Monday, June 17, 2013

China's Weibos and Baidu's PostBar Censor Author Murong Xuecun's "Letter to a Nameless Censor"


On May 20, 2013, the Chinese language edition of the New York Times' web site published a letter by Chinese author Murong Xuecun (慕容雪村) entitled "Open Letter to a Nameless Censor" (致黑暗中的弄权者). Some excerpts:
Thanks to your efforts, this great nation of 1.3 billion people does not have a single newspaper that can express objective views, nor a single TV station that broadcasts objective programs, or even the smallest space where people can speak freely. This is your legacy, dear Nameless Censor.
. . . .
Please look closely at these names: Ran Yunfei, writer, scholar; Zhang Xuezhong, professor of law; Xiao Xuehui, professor of ethics; Song Shinan, scholar; He Bing, professor of law; Si Weijiang, renowned lawyer; Shen Yachuan, veteran journalist; Xiang Xiaokai, scholar; Wu Wei, scholar; Wu Zalai, scholar; Teng Biao, renowned lawyer, scholar. The list goes on...Over a period of a just a few days, these people’s Weibo accounts have also vanished at the end of your gun muzzle. This, is your legacy, dear Nameless Censor. Please look at the list again, put your hand on your heart and tell me, and tell yourself and the whole world, what crimes these people have committed. Why did you censor their works and blacklist their names? What legal procedure did you follow and which criteria were violated to provoke you to cock your gun? Which article of the law was broken to oblige you to pull the trigger? 
在你们的努力之下,这13亿人口的国家居然没有一份真正的报纸,这960万平方公里的土地居然没有一寸畅所欲言的土地,这是你的丰碑,不愿透露姓名的先生。
. . . .
请记住下面这些名字:冉云飞,作家、学者;张雪忠,大学教授;肖雪慧,大学教授;宋石男,学者;何兵,大学教授;斯伟江,律师;沈亚川,记者;项小凯,学者;吴伟,学者;吴祚来,学者;滕飚,律师、学者……短短几天之内,这些名字所属的微博帐户相继消失于你的枪口之下。如果我愿意,这名单可以列得更长,这是你的丰碑,不愿透露姓名的先生。现在请你再读一遍,然后把手放在心口,告诉我、告诉你自己,也告诉天下人:这些人犯了什么罪?你为什么要销毁他们的作品、封杀他们的名字?你根据何种程序、何种标准、哪条法律扣动扳机?
These screenshots show that Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo began censoring the phrase "Open Letter to a Nameless Censor" (致黑暗中的弄权者) hours after it was published.


This screenshot shows that a copy of Murong Xuecun's letter posted on one of Baidu's PostBar (贴吧 Tieba) forums was deleted shortly after it appeared.

Translation: Huang Xuqin and Wang Jianbing Inciting Subversion Indictment

On June 14, 2024, the Twitter account "Free Huang Xueqin & Wang Jianbing 释放雪饼" (@FreeXueBing)  posted a copy of the last two p...