Saturday, September 14, 2013

Baidu, Sina, and Tencent Censor Searches Relating to Wang Gongquan's Detention

On September 14, 2013, the state-sponsored Global Times published an editorial in English and Chinese entitled "Unconditional Support for Wang is Imprudent"(为王功权无条件背书有违法律精神). Some excerpts:
Well-known venture capitalist and billionaire investor Wang Gongquan was detained by police in Beijing Friday.
. . . .
Since Friday afternoon, some liberals have begun to voice support for Wang, and asserted that he is completely innocent and being "politically persecuted" for his outspoken comments online. 
Several liberals have started to collect signatures on Weibo and completely politicized the incident. They claimed that China is at "the most dangerous moment," and warned that police authorities "should not irritate the public."
. . . .
We believe such an unconditional endorsement based on value judgment is not appropriate.
. . . .
Currently some liberals are seeking to build a public opinion atmosphere where anyone in their camp being sent to court is a victim of "political persecution." Even the prostitution scandal of Chinese-American investor Charles Xue has been seen by them as an "official crackdown on freedom of speech." 
By doing so they are actually claiming that they are not subject to law in China, and that they can only be judged by public opinion, especially that on Weibo. While seeking to build up such a privilege, some of them may lose respect for the law in real life.
These screenshots show that the "Dinghui Investments Wang Gongquan" (鼎晖投资 王功权) PostBar (贴吧 Tieba) forum was operating at least as recently as May, 2013, but that users searching for that forum on September 14 are told: "Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, rules, and regulations, this Bar cannot be opened" (抱歉,根据相关法律法规和政策,本吧暂不开放。).

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This screenshot was taken on September 14, and shows that Tencent Weibo is censoring searches for "Wang Gongquan" (王功权).

These screenshots were taken on September 14, and show that Sina Weibo censors searches for "Wang Gongquan Urgent Statement" (王功权 紧急声明), but not for "Wang Gongquan" or "Urgent Statement."