Thursday, February 7, 2013

Baidu, Sina, and Tencent Censor Social Media Discussion of Wang Dexue's Wristwatches

Photos from deleted Baidu
Wang Dexue PostBar post.
On February 3, 2013, the web site of the state-sponsored China Daily published an article entitled "Human Error Behind Fatal Expressway Collapse." Some excerpts:
Chinese authorities have confirmed that an expressway viaduct collapse in Central China's Henan province that left 10 dead and 11 injured was a serious accident caused by multiple human errors.
. . . .
A joint work team of officials from local authorities as well as Wang Dexue, vice head of the State Administration of Work Safety, Huang Ming, vice minister of public security, and Feng Zhenglin, vice minister of transport, was sent to the scene to guide rescue work and the investigation.
The following day, the web site of the state-sponsored Global Times published an article entitled "Weeping Official Photo Met with Media Cry for 'Actions, Not Tears'." Some excerpts:
A photo showing an official wiping away tears at the site of fatal bridge collapse on February 2 inspired scathing satire and mockery online. Netizens berated officials for staging photo ops followed by no action after the photo was highly publicized in media.
The photo in question showed Wang Dexue, deputy director of the State Administration of Work Safety, weeping upon inspection of a bridge that collapsed in Sanmenxia, Henan Province and killed 10 people, according to the People's Daily on February 4.
The photo hit a sore spot among netizens, especially since it follows an incident in August 2012 when Yang Dacai, director of Shannxi Administration of Work Safety, came under fire for being photographed laughing at the scene of a traffic accident that claimed 36 lives. 
On the same day, the state-sponsored Mirror (法制晚报) published the following on their verified Tencent Weibo account:
[Overacting] While reviewing the scene of the State Administration of Work Safety deputy director Wang Dexue wailed and moaned, utterly tragic! Fan Jing said, who knew that he would be exposed as a "watch brother"! One "watch" stirred up many layers of waves! Song Zude spoke frankly, official are consummate actors, and some actors are forced to use eyedrops when they can't cry on cue, but government officials are true masters of the dark arts. Ah, can this charade continue?
【戏演过了】安监总局副局长王德学视察连霍高速义昌大桥垮塌事故现场,哭天抹泪,好不悲伤!范静 称,谁知道被人发现是“表哥”!一“表”激起千层浪!宋祖德 直言,官员演技比专业演员精湛,有的演员现场哭不出来还得借助眼药水,官员大部分是厚黑学的高手。唉,这戏可咋继续?
These screenshots show that between January 4 and January 5, Tencent Weibo deleted this post, as well as post from the Guangzhou Daily's verified account that also drew attention to Wang's wristwatches and comparisons with Yang Dacai (杨达才 - for more on Yang Dacai, see here:

These screenshots show the Mirror's post before and after it was deleted.
Original URL: 
This screenshot shows that on February 4 Sina Weibo was not censoring searches for "Wang Dexue" (王德学) or "Watch Brother," (表哥) but was censoring searches for "Wang Dexue Watch Brother." (王德学 表哥)

These screenshots show that on February 6 the Baidu PostBar ("Tieba" 贴吧) for "Wang Dexue" had 20 subjects and 23 posts. The following day the Wang Dexue PostBar had one subject and one post. The one remaining post was the inaugural post from February 3, and is entitled "Hey, welcome to the Bar, you can speak freely here." (嗨,欢迎来到本吧,您可以在此畅所欲言!)

These screenshots show one of the posts before and after it was deleted, in this case entitled "Wang Dexue, Big Watch Brother!" (王德学,大表哥!).
Original URL: