Thursday, December 26, 2013

2013 Year In Review: Top 10 Examples of Censorship of Corruption and Nepotism

Translation Chief's "Improper Lifestyle"

On January 17, China's official news agency Xinhua reported that Yi Junqing (衣俊卿), director of the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, had been removed from his post for "living an improper lifestyle." The following day, the Zhejiang Daily published an editorial entitled "Mouth Full of Marxism, Belly Full of Deceit" (满嘴马列,满腹盗娼).

Below, the left-hand screenshot shows the article as it appeared on January 18. The right-hand screenshot shows that same page as it appeared on January 20. 

Rumors of NPC Secretary General Being Investigated

On January 26, 2013, Hong Kong's Ming Pao published an article entitled "Capital Whispers: Li Jianguo Investigated as Part of 'Beat the Tigers' Anti-Corruption Drive" (京城密語﹕反腐「打老虎」 李建國傳受查). Li Jianguo is vice chairman and secretary general of China's National People's Congress.

These screenshots show that on January 29 Baidu began censoring search results for "Li Jianguo." Prior to Baidu's censorship, the top search result was a discussion of the Ming Pao report. Following Baidu's censorship the top result was Xinhua's profile of Li.


Local Official Caught With a Suspicious Watch

On February 4, the state-sponsored Mirror (法制晚报) published the following on their verified Tencent Weibo account:
[Overacting] While reviewing the scene of the State Administration of Work Safety deputy director Wang Dexue wailed and moaned, utterly tragic! Fan Jing said, who knew that he would be exposed as a "watch brother"! One "watch" stirred up many layers of waves! Song Zude spoke frankly, official are consummate actors, and some actors are forced to use eyedrops when they can't cry on cue, but government officials are true masters of the dark arts. Ah, can this charade continue?
【戏演过了】安监总局副局长王德学视察连霍高速义昌大桥垮塌事故现场,哭天抹泪,好不悲伤!范静 称,谁知道被人发现是“表哥”!一“表”激起千层浪!宋祖德 直言,官员演技比专业演员精湛,有的演员现场哭不出来还得借助眼药水,官员大部分是厚黑学的高手。唉,这戏可咋继续?
Tencent Weibo deleted this post the following day. These screenshots show that on February 6 the Baidu PostBar ("Tieba" 贴吧) for "Wang Dexue" had 20 subjects and 23 posts. The following day the Wang Dexue PostBar had one subject and one post. The one remaining post was the inaugural post from February 3, and is entitled "Hey, welcome to the Bar, you can speak freely here." (嗨,欢迎来到本吧,您可以在此畅所欲言!)


Local Official Caught With a Suspicious Tan Line

On April 23, 2013, the state-sponsored Global Times published an article entitled "Lushan Official Just in Time for Scandal,” stating that “a photo taken of Fan Jiyue, party leader of Lushan county, while accompanying Premier Li Keqiang overseeing quake-relief work on April 21, revealed visible tan lines on Fan's left wrist. Web users assumed that Fan had secretly taken off his expensive watch before he met with the Premier.”

These screenshots show that Tencent Weibo began censoring searches for "Fan Jiyue" (范继跃) some time between April 23 and April 24.


Questions About Deng Xiaoping's Son's Connection to the US

On May 3, 2013, China's official news agency Xinhua published an article on its web site entitled "Deng Xiaoping's Only Grandson Deng Zhuodi Assumes Post of Deputy County Chief of Pingguo County, Guangxi" (邓小平唯一孙子邓卓棣任广西平果副县长).

These screenshots show that between May 4 and May 9, Sina Weibo began censoring search results for "Deng Zhuodi America." (邓卓棣 美国)


Lawyers' Calls for Officials to Disclose Their Assets

On May 24, 2013, China-based civil rights lawyer Xu Zhiyong (许志永) published an article on his blog entitled "Citizen’s Statement Regarding the Arrest of the Asset Disclosure Ten Gentlemen" (公民就“财产公示十君子”被捕的声明). The post was signed by Xu, Xiao Shu (笑蜀), Wang Gongquan (王功权), Teng Biao (滕彪), Liu Weiguo (刘卫国), Li Xiongbing (黎雄兵), Liang Xiaojun (梁小军), Li Fangping (李方平), and Xiao Guozhen (肖国珍). According to the statement:

On March 31, 2013, Yuan Dong, Zhang Baocheng, Ma Xinli, Hou Xin and two others unfurled banners in downtown Xidan plaza, Beijing, calling for officials to publicly disclose their personal assets. Ten or so minutes later, they were taken away by police, and later, four of them were criminally detained on charges of “illegal assembly.”

These screenshots show that Sina Weibo began censoring the phrase "Asset Disclosure Ten Gentlemen" (财产公示十君子) on May 26 or 27.


Senior Officials' Children Not Returning to China

On May 28, the state-sponsored website published a report entitled “Wang Qishan Demands Senior Level Officials Children Return to China Within One Year After Completing Studies Abroad” (王岐山要求高官留学子女毕业一年内回国).

These screenshots show that on May 28 Sina Weibo began censoring "Wang Qishan Demands Children of Senior Officials Studying Abroad to Return Within One Year After Graduating" (王岐山要求高官留学子女毕业一年内必须回国).


Calls to Investigate Shanghai Judge Cui Yadong

On August 16, China's largest state-sponsored media outlets, including Xinhua, the China Daily, and the People's Daily, published reports with titles such as "Shanghai High Court Judge Reported for Corruption, Stole Six Tons of Mautai a Year" (上海高院代院长被举报贪腐 每年偷拿6吨茅台) and "70 Step Forward to Report Cui Yadong Shows Difficulties in Calming Public Wrath" (崔亚东遭“70名下属实名举报”是众怒难平).

These screenshots show that on August 17, Baidu shut down its Cui Yadong PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) forum.


Accusations Regarding Former Premier's Daughter Li Xiaolin

On October 13, 2013, China's official news agency Xinhua published an article entitled "Li Xiaolin Responds to 'Suspicious Insurance Deals': Malicious Defamation" (李小琳回应“涉保险交易”报道:恶意中伤). Li's denial was presumably in response to an article published by the Telegraph on October 10 entitled "Daughter of 'Butcher of Tiananmen Square' Brokered Secret Deal for Insurance Giant." The Xinhua article did not mention that Li Xiaolin is the daughter of Li Peng (李鹏) the former Premier of China.

These screenshots were taken on October 11, and show that Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo were censoring searches for "Li Xiaolin" (李小琳).


Accusations Regarding Former Premier's Daughter Wen Ruchun

On November 13, 2013, the New York Times published an article entitled "JPMorgan’s Fruitful Ties to a Member of China’s Elite" (摩根大通与温家宝女儿曾有商业往来). According to that article, in order to promote its standing in China, JPMorgan Chase hired Wen Ruchun, the only daughter of former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (温家宝).

These screenshots show that, shortly after the article's publication, Baidu began censoring searches for "Wen Ruchun Morgan" (温如春 摩根).