Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sina Deletes Taiwan Politician's Weibo Account, Baidu Censors Related Searches

A Baidu search for the title of the Nandu article
returns no results, just a censorship notice.
On February 20, 2013, the state-sponsored Nandu Net (南都网) published an article entitled "Former DPP Chairman Frank Hsieh's Weibo Shut Down One Day After Verification" (台前民进党主席谢长廷微博认证仅一天被注销). Some excerpts:
Frank Hsieh, former Chairman of the Democratic Progressive Party, opened a Weibo on mainland China's Sina web site, becoming the first heavyweight figure under the Green banner to open an account from across the straight. He accumulated over 50,000 followers. One Internet user spoke frankly: "Xie Changting has come to test mainland China's bottom line on expression." Shortly thereafter, after only one day of its real name verification, Hsieh's Weibo account was quickly cancelled. The actual reason remains unclear, and its being widely discussed amongst Internet users.
Here are two of Hsieh's Weibo posts:
Constitutional government is a global trend, so most major countries all have constitutions, but in some countries the constitutions are only used during exam time, and are not actually implemented. Some countries only implement a portion of their constitutions, and typically the portions that are not implemented are those that impose restrictions on the government. This is the source of people's suffering.
Whether or not there is freedom of speech is not a matter of looking at whether one has the freedom to speak in criticism of official power, but whether after one ha finished speaking one loses one's liberty.
On March 27, China's state run media reported that when a reporter asked about Hsieh's account being shut down during a press conference, Fan Liqing (范丽青) spokeswoman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office replied: "We have said repeatedly that, with respect to the Internet, mainland China has relevant administrative measures, and everything is handled according to laws and regulations." (我们曾多次讲过,对于互联网,大陆有相应的管理办法,一切依法、依规办事)。

This screenshot, taken on February 21, shows that Baidu had banned users from setting up PostBar (贴吧) forums under the heading "Frank Hsieh."
This screenshot, taken on March 6, shows that Baidu had banned users from setting up PostBar forums under the heading "Taiwan."

These screenshots, also taken on March 6, show that, while Baidu was returning apparently uncensored results for searches for "Frank Hsieh," it was restricting search results for "Frank Hsieh Weibo" to a white list of about a dozen web sites controlled by the central government and the Communist Party.