Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sina Weibo Begins Censoring Searches About Famous People Being Asked to Tea

On the evening of January 9, 2013, Kai-fu Lee posted the following on his Sina Weibo: "This tea is hard to swallow!" (好难喝的茶! - alternatively, "This tea tastes awful!").

Several minutes later, Lee posted the following: "From now on, only discuss East, West, and North, only discuss Monday through Friday" (从现在开始,只谈东西北方,只谈周一到周五。)

On January 10, Lee posted the following in response to a post from Ren Zhiqiang (任志强) saying "The first time." (第一次吧):
There's always a first time for everything, you approach them wholeheartedly, but do not let them vex you. You needn't ask me what is false and what is true, as I would that your doubts would be alliviated. For everything you do there was always the first time. I would that you would comprehend what is true and what is false.

The English translation really doesn't do justice to the post, which was quite nuanced and poetic.
Two of Lee's posts.
These screenshots show that, on January 11, Sina Weibo began censoring "Asked to Tea Lee Kai-fu" (被喝茶 李开复).

At the same time it was also censoring "Asked to Tea Ren Zhiqiang" (被喝茶 任志强) and "Asked to Tea Yi Nengjing" (被喝茶 伊能静).
This screenshot shows that Sina Weibo was not censoring all queries containing "Asked to Tea" - in this example "Asked to tea Zhang Moumou" (被喝茶 张某某) returns a notice saying no results were found, but no censorship notice.