Monday, February 18, 2013

China's Weibos Ban Kai-fu Lee, News Sites Delete Criticism of People's Daily Search Engine Boss Deng Yaping

Kai-fu Lee's post (top)
Deng Yaping (bottom)

On September 21, 2010, the state-sponsored China Daily published an article entitled "Champion Deng Yaping Preside Over Search Engine by People's Daily." Some excerpts:
Table tennis legend Deng Yaping will soon be adding to her rich experience by taking a further step in her political career. Deng, 37, the former world and Olympic table tennis champion, has been nominated to serve as president of, a news search engine launched by People's Daily in July, and as deputy secretary-general of People's Daily.
On February 16, 2013, the China-based website (虎嗅网) published an article entitled "Homeward Bound Musings, Why is it Deng Yaping is Being Criticized" (回乡沿途八卦:话说邓亚萍为什么被批了). Some excerpts:
So far Jike has (supposedly) spent 2 billion, and has essentially no profits, [People's Daily deputy editor] Ma Li is unwilling, and has taken Deng to task, be diligent and thrifty,  stop all extravagance and waste, they are overstaffed, so a list needs to be made of 100 employees to be cut, and its said that it will be announced soon.
These screenshots were taken on February 17, and show the article as it appeared on Google Preview, but that it had been deleted from Huxiu's web site. It had also been deleted from other web sites where it had been reposted:

On February 17, the web site of the state-sponsored China Newsweek (中国新闻周刊网) published an article entitled "Li Kaifu Calls Into Question People's Search Engine and Deng Yaping" (人民搜索和邓亚萍 李开复质疑). Some excerpts:
Recently, online talk is that Deng Yaping has been criticized. Li Kaifu has raised the following four questions on his Sina Weibo with respect to "People's Search and Deng Yaping": 1) Why is taxpayer money being used to build a search engine? 2) Is there any hope of building a search engine where there is belief in the free flow of information? 3) Why is the boss of a search engine appointed by the Party? 4) If back in the day America's Democratic Party had appointed Michael Phelps to be the CEO of Google, could Google have beaten Yahoo and become the leading search engine?
These screenshots show that within hours the article had been deleted. It had also been deleted from the following web sites where it had been reposted:

At 7:53 pm on February 17, Kai-fu Lee posted the following on Twitter:
I have been banned from speaking on Sina and Tencent for three days. Everyone can come here to find me.

These screenshots show that by 8:30 pm on February 17 Sina Weibo was censoring searches for "Employee Says Deng Yaping Doesn't Get Search" (员工称邓亚萍不懂搜索) and Tencent Weibo was censoring searches for "Deng Yaping Doesn't Get Search" (邓亚萍不懂搜索).

Late in the evening of February 17, the state-sponsored Global Times published an English language article entitled "Jike Shoots Down Layoff Rumor." Some excerpts:

Despite large investments in talent over the two years since its establishment in 2011, Jike's performance has still been unquestionably bad, mainly due to improper management and unattractive product positioning, Ji Chendong, an industry analyst with Frost & Sullivan, told the Global Times Sunday.
. . . .
A staff member from the Jike public relations department, speaking anonymously, told the Global Times that the company's current top priority is building up its technology, not gaining profits.
With the support of the government, it aims to release the latest food and drug safety information to the public, which will set them apart from rivals, she noted, adding that this goal is still some way off.
. . . .
Data from US research consultancy Hitwise indicated that Baidu Inc seized a 65.7 percent market share by traffic in December 2012, ranking first, while Qihoo 360 Technology Co's growing search engine came second with 8.7 percent. Jike and another State-owned search engine, Xinhua News Agency's, did not make the list.
This screenshot, taken at around noon on February 18, shows that Sina Weibo did something to block all posts from between January 23 and February 17 from appearing in the results for a search for "Kai-fu Lee Banned." (李开复 被禁)

On the morning of February 18, Huxiu posted another article, this time entitled "Li Kaifu Gets Banned From Speaking, What Red Line Did He Step On?" (李开复遭禁言,踩到哪根红线?).  These screenshots show that it was deleted within hours.

Original URL:

These screenshots was taken in the afternoon of February 18, and shows that Sina Weibo was censoring "Li Kaifu Banned from Speaking" (李开复 禁言).

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