Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Stories of Infant's Murder and Changchun's Skynet Get Censored

On March 6, 2013, the state-sponsored Global Times published an article entitled "Car Theft Ends with Baby Strangled." Some excerpts:
A man who stole a car with a 2-month-old boy inside in Changchun, Jilin Province, confessed to police late Tuesday afternoon he had murdered the infant.
Zhou Xijun, 48, stole the SUV on Monday morning, triggering a province-wide manhunt involving 3,500 police officers.
The case sparked public outcry as soon as it was reported by local media, with many Web users on microblogging service Sina Weibo urging each other to help find the baby.
That same day, Weibo users began posting what was claimed to be a notice issued by the Jilin Propaganda Department entitled "Changchun Municipal Media Reporting Requirements in the March 4 Case" (3.04案件省直及长春市媒体报道要求). An excerpt:
Guide the masses to an awareness not only of the pity they should feel for infant in its misfortune, and the anger they should direct toward the criminal's wicked conduct, but also of the deep care and positive accomplishments the police demonstrated in resolving the case with respect to the public's well-being, property and security. Communicate the love and care of society and be a vehicle for society's positive energy, encouraging people to continue to treasure these social riches. Television and radio should express this content through news anchors broadcasts and brief editorials, and while strictly controlling their total output, newspapers can cover this story with their own reports, expressing the true sentiments that people share and communicate positive energy.
These screenshots show that on March 7, Tencent Weibo began censoring searches for "Changchun Prohibition Order" (长春 禁令).

These screenshots, also taken on March 7, show that Sina Weibo was censoring searches for "Changchun Prohibition Order" (长春 禁令) and "Changchun Demands Reporting" (长春 报道要求).

The Propaganda Department's alleged order also contained this statement:
The media must insist upon positive propaganda, and under no circumstances cast suspicion or criticism on the polices' handling of the case. Do not paint the Skynet Project in a negative light, and do not repeatedly interview the victim's family or other related parties.
On March 6, the state-sponsored Caijing Magazine had published an article entitled "ZTE Accused of Creating a Tofu Dregs Construction, Changchun's Skynet Project a Blind Person With Eyes Wide Open" (中兴通讯被指承建豆腐渣 长春天网工程成睁眼瞎). The article, which was originally available here -,  was quickly deleted. Some excerpts:
Internet users have expressed doubts regarding Changchun's 100 million + yuan "penetrating gaze" construction - the Skynet Project, which during the resolution of this case became a "blind person with eyes wide open." Could it be just another "tofu dregs" project?
According to an August 2010 Xinhua report, Changchun launched the second stage of its "Skynet Project" on August 11, with Changchun ZTE being the sole contractor. Three years after completion of the second stage, Changchun was to achieve complete surveillance coverage of every work unit and intersection. Currently, Changchun has already has 58,000 surveillance devices, with the number expected to reach 60,000 by year's end.
This screenshot shows that the article was also deleted from other website whwer it was reposted, such as the state-sponsored Xinmin News, where it was originally available here -

On March 10, QQ published an article on its Today Topic section entitled "Why Didn't the 'Skynet Project' Ensnare an Infant's Murderer?" (“天网工程”为何没有网住杀婴嫌犯). Some excerpts:
The primary mission of the "Skynet Project" is not to address common criminal cases. 
Its impossible to talk about the "Skynet Project" without also discussing the "Stability and Security Construction Project." The latter was a public security project launched in 2004. In order to build a harmonious society, the central government proposed launching in-depth "stability and security construction" nationwide, and the "Skynet Project" is an important  part of the realization of "Stability and Security Construction," to the point where people will sometimes directly refer to the "Skynet Project" as the "Stability and Security Project." In 2005, the Party's Central Politics and Law Commission issued the Opinion Regarding Deepening Stability and Security Construction," which set forth the primary goals and missions of stability and security construction: first, the early detection, comprehensive control, and effective disposition of infiltration by hostile forces and illegal activities of "Falun Gong" and other evil cults, in order to guard against the occurrence of situations that would seriously threaten national security and political stability. Second, comprehensively prevent and decrease contradictions and disputes, endeavor to bring about reconciliation of non-harmonious factors, and prevent the occurrence of large-scale mass incidents that severely threaten social stability. Third, safeguard public order in towns and villages. Fourth, prevent and reduce large scale production accidents. Fifth, investigate economic crimes in accordance with the law. It can be seen that the primary mission of "Stability and Security Construction" is "maintaining stability." Stability maintenance has been made the top priority for every "Stability and Security Construction." For example, the number one priority task in the "Henan Stability and Security Construction Program (2006-2010) was "actively prevent and appropriately handle mass incidents." 
Therefore, as a means of achieving "Stability and Security Construction," the "Skynet Project's" primary mission is "maintaining stability."