Monday, January 28, 2013

After Posting Pro-Reform Essay, Sina Weibo Censors "Annals of the Yellow Emperor," Magazine's Website Shut Down

On January 1, 2013, the state-sponsored political journal Yanhuang Chunqiu (炎黄春秋 or "Annals of the Yellow Emperor") published a “New Year's Greeting” entitled “The Constitution is a Consensus for Political Reform" (宪法是政治体制改革的共识). The January edition with the essay was posted on the journal's web site on January 3 here - David Bandurski has posted the full text and an English translation on the China Media Project's web site here - An excerpt:
Political reform is about building a system in place than can check power, and that means conscientiously protecting the rights of citizens. There is much language within our Constitution that preserves human rights, and that limits the power of the state. If we compare and contrast our Constitution and our reality, we discover that the system, policies and laws currently in force create a massive gap between the Constitution and the conduct of our government. Our Constitution is essentially void.
These screenshots show that on January 4, the journals' web site - - was shut down and visitors were redirected to this IP address - - with a notice reading:
Access Refused
Honored User: Hello! Thank you for choosing our service.
The web site you are accessing has been shut down for failure to register.
Please carry Communication Administration and Public Security registration as soon as possible and you are asked to get in touch with the service provider regarding this problem.
尊敬的用户:您好!感谢您选择我们的 服务。
These screenshots show that, at about the same time the web site was shut down, Sina began censoring searches for "Yanhuang Chunqiu."

The web site resumed operation on January 18.  This screenshot, taken on January 20, shows that Sina Weibo was still censoring "political reform," and it would therefore not be possible to find posts by searching for the title of the article.

The following are translations of explanations of the situation that The Annals of the Yellow Emperor posted on its Sina Weibo:
January 4: 10:08 am - 
The web site of the Annals of the Yellow Emperor was suddenly cancelled. Today (January 4) at around 9:00 am the web site was shut down. Last year on December 31 we received an SMS and an email signed by the "Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Web Site Registration System" saying: "The web site of the Annals of the Yellow Emperor with your registration information has been cancelled, and the ICP registration number Beijing 08100492 for this web site has been rescinded. You have been notified!" The notice did not indicate why the why the registration was suddenly cancelled. Our publication is currently trying to understand the details. 
January 5: 8:30 am - 
After arriving at the office today, the publication's staff, following the instructions of the Beijing Communication Administration, contacted our ISP and undertook relevant registration procedures. We hope that this will allow the ICP registration number of the web site of the Annals of the Yellow Emperor to be restored as quickly as possible, and for the web site to resume operations soon. We deeply appreciate the enthusiastic attention of the many Internet users regarding the Annals of the Yellow Emperor. 
January 5: 8:58 pm - 
This afternoon we completed ICP registration procedures with our ISP and submitted them for examination and verification. This morning an woman surnamed Zhu at the Beijing Communications Administration explained: "After your registration application is submitted examination and verification can be completed in  about 10 working days." We hope that the Annals of the Yellow Emperor will be able to re-commense operations soon. The main essays of this year's inaugural issue will be posted on Weibo in serialization, and we welcome Internet users to read it. 
January 6: 3:30 pm - 
Thanks to all Internet users for your concern. We offer the following responses to the questions Internet users have raised: 1. Since the Annals of the Yellow Emperor web site launched we have only received two mail notices from the MIIT web site registration system. Before the web site launched we received a "Notice that registration application has passed examination and verification," and when the web site was shut down we received a notice saying "The Annals of the Yellow Emperor web site has been cancelled, and the registration number has been rescinded." In the interim we did not receive any notice from the relevant agencies, including any notice that we needed to "re-register." (continued) 
January 6: 3:30 pm - 
(continued) 2. The Annals of the Yellow Emperor web site's ICP registration number was always used in an appropriate manner (up until it was rescinded on December 31, 2012), and the web site was always operated in an appropriate manner (up until it was cancelled on December 31, 2012). 3. Who should responsible for informing and oversight when a company's ICP registration has been cancelled and they themselves don't know the situation and that a so-called "shell website" has been operating in appropriate manner for two years and four months? (continued) 
January 6: 3:32 pm - 
(continued) 4. The problem is, blank spaces had existed in our registration information for two years and four months (on the afternoon of January 4 the Beijing Communications Administration ICP registration department said our ICP registration was cancelled back on August 30, 2010), why is it only on the afternoon of the last day of 2012 that we suddenly receive notices of "ICP number rescission" and "Web site cancellation," and at nine in the morning on the first day back to work on January 3 the website was suddenly shut down? We have yet to get an answer on this timing question.  
January 18: 6:53 pm -

The web site of the Annals of the Yellow Emperor has resumed operations. This afternoon we received a "Notice Regarding Approval of ICP Registration Application Examination and Verification" from the MIIT Web Site Registration System via email saying: "Your ICP registration application has passed examination and verification, your registration/license number will be (omitted), date of registration verification approval: 2013-01-18 15:28:39." Following a simple adjustment, the web site of the Annals of the Yellow Emperor official resumed operation at six in the afternoon. We deeply appreciate everyone concern and attention for the "Annals of the Yellow Emperor" magazine.
炎黄春秋网恢复运行。今天下午收到工信部网站备案系统发来“关于ICP备案申请审核通过的通知”邮件:“您的ICP备案申请已通过审核,备案/许可证编号为(略),审核通过日期:2013-01-18 15:28:39”。经过简单调整,炎黄春秋网下午6时正式恢复运行。深切感谢广大读者对《炎黄春秋》杂志的关注和厚爱。