: Bogu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun, then an employee of the general office of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China and a family assistant for Bogu Kailai, poison Heywood at the Lucky Holiday Hotel in Chongqing.

November 15: After talking on the phone with Bogu Kailai, Wang is informed that she had met Heywood in the hotel and had a drink with him. Wang instructs Guo Weiguo, then deputy chief of the Chongqing's Public Security Bureau and a close friend of Bogu Kailai, to handle the case, but does not tell Guo or other policemen that he possesses clues and recorded evidence of Bogu Kailai's involvement.


January 28: Wang reports to Bo Xilai that Bogu Kailai was highly suspected in the murder of Neil Heywood.

January 29: Bo Xilai rebukes Wang and slaps him in the face. Wang subsequently asks Wang Zhi (王智), Wang Pengfei (王鹏飞), and Li Yang (李阳) to go to his office and rearrange the November 15, 2011 case file.

February 2: Wang Lijun's is removed from his position as chief of Chongqing's Public Security Bureau.

Around this time, three staff members working closely with Wang are put under illegal investigation.

February 6: Under the pretext of discussing business, Wang cancels his original work arrangements and enters the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu at 2:31 p.m.

February 7: Wang leaves the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu of his own volition at 11:35 p.m.

February 8: At 11:30 am, Xinhua publishes a report stating:
At 10:54 on the morning on the 8th, the Chongqing city government's press office used Xinhua's official Weibo to publish information saying "Based on information, Deputy Mayor Wang Lijun is, pursuant to agreement, currently undergoing convalescent therapy for long-term work overload, high levels of mental stress, and severe physical indisposition. 
These screenshots show that Sina Weibo was not censoring searches for Wang Lijun at 9:30 am on the morning of February 8, then an hour later it began censoring, then it stopped censoring again after the Xinhua announcement.

Below, the left-hand screenshot shows that at around 3 pm a search on Baidu for "Wang Lijun" was returning apparently uncensored results. The right-hand screenshot shows that, about an hour later, the same search on Baidu returned a notice saying "In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, some search results have not been displayed." (根据相关法律法规和政策,部分搜索结果未予显示。) Search results were restricted to about dozen websites operated by the central government and the Communist Party.

These screenshots, also taken on February 8, show that whereas a search in the morning for "Wang Lijun defects to American Consulate" (王立军叛逃美领馆) returned hundreds of results, the same search that evening returned no results, just 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。).

February 10: Li Yinhe (李银河) posts what she claims to be an "Open Letter From Wang Lijun" dated February 3, 2012, on her Caijing Magazine blog. The letter begins:
By the time everyone reads this letter, I'll probably either be dead or detained. I want to take a moment to explain to the world why I did all of this. There is one basic explanation: I do not wish to see Bo Xilai, the greatest hypocrite in the Communist Party, be able to continue his act. If evil politicians like him rule the state, it will be the greatest catastrophe for people of China and the greatest misfortune for China's future. 
当大家看到这封信的时候,我或许已不在人世或许已失去了自由。我想向全世界解释一下我做这一切的原因。归根结底是一条: 我不希望看到党内最大的伪君子薄熙来能再继续表演下去,如果这样的奸臣当道,这将是中国未来最大的不幸和民族的灾难。
These screenshots show Lin Yinhe's blog post as it appeared before and after it was deleted.

Below, the top-left screenshot was taken on February 11, and shows that on that day a search for "Wang Lijun Open Letter" (王立军 公开信) on Sina's Weibo returned over 1,700 results. The bottom left and right-hand screenshots were taken in the morning of February 12, and show that the same search on both Sina and Tencent Weibos is now returning no results, just a notice saying that search results may be illegal and cannot be displayed.

March 19: A document entitled "Report on the Investigation and Assessment of Wang Lijun's Personal Visit to the American Consulate in Chengdu" (王立军私自进入美国驻成都总领馆并滞留事件进行调查评估的通报) begins to circulate on the Internet.

Below, the left-hand screenshot was taken at around 2 pm, March 19, 2012, and shows that a search for "Report on the Investigation and Assessment of Wang Lijun's Personal Visit to the American Consulate in Chengdu" (王立军私自进入美国驻成都总领馆并滞留事件进行调查评估的通报) on Baidu returned over 360,000 results. The right-hand screenshot was taken around 6:30 pm the same day, and shows that Baidu now returns around 30,000 search results (although there are only three pages) and a notice saying "In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, some search results have not been displayed." (根据相关法律法规和政策,部分搜索结果未予显示。)

March 31: The Economy and Nation Weekly publishes an article entitled "Dalian Shide's Missing Officer" (大连实德迷局) stating that on March 15, Xu Ming had been subjected to "controls by relevant government agencies" on suspicion of involvement in a "economic case."

The screenshots above show that on April 4, Sina's and Tencent's weibo microblogging platforms were censoring searches for "Xu Ming" (徐明).

April 10: Bo Xilai is suspended from his Politburo and top Communist Party posts. China announces Gu Kailai is being investigated for Heywood's death.

The screenshots show that a search for "Wang Lijun" (王立军) on Baidu at around 4 pm on April 10, 2012 returned results from foreign websites like Wikipedia and The same search done at 10 pm the same day now includes a notice saying "In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, a portion of search results have not been displayed." (根据相关法律法规和政策,部分搜索结果未予显示。), and the foreign websites are gone.
This screenshot shows that on April 11, Sina Weibo was once again censoring searches for "Wang Lijun."

May 22: The state-sponsored Global Times publishes an article entitled "Hong Kong Media Reports Wang Lijun May be Tried Next Month for Treason, Trial to Take Place in Chengdu" (港媒传王立军或下月被起诉叛国罪 审理在成都进行). These screenshots show that by the following day it had been deleted.

July 22: Wang is formally arrested by the State Security Bureau of Chengdu for defection after the Chengdu Municipal People's Procuratorate approves the arrest.

August 2: After the investigation is completed, the case is handed over to the Chengdu Municipal People's Procuratorate for examination before prosecution.

September 24: The Chengdu Intermediate People's Court finds Wang guilty of bribe-taking (受贿 - 9 years), abuse of power (滥用职权 - two years), defecting  (叛逃 - 2 years), and “bending the law for selfish ends,” (徇私枉法 - 7 years) and sentences him to a term of 15 years imprisonment.

These screenshots show that Tencent Weibo stopped censoring searches for "Wang Lijun" within hours of the court announcing the verdict. Sina Weibo also stopped censoring searches for Wang's name at about the same time as the verdict was announced.

Peng Hong Posts an Image, Gets Two Years RETL for Defamation

On September 9, 2012, the state-sponsored Global Times published an English language article entitled "Forced Labor Forces Rethink." An excerpt:
Peng Hong, from Chongqing, was put into a local camp in October 14, 2009 when his wife was six months pregnant, after he forwarded a picture implicitly showing local officials serving as "umbrellas" for criminal gangs on an Internet forum. 
In an interview with the Global Times, Peng stated that he had copied the picture from other online forums and was not the creator of the picture. However, this excuse was rejected by the police and he was not released until November 2011. Peng said that he is now attempting to sue the local re-education through labor committee.
Peng Hong (彭洪) went into more detail in an interview with the state-sponsored Southern People Weekly (南方人物周刊) in an article entitled "Peng Hong Gets Two Years Re-Education Through Labor for Posting an 'Anti-Mafia' Picture." (彭洪 贴“打黑”图片被劳教两年)
The image's original source was Tianya Chongqing. It was an image attached to a post. I subsequently copied the image onto a post and reposted it in Tianya Chongqing. The title of my post was "What a strange umbrella," and I didn't add any other content. Right after I posted it, a small frame popped up in left-hand corner of my screen, telling me to go to the Public Security Office's Internet Supervision Bureau to explain myself.
I was using my home computer. I was stunned. I certainly didn't dare go, so I didn't go. Afterwards, I just completely forgot about the affair, totally forgot about it. This happened on about September 20. Then around October 11 or 12, police from the Internet Supervision Bureau and the Lijia police station came to my home. They told me to go to  the police station, and asked what my opinion was about this movement, and what clues I could report. At the time I didn't know the truth (how could I) that things would develop as they did. No I see they were leading me on. I just said that society need a clean political environment in order to avoid so-called strange things from happening, like the mafia. At that time things in Chongqing public security really were a mess. 
. . . . 
And then they got back to the point, asking whether I recalled making that post online, and showed it to me. They asked me how do you feel about this umbrella picture. On the Internet they're saying that Wen Qiang on this umbrella looks a bit like Mayor X. I said yeah, people online are suggesting that, that's what they're saying. It was trapping me into a confession. I gave them my fingerprints, signed my name, and at that time I didn't know this was going to be evidence, I simply had no idea at how serious things were going to become. 
On the 14th they arrested me. They confiscated my computer and my cell phone, and only returned them several months later. The Yubei District Jail. I was detained two or three days, then sent to the Renhe Re-education Through Labor Transit Station. I was held there about two days. On October 19 a car took me to the Beibei Xishanping Re-education Through Labor Camp. 
In jail they gave me a copy of the Re-education Through Labor Decision, the reason was defamation. Afterwards during re-education through labor they gave out student cards, and mine said defamation.  
. . . . 
[After I got out] I went online to find a lawyer. I found one, but there was no result. The lawyer took the case, but the court would not accept the case. I first went to the Municipal Public Security Office Re-education Through Labor Committee. Because I did not have a copy of the Re-education Through Labor Decision, I had to go to the Committee to get it, and only then could I go to court to file a complaint. But I couldn't even get in the front door of the Public Security Office. 
They said you need to find the initiating work unit, and work up one level at a time. After that I went through the Jingkai District Public Security Office. At the time the person who took me into custody was with the Jingkai District Public Security Office, which is now called the Northern New District Public Security Office. When I go to the front door I suddenly realized I had the phone number of the Re-education Through Labor Committee on my cell phone. So I called and said I was at the door of the Office. They said I first had to go to the local jail. 
So I went to the jail. I explained my situation to the police. At the time they said, ah its you! They all felt I'd really been been getting the runaround. They were about to give it to me, when they checked the computer and saw that, the "defamed" was not Wang Lijun, was not Bo Xilai, but was former Mayor XXX. Their attitude immediately changed. They said sorry, we've got to ask instructions from the jail's leaders. So the whole thing came to nothing. They wouldn't give it to me. They made excuses, one minute saying it had been filed away, the next minute saying they couldn't find it, they needed to ask instructions from the branch office . . . . a few days later, my lawyer and I went to the jail together, and they were still passing the buck. The Re-education Through Labor Committee told me to talk to the jail, the jail told me to talk to the Re-education Through Labor Committee. My lawyer tried calling them, but they would not give it.

On September 13, 2012, the Xiaoxiang Morning Post published a report entitled: "Sentenced to Two Years Re-Education Through Labor for an Anti-Mafia 'Umbrella Protection' Image, Chongqing Rescinds Original Re-Education Through Labor Decision, Police Say Its an'Internal Correction'" (因转发打黑“保护伞”图片被劳教两年,重庆撤销原劳教决定,警方称可“内部纠错”). An excerpt:
On the 12th, this reporter contacted Peng Hong, he said that he already received the Re-Education Through Labor Decision Recision from the Chongqing Government's Re-Education Through Labor Committee. The Decision stated: "Following an investigation, the original Re-Education Through Labor Decision was inappropriate, and in accordance with the provisions of Clause 2 of Article 12 of the "Interim Measures on Re-Education Through Labor," it is decided to rescind Peng Hong's original Re-Education Through Labor Decision."

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.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sina Weibo Deletes Post Saying Diaoyu Islands Belong to Japan

At around 6:30 pm on September 16, 2012, a Sina Weibo user posted the following:
The Diaoyu Islands are Japan's, I want to tell all Chinese people, from ancient times the Diaoyu Islands were the sovereign territory of Japan, don't go around biting people like some rabid dog, Sina Weibo can delete my post and close my account, but I'll still keep saying it, the Diaoyu Islands are Japan's and I support Japan. 
Less than 20 minutes later the post was deleted and the user posted the following:
Today I've been in a fight-to-the-death with Sina Weibo, when I'm posting something is it possible that Sina Weibo does not know that Hong Kong has freedom of expression, deleting my posts, I'm telling Sina Weibo that unless you shut down my account I'll continue posting, I'm not afraid of you, If you have the guts come and find me I'm in Hong Kong Tsim Sha Tsui, Chinese people. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

During Anti-Japanese Protests TV Regulator Issues Verbal Order Banning Japanese Programs

On September 18, 2012, the state-sponsored People's Daily reported:
A few days ago Internet users erupted with news that the State Administration of Radio, Film, and Television had issued a notice that television stations must not broadcast any television programs or cartoons  relating to Japan, or any film or television productions involving Japanese actors, and that over ten television shows about opposing Japan including  "Bright Sword," "Brutal Flower," and "Tunnel Warfare" had therefore been banned. Yesterday a knowledgable person said that SARFT had merely verbally notified television stations not to broadcast any Japanese television shows, cartoons, or artistic programs, and had not in fact made any specific demands about shows about opposing Japan. 

What Protesters Could and Could Not Say During Demonstrations In Front of Japanese Embassy

On September 17, 2012, the state-sponsored Caixin Magazine published a report entitled "Closer Look: How a Protest in Beijing Stuck to the Script." An excerpt:
A nearby street was filled with police, most of them relaxed. When I photographed the protest, he smiled and said: "You can join the protest."
"Can I? Won't I be pulled out?" I asked.
"Since it is me who let you in, who dares pull you out!" he said.
"But I haven't applied for permission," I said.
"It is OK. The organizer has applied," he said.
A middle-aged policeman also encouraged me to join the parade.
"Can I shout 'Punish corruptions'?" I inquired.
"No, you can't!" the middle-aged officer said, suddenly seriously.
"Only slogans concerned with Diaoyu Islands are allowed," a young policeman chimed in. 
The following photos were taken at the protests, and show what kind of slogans the police presumably deemed to be permissible.

"China is of one heart, bathe Tokyo in blood."

Protesters burn a Japanese flag while others hold poster saying: "Fuck You."

"Our hatred is irreconcilable / We beg the government to launch a war."

"Boycotting Japanese good begins with me.
Anger without action is meaningless.
There is no negotiating issues of sovereign territory, there is only war."

"Declare war on Japan."

"China is unanimous, Destroy little Japan."

The red banner reads: "Cut off the heads of the Japanese devils with six cuts."

"Declare war on Japan, Blood debts paid must be paid in blood."

The sign on the left reads: "Japanese assholes, get the fuck out of China."

The sign on the right reads: "Declare war on Japan / I will donate 10k."

The Mao t-shirt reads: "Start a war."

"Bring down Japan even if it means the country's land is rendered barren."

The sign under the pinwheel reads "Little Japanese / Go die!"

The t-shirt says: "Blow up Japan / I can stop watching AV."
("AV" is a reference to Japanese adult films.)

"Flatten your Tokyo"

"Flatten Tokyo / Return my Diaoyu Islands"

"Take back the Diaoyu Islands, even if it means killing everyone in Japan."

"Slaughter all little Japanese, return my Diaoyu Islands."

"China should take action and kill the Japanese dogs."

"Chairman Mao come back soon
Little Japanese are invading us again."

"Defend the Diaoyu Islands / Don't bother with negotiating / Resolve this with armed force."

"The Diaoyu Islands Belong to China
Sola Aoi Belongs to the World"
(Sola Aoi is a Japanese adult film star)

The man behind the boy is holding a sign saying:
"Japanese devils / Get the hell out of the Diaoyu Islands, otherwise I will
let my son piss on you."

The white banner reads: "Flatten Tokyo."

Thursday, September 20, 2012

On Anniversary of Japanese Invasion, Baidu, Jike, and Youdao Promote China's Claims on the Diaoyu Islands

The following screenshots were taken on September 18, 2012.

Baidu's home page doodle shows an island with a PRC flag on it.
Clicking on the doodle leads to a page entitled "Diaoyu Islands, China's!

Baidu's Japan and Taiwan home pages did not have any doodles.

On September 20, Kaiser Kuo, Baidu’s director of international communications, offered this explanation:
The overwhelming majority of Baidu’s employees and users clearly feel very strongly on this topic, but our purpose was to encourage people to be rational in their expressions of patriotism, to renounce violence and other forms of extremism. Planting a digital flag to express your feelings on the matter of the Diaoyu Islands is a much better alternative to throwing rocks or smashing cars.

Jike's home page has a text link saying:
"Safeguard the Diaoyu Islands, Take Action Now!"
Clicking on the link leads to a page with the same title.
Jike is operated by the People's Daily
Youdao's home page doodle shows a mountain with a the PRC symbol.
Beneath is written "Never Forget the National Shame of 9.18, Safeguard the Territory."
Clicking on the doodle leads to a search result page for "9.18 Incident" (九一八事件)
Youdao is operated by Netease.

Sogou, Soso, and did not commemorate the anniversary.