Monday, August 26, 2013

China's State Media Talks About Xu Zhiyong, While China's Social Media Bans Discussion

On August 18, 2013, the state-sponsored Global Times published editorials in English and Chinese about Xu Zhiyong and Guo Feixiong.

From the English editorial, entitled "Legal Basis Needed for Dissenting Voices":
A human rights advocate from Guangzhou, Yang Maodong, better known by his pen name, Guo Feixiong, was detained recently. Xu Zhiyong, an activist and legal scholar based in Beijing, was also detained recently. Overseas voices have connected the two incidents and believed the Chinese mainland is conducting a "decapitation" campaign against the human rights movement. Meanwhile, they glorify what Guo and Xu did by calling them "pro-democracy activists."
. . . .
Obviously, China has not found a mature way to deal with these confrontational individuals. On the one hand, they play a new role in society and what they do is not all negative.
But on the other hand, they pose a danger to the current social governance system and long-term social stability.
. . . .
Authorities should be clear that detaining any dissident may become an event entangled with public opinion. Therefore, the legal basis and judicial process must be impeccable. Irrational sentiments exist in public opinion, which adds pressure on the authorities.
Dissidents should also acknowledge that China is in a special stage of transformation and progress. Too fierce confrontations go contrary to society's fundamental interests.
The following is the concluding paragraph of the Chinese language version, entitled "Expressing Dissenting Opinions Cannot Go Beyond the Bounds of Law" (表达异见不能越过法律边界), which was omitted from the English language version:
Perhaps China's opening and development is destined for unavoidable confrontations which will exact a social cost. But the ideal of intellectuals should lie in minimizing those costs, not "using confrontation to change China," because only the former is what is in the imminent interest of China's people. Confrontation is ubiquitous in today's world, and the enormous social suffering that it brings is visible to us all. Reducing confrontation amongst individuals and within society is true humanitarianism.
These screenshots were taken on August 20, 2013, and show that Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo were censoring searches for "Xu Zhiyong," and Baidu was banning users from establishing a PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) forum on Xu Zhiyong.

These screenshots show that Baidu's moderators deleted a post entitled "Xu Zhiyong Issues Video Statement From Jail" (许志永狱中发表视频讲话).

These screenshots show that Xu's video disappeared from Baidu's video search results at about the same time.