Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Jinan Police: "Not Convenient" to Disclose Whether Facebook is Banned


On November 22, 2012, the state-sponsored Global Times published an article entitled "Jinan Police Deny Issuing Warning: Logging On to Facebook Will Lead To Internet Being Cut Off" (济南警方否认发警告:登录facebook将断网). An excerpt:
The Alleged Notice
Yesterday at 6:00 pm, an Internet user named "Keso" posted an image on his Tencent Weibo account. The image content was a "Police Warning" with the seal of the "Jinan Internet Inspection Brigade" stating: "We have recently noticed that some evening employees have been logging onto illegal websites (facebook, twitter, myspace, etc) and noticed they are losing Internet access and calling the police. In order to cooperate with the police's real name registration system, we have decided that from today onward we will start to implement PPPOE real name registration accounts to go online." Last night the Jinan Public Security Internet Police Detatchment refuted this rumor to a Southern Metropolitan Daily reporter, saying that the "warning" was not issued by the police.
. . . .
As to whether the police have determined that facebook and other websites are banned websites, the Jinan Public Security Internet Police Detatchment said it was not convenient to reveal such information.
昨日18时,一位名叫“Keso”的网友在腾讯微博发布图文微博。图片内容是一份“警告”,落款为“济南市网络监察大队”,称“近期发现有部分夜间人员私自登陆违禁网站(facebook,twitter,myspace等)一经发现直接断网,并报警。为了配合公安实名制,决定从今天起开始实行PPPoE实名登记拨号上网”。昨晚,济南市公安局网络警察支队向南方都市报记者辟谣称,上述“警告”并非警方所发。
. . . .
而对于facebook等网站是否为警方设定的违禁网站,济南市公安局网络警察支队工作人员称不便透露。

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sina Weibo Fact Checking In Action - Murders and Disappearances

Ju Che's Post
 On November 22, 2012, Sina Weibo user "Ju Che" (巨扯) posted the following:
Li Xiang, the reporter who broke the gutter oil story, was killed. Now Jiang Weisuo, the man who took on the milk industry to expose melamine, is murdered. Immediately following that are reports that Li Yuanlong, the reporter of the five homeless kids who froze to death, has now been secretly  detained. The public servants of this dynasty are not taking care of the issues raised by the people, but instead are taking care of the people who raise the issues.
曾曝光地沟油的记者李翔被杀了, 曾曝光三聚氰胺的乳业打假人士蒋卫锁如今遇害了,当下报道毕节五名流浪儿童被冻死的记者李元龙如今被秘密逮捕了——我朝公仆们不是解决人民提出的问题,而是先解决提出问题的人民。
Sina administrators placed the following notice at the top the post: "This content is not factual information, and has already been handled. Details >>" (此内容为不实消息,已处理。 详情>>).

That notice included a link labeled "Details" which pointed to a page showing the Sina Weibo user "Quanzhou Sui Sui Nian" (泉州碎碎念) had made a complaint against "Ju Che" and posted the following:
Quanzhou's Report on Ju Che
The "Reporter Li Xiang Case" was already broken in September 2011, and police determined that the case had nothing to do with gutter oil, see this detailed information: http://t.cn/zWhiM11. The reported person's words and deeds constitute the "publication of false information."
“记者李翔案”已于2011年9月告破,警方认定案件与地沟油无关,查看详情:http://t.cn/zWhiM11。被举报人言行构成“发布不实信息”。
The "http://t.cn/zWhiM11" link pointed to a Sina Weibo post from December 2011 which read:
Yesterday users published Weibos saying "Luoyang TV reporter Li Xiang who investigated gutter oil stabbed 10 times." Following an investigation, this case was already broken back in September, with the police investigation determining that the case had nothing to do with reporting on gutter oil, and that it was a case of robbery-murder. Li Xiang's father also said that his son had never reported on the topic of gutter oil. Related report: http://t.cn/aeC0Yf
昨日有用户发微博,称“调查地沟油的洛阳电视台记者李翔身中10余刀惨死”。经查,此案已经于9月份告破,警方调查认定案件和报道地沟油无关,案件性质系抢劫杀人;李翔父亲也称儿子生前未报道过地沟油话题。相关新闻:http://t.cn/aeC0Yf
The "http://t.cn/aeC0Yf" link pointed to a story on the state-sponsored Chinanews.com website entitled: "The Case of the Murdered Luoyang Journalist: Family Confirm It had Nothing to Do With Gutter Oil Reporting." (洛阳记者被害案:家属证实与地沟油报道无关)

Sina Weibo administrators put a red seal on Quanzhou Sui Sui Nian's post labeling it "The Winner." (胜诉)

Putting aside for the moment the question of whether or not Ju Che's post actually claimed Li Xiang's murder had anything to do with gutter oil, Ju Che may have been relying on a September 20, 2011 report from the Communist Party-sponsored People's Daily entitled "'Gutter Oil' Reporter Killed." That report stated:

Police are refusing to rule out the possibility that a journalist stabbed to death on Monday was murdered, possibly due to a recent "gutter oil" scandal.
. . . .
Li's laptop was missing and police say early investigations suggest it was a robbery homicide. However, as he was stabbed so many times, detectives are keeping an open mind to other motives. A reward of 20,000 yuan ($3,000) is being offered for information about the incident.  
Media across Henan province, as well as many netizens, have speculated that Li was killed after posting a micro blog on Sept 15 about a suspected underground factory producing illegally recycled kitchen oil, commonly referred to as gutter oil. 
One is also left to wonder whether, given the absence of any indication from Sina's administrators to the contrary, the rest of Ju Che's post should be assumed to be "factual information."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Websites Delete Xinhua Report About Tibetan Self-Immolation in Xunhua, Qinghai

On November 20, 2012, most of China's large state-sponsored media outlets published a Xinhua article entitled "25 Year-Old Tibetan Man Injured in Self-Immolation in Xunhua, Qinghai" (青海省循化县25岁藏族男子自焚身亡). As these screenshots show, the report was deleted within hours.

Screenshot showing the article before and after Sina deleted it.

The People's Daily posted the article in at least three places:
http://legal.people.com.cn/n/2012/1120/c188502-19638385.html
http://sn.people.com.cn/n/2012/1120/c190215-17745383.html
http://politics.people.com.cn/n/2012/1120/c70731-19637762.html
These screenshots were taken on November 20, and show Google Preview 
displaying a People's Daily error message for those pages. 
Rather than delete the article, the Guangming Daily replaced it with a
completely unrelated article.
As of the time of this posting, the story can still be found on the websites of the Global Times and Caixin:


These screenshots show that Sina Weibo deleted all posts about the incident when users searched for "Xunhua County."


These screenshots show that both Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo began censoring searches for "Self-Immolate" in 2012.


These screenshots were taken on November 21, 2012, and show that Baidu has banned users from establishing Tieba forums on "Tibetans," "Monks," and "Self-Immolation."


These screenshots were taken on November 21, 2012, and show that Baidu is censoring search results for "Tibetans Protest" and "Monks Self-Immolate."


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Websites Delete Story, Ban Forums, and Censor Searches Relating to Baidu Founder's Private Life


On November 19, 2012, state-sponsored Caijing Magazine published an article on its English language website entitled "Will Baidu Have a New Decision Maker?" at this URL: http://english.caijing.com.cn/2012-11-19/112293169.html

This screenshot shows that by November 21 anyone attempting to access the article at that URL was being redirected to Caijing's home page.

This screenshot, taken on November 19, shows that Baidu's Tieba would not allow users to establish a forum with the name "Ma Dongmin" (马东敏 - the name of Baidu founder Robin Li's wife), telling users "Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, this bar cannot be opened" (抱歉,根据相关法律法规和政策,本吧暂不开放。)

This screenshot, taken on November 19, shows that a search on Sina Weibo for "Robin Li Divorce" (李彦宏 离婚) returns no results, just a notice saying "In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, search results for 'Li Yanhong Divorce' have not been displayed" (根据相关法律法规和政策,“李彦宏 离婚”搜索结果未予显示。)

Finally, these screenshots show that, at some time between November 19 and 20, Sina Weibo began censoring searches for "Ma Dongmin Divorce" (马东敏 离婚).



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Baidu, Sina and Others Join Government Pilot Project to Control Online Publishing

On November 5, 2012, the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) published an article entitled  "Pilot Project Launched for Large-Scale Publishing Website Self-Control Mechanism" (大型出版网站自我约束机制试点工作启动).

According to the article, the GAPP's Technology and Digital Publishing Office "selected ten websites that were representative in terms of scale, operations, and social influence" including Sina, Netease, Sohu, Tencent, and Baidu, to participate in a pilot project to:
establish a nation-wide Internet publishing content editing process with relevant administrative agencies to strengthen analysis and decisionmaking regarding publishing hazards, earnestly carry out editorial responsibilities with respect to pre-publication screening, and achieve classification-based management of the content of publications.
建立健全网站出版内容编发流程和相应管理部门,加强传播风险研判,认真落实编辑责任制先审后发,实现对出版内容的分类分级管理。
The article went on to say:
the pilot websites will carry out self-examination of the operational status of their self-control mechanisms, and will make monthly evaluation reports regarding the overall number of Internet publications and quantity of information that they have transmitted, as well as the quantity of illegal and banned Internet publications that they have blocked.
试点单位通过对自我约束机制运行情况进行自查,针对传播网络出版物总数及信息总量、自查封堵违禁网络出版物数量等指标按月做出评估报告,定期向科技与数字出版司报送。

Monday, November 19, 2012

New Politburo Standing Committee Announced, Sina Weibo Relaxes Censorship of "Politburo"


At around noon on November 15, 2012, Xinhua announced the "List of members of Standing Committee of Political Bureau of 18th CPC Central Committee": Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, Zhang Dejiang, Yu Zhengsheng, Liu Yunshan, Wang Qishan and Zhang Gaoli.

These screenshots show that, at 11:00 am that morning searches for "Politburo Standing Committee" (中央政治局常委) on Sina Weibo returned no results, just a censorship notice. At about the same time Xinhua published its announcement, however, Sina Weibo began returning results for that phrase.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

As Politburo Standing Committee Announcement Nears, Baidu Relaxes Censorship of Some Current and Potential Members' Names

As noted previously, during the first week of November, Baidu began censoring the names of most of the men widely speculated to join the Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee, including Zhang Dejiang (张德江), Li Yuanchao (李源潮), Yu Zhengsheng (俞正声), Liu Yunshan (刘云山), Zhang Gaoli (张高丽), and Wang Qishan (王岐山) during the 18th Party Congress that began on November 8, 2012. At that time Baidu restricted search results for their names to a white list comprising its own Baike and about a dozen websites under the direct control of the central government and the Communist Party.

Now Baidu has tweaked its censorship once again. As these screenshots of a searches for "Li Yuanchao" and "Zhang Gaoli" show, at some point in the second week of November, Baidu relaxed its censorship of these names, and is now returning search results from its broad white list, which includes large China-based news and portal websites such as Sina.

"Li Yuanchao"
"Zhang Gaoli"
In the last week Baidu also relaxed its censorship of the names of some current members of the Politburo Standing Committee. These screenshots show that Baidu is now returning results for searches for "Xi Jinping" (习近平) restricted to sina.com.cn.

Baidu continues to censor search results for current and potential PBSC members, however, and this screenshot shows that a search for "Xi Jinping" restricted to the Hudong website (a wikipedia clone similar to Baidu's Baike) returns a notice saying "Search results may not comply with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, and have not been displayed. We suggest you try other related terms." (搜索结果可能不符合相关法律法规和政策,未予显示。建议尝试其他相关词。)


Furthermore, this relaxation appears to only apply to Chinese language searches. Users get the same censorship notice when searching for "Xi Jinping" in English restricted to sina.com.cn.

Finally, the relaxation does not apply to all senior leadership figures: searches for "Hu Jintao" (胡锦涛) continue to be restricted to the strict white list. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Blast From the Past: Censorship of Responses to Wen Jiabao's 2010 Call for Political Reforms

On August 20 and 21, 2010, Wen Jiabao conducted an "inspection trip" to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone. On August 20, Wen made what the state run press called an "important speech" at a meeting to  review work reports from Guangdong and Shenzhen. An excerpt:
It is not only necessary to promote economic reform, but also to promote political reform. Without  the guarantee of political reform, the achievements of economic reform will be lost, and the goal  of modernization cannot be achieved. We must  protect the people's democratic rights and legitimate  interests and extensively mobilize and organize the people to manage state, social, and cultural  affairs in accordance with law. At a system level we must solve the problems of over-centralized  and unrestrained power, and create the conditions for the people to criticize and oversee the  government, and resolutely punish corruption. We must build a fair and just society, and in  particular guarantee justice, and emphasize protection and assistance to vulnerable groups, so that  people may live with a sense of security, and have confidence in the development of the nation. 
With the trend of economic globalization, we must better co-ordinate domestic and international  affairs, and this requires us to unswervingly push forward reform and opening up. Thousands of  years of history tells us: only an open and inclusive country can become prosperous and strong, and  a nation that is closed will fall behind and be beaten. We must unswervingly implement the basic  national policy of opening up,  better use of domestic and foreign markets and resources, and  boldly learn from all human societies and civilizations, to promote the further opening up China's  economic and social reform and development.
不仅要推进经济体制改革,还要推进政治体制改革。没有政治体制改革的保障,经济体制改革的成果就会得而复失,现代化建设的目标就不可能实现。要保障人民的民主权利和合法权益;要最广泛地动员和组织人民依法管理国家事务和经济、社会、文化事务;要从制度上解决权力过分集中又得不到制约的问题,创造条件让人民批评和监督政府,坚决惩治贪污腐败;要建设一个公平正义的社会,特别是要保障司法公正,重视保护和帮助弱势群体,使人们在生活中有安全感,对国家的发展有信心。 
顺应经济全球化趋势、更好地统筹国内国际两个大局,要求我们坚定不移地推进改革开放。中国几千年的发展历史告诉我们:只有开放兼容,国家才能富强,闭关锁国必然落后和挨打。必须坚定不移地实行对外开放的基本国策,更好地利用国内国外两个市场、两种资源,大胆学习借鉴人类社会一切文明成果,在扩大开放中推动我国经济社会改革和发展。 
Two days later, the front page of the People's Daily carried the headline "Only By Persisting in Reform and Opening  Up Can The Nation Have a Bright Future" (只有坚持改革开放国家才有光明前途), and the Beijing Times headline read "We Must Push for Economic Reform, We Must Push for Political Reform" (要推进经济体制改革要推进政治体制改革).

China's English language press published headlines proclaiming "Shenzhen - After Money Comes Politics" (Global Times), "Chinese Premier Calls for Further Reform, Ideological Emancipation" (People's Daily) and "Wait's Over for Political Reform in China." (Caixin)

Wen's statements were seen as having added symbolic weight because when China’s then-leader Deng  Xiaoping wanted to restart economic reform in 1992, he conducted a similar "southern tour," and proclaimed that the Special Economic Zones were the fire of China’s future, and he singled out Shenzhen in particular.

On October 3, 2010, China's Premier Wen Jiabao gave an interview to CNN's Fareed Zakaria. Wen had not given an interview to the Western media since his 2008 interview with Zakaria. The interview included the following exchange on freedom of expression:
ZAKARIA:  You - you speak,  in your speeches, about how China is not yet a strong and creative nation in terms of its economy. Can you be a strong and creative nation with so many restrictions on freedom of expression, with the Internet being censored?  Don't you need to open all that up if you want true creativity?
WEN:  I believe freedom of speech is indispensable for any country,  a country in the course of development and a country that has become strong.  Freedom of speech has been incorporated into the Chinese constitution. I don't think you know all about China on this point.  In China, there are about 400 million Internet users and 800 million mobile phone subscribers. They can access the Internet to express their views, including critical views.  I often log onto the Internet and I have read sharp critical comments on the work of the government, on the Internet and also there are commendable words about the work of the government. I often say that we should not only let people have the freedom of speech.  We,  more importantly,  must create conditions to let them criticize the work of the government.  And it is only when there is the supervision and critical oversight from the people that the government will be in a position to do an even better job and employees of government departments will be the true public servants of the people. All these must be conducted within the range allowed by the constitution and the laws. So that the country will have a normal order.  And that is all the more necessary for such a large country as China, with 1.3 billion people.  
ZAKARIA:  Premier Wen  -- since we are being honest, when I come to China and I try to use the Internet, there are many sites that are blocked.  It is difficult to get information.  Any opinion that seems to challenge the political primacy of the,  of the party is not allowed.  Hu Yaobang, for example, was not somebody who could be mentioned in the - in "The China Daily" until your own article appeared.  It just feels to me like all these restrictions -- this -- the vast apparatus that monitors the Internet are -- are going to make it difficult for your people to truly be creative and to truly do what it seems you wish them to do.
WEN:  I believe I and all the Chinese people have such a conviction that China will make continuous progress and the people's wishes for and needs for democracy and freedom are irresistible.  I hope that you will be able to gradually see the continuous progress of China.
China's state run media did not report the interview until October 6. At that time a report (attributed to Shanghai's Liberation Daily (解放日报)) was carried on Xinhua and CCTV entitled: "Wen Jiabao Gives CNN an Exclusive Interview, Discusses Political Reform and Other Sensitive Issues" (温家宝接受CNN专访谈及政治改革等敏感问题).

These screenshots show that on October 6 a search on Baidu for that title was returning only a censorship notice, but by October 7 it was returning results from the whitelist of government controlled websites.

On October 11, 2010, 23 Chinese Communist Party elders submitted an open letter to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress calling for an end to restrictions on expression in China. The signatories included Li Pu (李普) former deputy director of Xinhua News Agency (he passed away the next month at the age of 92), Jiang Ping (江平) former President of China University of Political Science and Law, and member of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and Li Rui (李锐) Mao Zedong’s former secretary.

The letter began by noting that on October 3, China's Premier Wen Jiabao told CNN in an interview: "Freedom of speech is indispensable for any nation; China’s Constitution endows the people with freedom of speech; The demands of the people for democracy cannot be resisted." It went on to say:
61 years after the founding of our nation, after 30 years of opening and reform, we have not yet attained freedom of speech and freedom of the press to the degree enjoyed by the people of Hong Kong under colonial rule. Even now, many books discussing political and current affairs must be published in Hong Kong. This is not something that dates from the [territory's] return, but is merely an old tactic familiar under colonial rule. The “master” status of the people of China’s mainland is so inferior. For our nation to advertise itself as having “socialist democracy” with Chinese characteristics is such an embarrassment.
建国61年,搞了30年改革开放,我们还没有得到香港人殖民地时代就有的言论出版自由。现在有些参政议政的书籍,要拿到香港出版,这不是回归祖国的福荫,是沿袭殖民时代的旧法。大陆人民的“当家作主”地位实在太窝囊。国家宣称的有中国特色的“社会主义民主”实在太尴尬。 
The letter concluded with a list of eight specific demands:
  • Abolish the requirement that media outlets must have government sponsors.
  • Respect journalists and make them strong.
  • Abolish restrictions on investigative journalism and ensure that journalists can report freely throughout the country.
  • Abolish the “Fifty-cent Party” and remove restrictions on anti-censorship technologies.
  • Eliminate the taboos concerning the history of the Communist Party’s history. 
  • Privatize Southern Weekly and Yanhuang Chunqiu.
  • Permit the free circulation within the mainland of books and periodicals from the already returned territories of Hong Kong and Macao. 
  • Transform the functions of various propaganda agencies from ones that assist corrupt officials in suppressing and controlling stories that reveal the truth to ones that support the media in monitoring Party and government organs.
The screenshots below were taken in October 2010, and show that Baidu censored search results for queries that included the names of some signatories plus "open letter."



Friday, November 9, 2012

As 18th Party Congress Convenes, Baidu Censors Names Of Politburo Committee Candidates, Zhidao, and Tieba

The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was convened on November 8, 2012. This screenshot shows that Baidu stopped censoring searches for relevant terms such as "18 Big" (十八大) some time between July and September 2012.

The change in censorship may have been timed to coincide with the September 28 announcement by  China's official news agency Xinhua that "The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is proposed to convene on Nov. 8 in Beijing."

These screenshots show that, while Baidu continued to provide seemingly uncensored search results for "18 Big" on November 8, it had banned Tieba forums with that term, and returned no search results for that term on its user-generated question & answer product, Zhidao.

Baidu apologizes that it is illegal to open Tieba forums for "18 Big"

Baidu says it can find no questions or answers containing the phrase "18 Big."
In addition, these screenshots show that, at some point in the first week of November, Baidu began censoring "Zhang Dejiang" (张德江), one of the men widely speculated to become a member of the Party's Politburo Standing Committee.
Baidu began restricting web searches for "Zhang Dejiang" to a strict whitelist
of about a dozen websites operated by the government and the Party.

As a result, searches for websites that were not on the white list
(in this case, Hudong) began returning no results, just a censorship notice.

Baidu went from finding thousands of results for "Zhang Dejiang" on its
Wenku document sharing product to saying it could find no results.

Baidu went from finding thousands of results for "Zhang Dejiang" on its
Zhidao Q&A product to saying it could find no results.
Baidu imposed similar censorship at the same time for Li Yuanchao (李源潮), Yu Zhengsheng (俞正声), Liu Yunshan (刘云山), Zhang Gaoli (张高丽), and Wang Qishan (王岐山).

It did not impose this censorship for Wang Yang (汪洋).

Thursday, November 8, 2012

As 18th Party Congress Convenes, Sina Weibo Removes Censorship Notice, Steers Users to Official Content, Obscures User Posts

Update November 9, 2012 - It appears that Sina Weibo has started displaying its censorship notice again - see below.

On November 7, 2012, China's official news service Xinhua announced that the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is scheduled to open on November 8.

These screenshots show that in the days preceding the opening of the 18th Party Congress Sina Weibo stopped censoring phrases like "18th Big Meeting" (十八大) and the names of current members Politburo Standing Committee like "Xi Jinping" (习近平).




Sina continued, however, to censor names of family members. These screenshots show that, not only is Sina censoring searches for the name of Xi's daughter, Xi Mingze (习明泽), it has also stopped providing a censorship notice, and is instead saying it is unable to locate any results.


At the same time, Sina also began censoring terms that sound similar to "18th Big Meeting" but that would be likely to point to unofficial posts, such as "18大," "撕八大," and "斯巴达."




These screenshots show that Sina was in fact continuing to censor terms such as "18 Big" (十八大).  The first page only shows posts from official sources such as Xinhua and the People's Daily.
 By page three, there is only one result (from Sina's official account), and censorship notice has now appeared.
 By page five, Sina says it can no longer find any results.

Update - These screenshots show that by November 9 Sina Weibo was once again displaying a censorship notice for searches such as "Xi Mingze" and "斯巴达."


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Reports About "Watch Official" Li Dejin's Censorship Get Censored

For years Chinese Internet users have gone online to point out government officials that seem to be living beyond their means. China's state-sponsored media typically then tries to follow-up with their own reports. Sometimes they get censored, sometimes not.

Railways Official Sheng Guangzu

For example, back in September 2011, a Weibo user using the pseudonym "Blossom Mountain General Secretary" (花果山总书记), posted that he had noticed that in a report on the Wenzhou high speed train crash the railways minister, Sheng Guangzu (盛光祖) was wearing a 70,000 yuan Rolex and one of his deputies, Lu Dongfu (陆东福), was wearing a 50,000 yuan model. He launched a survey of "Connoisseurs of Luxury Watches" (鉴表达人) on Weibo.

These screenshots taken in September 2011 show that, while searches for "Lu Dongfu" returned thousands of results, searches for "Blossom Mountain General Secretary" and "Sheng Guangzu" did not return any results, just a censorship notice.

These screenshots show that on September 15, 2011, the state-sponsored Southern Weekend published an article entitled "Leaders, What Watch Are You Wearing Today?" (领导,今天你戴什么表?") at html://www.infzm.com/content/63136, and that it deleted the article some time between September 18 and September 22.

Shaanxi Official Yang Dacai

Similarly, in September 2012, Yang Dacai (杨达才) was removed from his post as head of the Shaanxi Administration of Work Safety after multiple photos of him were posted on the Internet showing him wearing at least 11 luxury watches on different occasions.

Sina Weibo did not censor searches for Yang's name. But after what the state-sponsored Global Times said was "a torrent of rebukes after postings on Sina Weibo suggested Li [Jinzhu - vice governor of Shaanxi] defended Yang during an address to the Standing Committee of the Shaanxi Provincial Committee of the CPC," Sina Weibo began censoring searches for "watch brother" (表哥), "watch uncle" (表叔), and "Li Jinzhu" (李金柱).

In addition, when users searched for "Yang Dacai Li Jinzhu" (杨达才 李金柱) on Baidu, Sogou, Yahoo.cn, and Youdao, they got no results, only a censorship notice.

For more on the Yang Dacai affair, see http://blog.feichangdao.com/2012/10/shaanxi-official-yang-dacai-dismissed.html

Fujian Official Li Dejin

At around 8 am on October 9, Zhou Zhichen (周智琛), editor-in-chief of the Yunnan-based City Times (云南都市时报) posted this on his Sina Weibo:
As a journalist who got started in Fujian, I have never felt so angry and humiliated. I so detest and despise those criminals whose reach has no bounds, that even as I was too depressed to weep and wail over those 100,000 newspapers, I comforted myself, only the survivors can become the builders. But I believe even more that that time machine wearing a whip soaked in the Godfather's breath and time machine covered in crazy bling is just the beginning of the dark side begging to become the target of retribution, I firmly believe this.
作为一个出身福建的媒体人,从未感到如此的愤怒和耻辱。我憎恨和鄙视那不远千里的黑手,当我看着那数十万份报纸沉郁不去的血泪,我安慰自己,只有幸存者,才能成为建设者,但我更加相信,那条沾满干爹气息的皮鞭和那部带着疯狂零件的时间机,只是黑暗者招受报应的开始,我坚信。
At around 2 pm on October 9 Wang Keqin (王克勤), assistant editor in chief with the Economic Observer newspaper (经济观察报) posted this on his Sina Weibo:
[Fujian "Watch Uncle Director" Dares to Cross Provincial Borders to Destroy Tens of Thousands of Papers] Li Dejin, head of the Fujian Transportation Office, wears a diamond-inlayed Rado watch worth 50,000 yuan on his wrist and a Hermes leather belt worth 15,000 yuan around his waist. The original version of page A30 of today's Yunnan City Times was going to present "Here Comes Fujian's 'Watch Uncle Director'." Tens of thousands of newspapers were already printed, and in the deep of the night they were simultaneously subjected to cross-provincial destruction and unbridled censorship. In the past this guy had been targeted for attacks by Internet users because of the "Quanzhou Port" affair.
【福建“表叔厅长”居然跨省毁报几十万份】福建交通厅厅长李德金手戴五万雷达镶钻手表,腰夸15000爱马仕腰带。原本今日云南@都市时报 A30版,要推出《福建“表叔厅长”来了》。几十万份报纸已经印刷,凌晨却被跨省销毁,同时开始疯狂删帖。之前,此人更因“泉州港”事件引发网友群起讨伐。
At 9 pm on October 9, Zhou posted this on his Sina Weibo:
There are truths that cannot be spoken, but falsehoods absolutely will not be spoken. Thanks everyone for their concern.
可以有不说的真话,但绝不说假话。谢谢大家的关心。
On October 9, the People's Daily published a story entitled  "Rumor Spreads on Internet That Yunnan City Times' 'Fujian Watch Uncle Director' Article Censored By Someone From Another Province, Reporters Attempts to Confirm Fruitless" (网传云南都市时报“福建表叔厅长”稿件被跨省撤稿 记者求证未果). The article mentioned both Zhou's and Wang's Weibo posts.

Both Wang's Weibo post (originally available here - http://weibo.com/1700757973/yFDdZ7sio)and the People's Daily article (originally available here - http://society.people.com.cn/n/2012/1009/c1008-19208872.html and here -
http://ah.people.com.cn/n/2012/1010/c227130-17562043.html) were subsequently deleted.
Wang Keqin's post before it was deleted.
The People's Daily article was reposted and deleted from other news portals, including:
Google preview shows the People's Daily article has been deleted.
At just after midnight on October 10, Hu Xijin (胡锡进), editor of the state-sponsored Global Times, published this on his Sina Weibo:
Regarding the Internet rumors about the Yunnan City Times being "subjected to cross-border censorship and forced to reprint: because a report on Fujian's "watch uncle" transportation director, on Wednesday the Global Times published an editorial: the media has a bottom line when it comes to being respected, and even if a certain report might go astray and have mistakes, this bottom line should not be crossed. In addition, while editor Zhou Zhichen is publicly objecting but simultaneously speaking in veiled references, local official should immediately respond to the people's questions, and at the very least should say something.
就网传云南都市时报因报道福建“表叔”交通厅长遭“垮省撤稿重印”一事,环球时报星期三发评论:媒体有它们应当受到尊重的底线,即使它们的某一篇报道出了格,犯了错,这条底线也不应被踩踏。此外在周智琛社长公开抗议但又说话隐晦的情况下,当地官方应及时回应公众的疑问,至少要吭吭声。
Later in the day on October 10, the Global Times published four articles about the incident, two in English, and two in Chinese:
An excerpt from "Attempt to Bully Media Backfires Again":
Newspapers can be asked to delete articles, but there should be sufficient grounds to do so. The authorities also have to reach a consensus with that newspaper. 
Also, officials should respond to public doubts in a timely manner.  A wall of silence will only lead to more suspicion.  
Chinese media outlets are constantly frustrated by interference from special interest groups, sometimes even powerful individuals.
. . .
The easy decision to cancel an issue of a newspaper shows how media outlets are disrespected by people who hold power.  
They underestimate the consequences of decisions like this. 
This is no longer a time when information can be blocked or erased. Those who attempt to do so will only find themselves in more trouble. 
Within hours, the Global Times deleted both of the Chinese language articles. [Update - December 2012:  At some time after this post was published the Global Times restored these articles.]
Global Times articles before they were deleted.
The English language articles are still available.

On October 17, the People's Daily reported that on October 15 Li Dejin was touring various construction sites, telling those involved that they must "grasp quality, grasp safety, and grasp progress to welcome the victorious opening of the 18th Party Congress with outstanding accomplishments." (“抓质量、抓安全、抓进度”,以优异的成绩迎接党的十八大胜利召开。)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Searches About Protests In Luzhou, Yinggehai, and Zhenhai Censored by China's Weibos


Luzhou

On October 18, 2012, China's official news agency Xinhua published a report entitled "Calm Restored After Driver's Death Triggers Incident." An excerpt:
Calm has been restored in a city in southwest China's Sichuan Province after residents attacked police cars over the death of a truck driver, a local official said on Thursday.
No casualties occurred when police dealt with the incident, Zhang Wenjun, an official of the Luzhou city government, said at a news briefing.
. . . .
Doctors, who attended the scene, failed to save Gan's life. As a result,some people attacked police cars at the site. Five police cars were set ablaze and two others were burnt completely, said Zhang.
These screenshots show that on October 22, 2012, Sina Weibo was censoring "Luzhou people's anger," (泸州 民愤) and it had stopped censoring it by October 28.

Yinggehai

These screenshots were taken on October 25, and show that searches for "Yinggehai" (莺歌海 - in Hainan) on Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo returned no results, just censorship notices.

Zhenhai

On October 29, 2012, the state-sponsored Global Times reported:
Following a massive week-long protest by residents, a controversial petrochemical project in the eastern city of Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, was suspended Sunday [October 28]. The protest only ended yesterday evening after clashes broke out between crowds and police in front of the local government compound.
Plans for a multibillion-yuan expansion of an oil refinery and chemical plant, located in Ningbo's Zhenhai district, were temporarily halted pending further "scientific assessments," Ningbo officials announced yesterday evening, vowing that that no "paraxylene (PX) project would be allowed in this city."
These screenshots show that, at some time on October 28, Sina Weibo began censoring searches for "Zhen Hai" (镇 海 - note the space, Sina Weibo had been censoring "Zhenhai" for several days already) and Liu Qi (刘奇 - the mayor of Ningbo). By November 4 Sina had stopped this censorship.