Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Short, Incomplete History of How China's Web Sites Handle Internet Rumors


Politburo Member Visits Sina 

On August 22, Liu Qi (刘淇), Beijing's Party secretary and a member of the Politburo, visited officials and said that they should “resolutely put an end to fake and misleading information.”

Footage broadcast on state-run television showed Liu and dozens of officials touring Sina's offices and getting an introduction to Weibo from CEO Charles Chao. Also on hand were former Google China head Kai-Fu Lee and Beijing real estate mogul Pan Shiyi. According to the Beijing Daily article entitled "Liu Qi Survey's Sina: Operate New Weibo Technology Well, Put a Stop to False Negative Information" (刘淇在新浪调研:运用好微博新技术 抵制虚假消极信息) published the following day, Liu called on Sina to:
Put an end to false harmful information, ensure the integrity of information that is published, create a healthy and improving atmosphere for online opinion, while simultaneously taking advantage of their own platform, establishing their own teams of specialists, implementing new Internet technologies, actively spreading the core values of socialism, propagating advanced socialist culture, encouraging and motivating users' hearts and minds to build socialism with Chinese characteristics, and serving the construction of a socialist harmonious society.
On August 25, Xinhua published an editorial entitled "More Powerful Attacks Need to Eradicated the Poison of Internet Rumors (铲除网络谣言之毒须加大打击力度). The editorial, signed by Zhou Jijian (周继坚), stated:
In order to weed rumors out of the soil in which they propagate and spread, it is necessary for relevant government agencies to strengthen Internet administration and increase the power of their attacks on rumors. In accordance with laws and regulations, the law enforcement agencies responsible for public security must take the lead, and investigate those who use the Internet to spread rumors and create trouble and threaten society, and make those who spread rumors pay based on the specific facts associated with the rumors spread, the degree of harm to society, their criminal motivations, and other objective criteria.
Sina Launches Crackdown

On August 26, 2011, Sina notified each of its 200 million users that several users deemed to have spread unfounded rumors would have their accounts suspended for one month.

Below are translations of the first two "rumor buster" notices that Sina sent out on "Weibo Piyao" - its page dedicated to busting rumors:
"Suspect Released on Bail in Case of Assaulting 19 Year Old Wuhan Girl" is not true. Recently a user posting information that a 19 year old Wuhan girl was murdered, and that the suspect's well-connected father got him released on bail. An investigation shows this is not the factual. The Wuhan Public Security Office and the Qiaokou precinct, which had jurisdiction in this case, have confirmed that the suspect remains in custody at a detention center. The local journalist @IAmAFish has sought confirmation from several parties, including the girl's family and has also confirmed that the suspect remains under arrest awaiting a hearing. Because they published non-factual information, the user has had their posting and viewing functions suspended for one month.
“武汉19岁少女遇害案疑犯获保释”不实 - 近日有用户发微博,称一名19岁少女在武汉被杀害,疑犯被有权势的父亲保释。经查此说法不实。武汉市公安局和管辖该案的硚口分局均证实,疑犯仍被关押在看守所。当地记者@我是1条鱼向受害者家属等多方求证也确认,疑犯仍被刑拘待审。因发布不实消息,该用户被取消发布和被关注功能一个月。详见:月26日 13:18 
Weibo Exposes the Rumor that "Red Cross Sells Blood to Hospitals for 200 Yuan a Bag that Was Donated Without Compensation" is False. Rumor Buster Notice: Recently a user posted that "Red Cross Sells Blood to Hospitals for 200 Yuan a Bag that Was Donated Without Compensation, Hospitals Sell it for 500 Yuan." Based on a media investigation, the collection and use of blood is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health, and the Red Cross only participates in uncompensated blood donation and promotions. In addition, patients only pay fees for blood screening and storage, and not for the blood itself, and that uncompensated blood donors can use blood without compesation. See the relevant reports from the People's Daily and Xinhua here:
微博辟谣“无偿献血被红十字以一袋200元卖给医院“说法不实 - 辟谣公告:近日有用户发微博,称“无偿献血被红十字以一袋200元卖给医院,医院卖500元”。据媒体调查,血液采集和使用由卫生部门负责,红十字会只参与无偿献血的宣传等工作;且患者支付的是血液检验储存等费用,并非血液本身费用,无偿献血者用血时可无偿使用。详见人民网相关报道:;新华网相关报道:月26日 11:16

Sina Decides Reports on Chen Guangcheng are Rumors

On October 12, 2011, the Global Times published English ("Don't turn a village into a pressure cooker") and Chinese ("Don't Turn the Chen Guangcheng Affair Into an Ideological Issue" 不应将陈光诚事件意识形态化) versions of an editorial about Chen Guangcheng (陈光诚). The English version of the editorial described Chen's situation this way:
According to media reports, Chen, a local activist for people who are treated unfairly under the family-planning policy, has been under house arrest in Linyi, Shandong Province since September last year. It is reported that both individuals and media were prevented from visiting him by local authorities. Whether this is true and whether such measures are legal, there needs to more reliable information released by local governments.
The Chinese version characterized it this way:
There are many perspectives and starting points of opinion regarding whether Chen is currently under "soft detention" and the legality of the surveillance of his home. Under these circumstances, we believe that the relevant agencies in Linyi should provide sufficient information to the outside world, and allow the various debates to find a direction based on a common set of facts.
The Chinese version of the article was subsequently deleted.

This screenshot was taken on October 13, 2011, and shows that Sina Weibo was censoring searches for "Free Guangcheng" (自由光诚).

On October 17, 2011, Sina's Quash Rumor weibo announced two accounts had been permanently shut down for publishing false information in connection with Linyi. The announcements read:
An investigation has shown: Yesterday, the IP address of @Monuluokeke( posts was the same as the IP address of @HuchenchenTim( posts. They all came from someplace in Guangzhou. Tomorrow we will announce how we will handle the resolution of this.
经查:昨日,@魔女骆可可(发布微博 ip与@胡晨晨tim(发布微博的ip地址相同,均来自广州某地。我们将在明天公布处理结果。
Comments: 1186 
Yesterday,@HuchenchenTim( @Monuluokeke( about their experiences in Linyi, Shandong. An investigation has shown that the content originated from the same IP address in Guangzhou, and were fabricated by the same person. Therefore, these two accounts have been permanently banned from posting or being followed.
Comments: 601
Here are some examples of Weibo users' comments on the two announcements:
Angry Brother Kan: Sina you son-of-a-b*tch, what f*cking evidence do you have proving that someone's experience is fabricated, show us your evidence you f*cker, you say its fabricated so its fabricated, fabricate this motherf*cker! You have less shame and more criminality than the courts do, stinking son-of-a-b*tch Sina, F*CK YOU!!!
愤怒的侃哥 新浪臭SB,你妈你有什么证据证明人家经历是编造,你妈逼你拿证据出来啊,你说编造就编造,编你妈个头啊!你妈逼你比法院还流氓还无耻,臭SB新浪,F[*]CK YOU!!! 
Angst on the Summer Solstice: @BaiLu- The Linyi government could tell everyone whether or not a person named Chen Guangcheng exists, and if he doesn't, then tell everyone that he doesn't exist. It could also welcome everyone to go to Linyi any time to travel, and the rumor would then collapse on itself. But nothing is said, its just posts being deleted, and this can only result in them speeding up their loss of control.
夏至的忧伤 回复@白录:临沂政府可以告诉大家,是否真有陈光诚此人,如果没有,就告诉大家此人不存在。也可以欢迎大家随时去临沂旅游,谣言则不攻自破。什么也不说,只是删帖,只能让事态更加失控(21分钟前) 
Looking for Someone Honest: Weibo can refute rumors. What I would like to know is, when can Chen Guangcheng come out to refute rumors? Can the Linyi government come out and refute rumors? People are always saying that Internet users' grandstanding can be exposed, what about government officials'? If you have a heart, then please spend more time exposing government officials.
找个说实话的地 微薄可以辟谣。我想知道,陈光诚何时能出来辟谣。临沂政府能否出来辟谣?一直想说,网友的作秀可以被揭露,官员的呢?谁来揭露。如果有心,请多多揭露官员们的吧。


Sina and Tencent Temporarily Shut Down Comments to Clean Up Rumors

These screenshots, taken on March 31, 2012 show notices that began being displayed to users on that day:


Recently, rumors and other harmful information that has been transmitted by Weibo users has had an adverse impact on society, and relatively more harmful information has appeared in comments to posts, and needs to be comprehensively purified. Therefore, this website has decided that, from 8 am March 31 until 8 am April 3 , the comment function on Weibos will be temporarily suspended. We therefore ask for you understanding for any inconvenience this has caused.
Recently, comments on Weibos have included a relatively large amount of rumors and other illegal and harmful information. In order to carry out a comprehensive cleansing, from 8 am on March 31 until 8 am on April 3 the commenting function on weirs will be temporarily suspended. After the cleansing, we will re-enable the commenting functionality. This necessary cleansing of information is being conducted in order to provide a better environment for exchanges for everyone, and we hope that users will understand and make allowances. We thank everyone for their support.

Baidu, Sina, and Tencent Promise to Crack Down on Rumors

On April 13, 2012, the China Daily published an article entitled "Major web portals voice resolution to banish rumors." Some excerpts:
Chiefs of, and promised the government that they will firmly cooperate with relevant departments to crack down on the online spreading of rumors, saying they will improve self-management and take effective measures toward this goal.
Below are translations of statements by "responsible people" from Sina, Baidu, and Tencent as cited in an April 10, 2012 report on the Southern Daily website entitled "Sina, Baidu, Tencent and Others Web Sites Respond to Calls to Put a Stop to Online Rumors " (新浪、百度、腾讯等网站响应倡议抵制网络谣言):
A Sina official said that it is every Internet platform service company's responsibility to create a healthy and orderly content environment and avoid the production and spread of rumors, and that Weibo will absolutely not become a breeding ground for the production and spread of rumors. To address various Weibo users who repeatedly fabricated and maliciously spread the so-called "military vehicles enter the capital" and other rumors, Sina assembled the Weibo, technical, and other departments to formulate a clear action plan to discover and address loopholes, and increase the degree of screening for malicious rumors spreading on Weibo, and improved emergency prevention measures. Currently, Sina is perfecting content management measures and work coordination mechanisms, and is putting in place a chain of procedures to discover, process, investigate, and report Internet rumors. The Sina official said that Sina's cleansing work had been supported and understood by the users, and in the future Sina would continue to guide users in participating in Weibo rumor refutation work.
A Baidu official said that, as the world's largest Chinese search engine, Baidu has already become the largest portal for China's Internet, and that when using a search engine people not only want to get information fast, they were also increasingly demanding information that is true and safe. Therefore, it is critical for search services to provide true and accurate information. Currently, Baidu is carrying out comprehensive administration of illegal and false information on web search. At the same time, it is increasing the coordination between administrative and technical resources to construct more unified mechanisms. Baidu also launched a "Sunshine Campaign," utilizing human inspection reviews and launched Internet user reporting and other means to attack false information. Baidu will also further increase the degree of technical and administrative involvement in order to guard against the transmission of false information and provide stronger safeguards.
A Tencent official said that Information security is the lifeblood Internet enterprise development, and Internet enterprises must adopt effective measures to maintain a harmonious and stable Internet environment. Because of the special characteristics of Weibos, it is easy for them to become a primary source and carrier for the spread of Internet rumors. Tencent is earnestly reviewing past experiences to further improve Weibo security policies and measures in order to control the spread of Internet rumors on Weibo to greatest extent possible and constantly raise the level of security administration and control. Tencent continues to carry out a comprehensive rectification and cleansing of its QQ Groups, QQ Spaces, search, and other interactive businesses.
Censored Article Leads to Rumors of Newspaper's Closure

On July 21, when Beijing suffered torrential rains, Sina Weibo censored searches relating to the death toll. For example, these screenshots show that, while a search on Sina Weibo in the evening of July 24 for "Beijing Downpour Death Toll" (北京暴雨死亡人数) returned over 9 million results, the same search the following day returned no results, just a notice saying "In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, search results for 'Beijing Downpour Death Toll' have not been displayed. (根据相关法律法规和政策,“北京暴雨死亡人数”搜索结果未予显示)

For more on that see:

On August 4, the state-sponsored Economic Observer published an article entitled "The Flood's Missing." An excerpt:
Beijing's "July 21" downpour came out of nowhere, causing the scenic mountain village of Shidu in Fangshan to lose contact with the outside world and putting many tourists in life-threatening peril. After the flood waters receded, the Shidu city government announced "Under the correct leadership of the Fangshan district government, and through the united efforts and brave struggles of the entire village, not one single citizen or tourist died in the village, and disaster relief efforts have been victorious." The Shidu police station also said: "Faced with the Juman River overflowing its banks, a miracle was achieved in that there was not one single injury or fatality amongst the citizens and tourists in Shidu."
In fact, the Fangshan government notices neglected to mention the situation with respect to missing people. In Shidu, it seems everyone knew about "the three people swept away in the flood at Pudu village." After a detailed investigation, this paper's reporters have come to understand that, at 8 pm on July 21, at the Pudu Water Park beside Bridge No. 11 in Shidu, Ma Hailong, Hou JIan, and Yang Han were swept away following failed rescue efforts, and that there has been no word from them for over ten days. On the afternoon of August 3, Yang Han's family told this paper via telephone that Yang Han's corpse had been found in Laishui county in Hebei, and that the family was on the way to Laishui.
This article contradicted an article published on July 26 by the state-sponsored Beijing Daily entitled "Not a Single Citizen or Tourist Injured or Killed in Shidu" (十渡区域百姓游客无一伤亡).

These screenshots, taken on August 6, show that the article was subsequently deleted from both the HTML and ePaper versions of the Economic Observer's website.

These screenshots show that Tencent began censoring searches for "Economic Observer" (经济观察报) on its Weibo some time on August 6 or 7, 2012.

On the evening of August 7, the following posts appeared on Sina Weibo:

5:11 pm, from the Economic Observer:
Friends: The Economic Observer is operating as usual; information saying that this publisher has been investigated and closed is pure rumor. Thanks for everyone's concern.
5:59 pm, from the Beijing Government Information Office:
Beijing Announces: We have seen information online that the "Economic Observer" has been "closed." Following confirmation from the city's agonies responsible for the administration of culture, we have an official response: this is absolutely not true, and this is purely a rumor.
Less than an hour later, the People's Daily website published a report entitled "Online Rumors Say the Economic Observer Was Investigated and Shuttered for Investigative Reporting on Beijing Floods - Official Say That's Pure Rumor." (网传经济观察报报道京暴雨调查被查封 官方:纯属造谣)

None of these posts or reports discussed why the Economic Observer's article was no longer available where it had originally been posted.

Sina Weibo Rumor Busting In Action

On November 22, 2012, Sina Weibo user "Ju Che" (巨扯) posted the following:
Li Xiang, the reporter who broke the gutter oil story, was killed. Now Jiang Weisuo, the man who took on the milk industry to expose melamine, is murdered. Immediately following that are reports that Li Yuanlong, the reporter of the five homeless kids who froze to death, has now been secretly  detained. The public servants of this dynasty are not taking care of the issues raised by the people, but instead are taking care of the people who raise the issues.
曾曝光地沟油的记者李翔被杀了, 曾曝光三聚氰胺的乳业打假人士蒋卫锁如今遇害了,当下报道毕节五名流浪儿童被冻死的记者李元龙如今被秘密逮捕了——我朝公仆们不是解决人民提出的问题,而是先解决提出问题的人民。

Sina administrators placed the following notice at the top the post: "This content is not factual information, and has already been handled. Details >>" (此内容为不实消息,已处理。 详情>>).

That notice included a link labeled "Details" which pointed to a page showing the Sina Weibo user "Quanzhou Sui Sui Nian" (泉州碎碎念) had made a complaint against "Ju Che" and posted the following:
Quanzhou's Report on Ju Che
The "Reporter Li Xiang Case" was already broken in September 2011, and police determined that the case had nothing to do with gutter oil, see this detailed information: The reported person's words and deeds constitute the "publication of false information."

The "" link pointed to a Sina Weibo post from December 2011 which read:
Yesterday users published Weibos saying "Luoyang TV reporter Li Xiang who investigated gutter oil stabbed 10 times." Following an investigation, this case was already resolved back in September, with the police investigation determining that the case had nothing to do with reporting on gutter oil, and that it was a case of robbery-murder. Li Xiang's father also said that his son had never reported on the topic of gutter oil. Related report:
The "" link pointed to a story on the state-sponsored website entitled: "The Case of the Murdered Luoyang Journalist: Family Confirm It had Nothing to Do With Gutter Oil Reporting." (洛阳记者被害案:家属证实与地沟油报道无关)

Sina Weibo administrators put a red seal on Quanzhou Sui Sui Nian's post labeling it "The Winner." (胜诉)

Putting aside for the moment the question of whether or not Ju Che's post actually claimed Li Xiang's murder had anything to do with gutter oil, Ju Che may have been relying on a September 20, 2011 report from the Communist Party-sponsored People's Daily entitled "'Gutter Oil' Reporter Killed." That report stated:
Police are refusing to rule out the possibility that a journalist stabbed to death on Monday was murdered, possibly due to a recent "gutter oil" scandal.
. . . .
Li's laptop was missing and police say early investigations suggest it was a robbery homicide. However, as he was stabbed so many times, detectives are keeping an open mind to other motives. A reward of 20,000 yuan ($3,000) is being offered for information about the incident.
Media across Henan province, as well as many netizens, have speculated that Li was killed after posting a micro blog on Sept 15 about a suspected underground factory producing illegally recycled kitchen oil, commonly referred to as gutter oil.


Zhejiang Daily Censors Story Where Rumors of Official Corruption Turned Out to be True

On January 17, 2013, 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." (生活作风问题)

On January 18, the Zhejiang Daily published an editorial entitled "Mouth Full of Marxism, Belly Full of Deceit" (满嘴马列,满腹盗娼) here - 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.

Some excerpts:
Yesterday evening after six a breaking news bulletin (so short it could not have been any shorter) was posted at the top of major web sites -- according to information confirmed by relevant agencies, Yi Junqing had been deemed unsuited to remain at his post as director of the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on the grounds that he had been living an improper lifestyle, and had been dismissed from his position.
Prior to this, the story of Yi Junqing and Chang Yan had remained suspended in the realm of "fiction." Chang Yan, a post-doctorate who had previously published a 120,000 character tell-all and filed a complaint against Yi Junqing using her real name (including details of 17 hotel rendezvous), had just last month deleted posts and on December 12, 2012 had undertook to refute those facts as rumors, saying the content of her real name complaints were just "fiction written in a moment of insanity," and that she hoped everyone would just laugh it off.
Looking back on this now, it seems that every Internet user insisted on believing that the "fiction" was in fact a record of actual events, that Chang Yan's rumor refuting must have been the result of some pressure, and they continued to follow the story, waiting for the veil to be lifted to see what really lay beneath. And last night, when the news of Yi Junqing's dismissal broke, it confirmed the expertise and "cunning" of these Internet users.

Sites Censor Information About Yuan Liya, Migrant Worker Who Died in Beijing, Authorities Arrest Boyfriend and Others for Spreading Rumors

On May 9, 2013, the state-sponsored China Daily published an article entitled "Death of Girl at Mall Triggers Large Protest." Some excerpts:
Yuan Liya, 22, died after plunging from the seventh floor of a mall last week, and police say initial findings point to suicide. 
However, by Wednesday morning, hundreds of people had gathered outside the Jingwen coat wholesale outlet in the capital's Fengtai district to call for further investigations into the tragedy. 
. . . . 
Duan Xiuying, who runs a shop in nearby Dahongmen market, said Yuan also had a part-time job at Dahongmen, which is open only in the morning. She said the protest started late on Tuesday, with only dozens of people at first. 
"I wanted to join in and call for a thorough investigation, but when I arrived, it had been blocked by police," said Duan, who hails from Hebei province.
On May 22, the China Daily published an article entitled "13 Arrested in Beijing for Rumormongering." Some excerpts:
Police in Beijing said Tuesday that 13 people have been arrested for allegedly spreading rumors and disrupting public order by inciting a protest after a young woman's death earlier this month. 
A statement from the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau said the woman surnamed Yuan, who fell to death from a clothing market building in Fengtai District on May 3, had committed a suicide.
. . . .
Yuan's death, however, spawned swirling rumors on the Internet claiming she had been raped and murdered by the building's security guards, which prompted a protest outside the building on May 8, the statement said. 
Police said Yuan's boyfriend surnamed Peng allegedly spread the rumors online to call for Yuan's fellow townsmen from east Anhui province to "demand an answer" from the market, as he was unsatisfied by the market's handling of Yuan's death. 
Police have arrested Peng and 12 others, including one of Yuan's former classmates and 11 of her fellow townsmen, who allegedly helped spread the rumors and incited the rally.
The following screenshots were taken on May 8, and show that almost every major search engine in China was completely censoring searches for "Jingwen" (京温).

These screenshots show that Tencent's Soso search engine started censoring searches for "Jingwen" on May 9.

These screenshots taken on May 8 show Sina Weibo censoring search results for "Jingwen" (京温), "Yuan Liya" (袁利亚), "Dahongmen" (大红门), "Yongdingmen" (永定门), "Muxiyuan" (木樨园), and "Helicopter" (直升机).

Baidu Censors Searches Relating to Rumor That Minister Accepted Bribes and Drank Human Milk"
On July 22, 2013, China-based web portal published an article entitled "Hong Kong Media: Xinhua Reporter Exposes Minister Accepted Bribes and Drank Human Milk." (港媒:新华社记者曝正部级官员接受贿赂喝人奶) An excerpt:
According to a report in the Ta Kung Pao, some officials are vicious beyond measure, and a Xinhua correspondent has published a post stating that several years ago a minister-level official participated in expensive parties thrown by wealthy businessmen at a time when he was still a deputy-minister. One of the dishes was the breast milk of a beautiful woman, and every guest was accompanied by a young, beautiful, naked girl. 
This screenshot shows that a search for the title of that article in quotes on Baidu on July 27 returned no results, just a censorship notice.

These screenshots show why - shortly after the article was published, Baidu began restricting search results for the title of that article to a white list of about a dozen web site controlled by the central government and the Communist Party.
Baidu's censorship coincided with the publication of a denial of the story by Xinhua on China-based web portal Sohu's "Rumor" web site. According to that story:
We have learned that the correspondent Zhou Fang was merely an evening English editor, who usually did not take part in news reporting, and had absolutely no means of knowing what supposedly goes on behind the scenes, and his real name report is utter nonsense. The aforementioned [Xinhua insider] went on to disclose that every year Zhou Fang "exposes" something online, but everything he has exposed was proven to be false. 

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.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Baidu and Sina Weibo Censorship on Day One of Bo Xilai's Trial

On August 22, 2013, China's official news service Xinhua published an article entitled "Bo Xilai Stands Trial for Bribery, Embezzlement, Abuse of Power." An excerpt:
Bo Xilai, former Communist Party of China chief of Chongqing Municipality, stood open trial Thursday on charges of taking bribes, embezzlement and abuse of power at the Jinan Intermediate People's Court in east China's Shandong Province. 
The trial started at 8:43 a.m. The official microblog account of the court will update the trial proceedings.
These screenshots were taken on August 22, and show that Baidu and Sina Weibo were apparently not censoring searches for "Bo Xilai."

These screenshots also show, however, that Sina Weibo was censoring searches for "Cherish the Memory of Bo Xilai" (怀念 薄熙来) and "Support Bo Xilai" (拥护 薄熙来), both Sina Weibo and Baidu were censoring searches for "Chongqing Model" (重庆模式), and Baidu had banned users from opening a PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) forum on "Bo Xilai," and a search for "Bo Xilai" on Baidu's Knowledge (Zhidao 知道) product returned no results.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Communist Party Magazine: "China Could Not Endure the Consequences of Losing Control of Public Opinion"

On August 16, 2013, the Chinese Communist Party's flagship magazine, Seeking Truth, published an editorial entitled "Take Up the Cause of Insisting on a Marxist Approach to News" (自觉坚持马克思主义新闻观). Some excerpts:

Why is it not possible for China to implement a Western news system? The answer is very simple: China is a socialist country, and its political and economic systems are completely different from the West. So how could its news system be the same?
. . . .
One major aspect of Western criticisms of China's news system is that China has no independent media.
. . . .
Westerners often say that, when the media is owned by the State, there is a power monopoly. As we see it, when the private sector operates the media, there can only be a capital monopoly, a money monopoly. Socialist countries will not permit the news media to be privatized, and this is a fundamental difference with capitalist news system. In China, each political Party, civic organization, and social group operates a separate news organization, and is integrated with a readership of a specific scope, and together they serve the people and socialism, dividing the work, cooperating, competing, and broadly reflecting every aspect of social discourse. . . . The Party will never allow itself to become a representative of some interest group, will never allow itself to become a representative of some minority, will never allow it to have its own special interests. Therefore, for the Party to manage the media is in the best interests of safeguarding the interests of the country and the people.
. . . .
Perhaps the degree of freedom enjoyed by China's traditional media is slightly less than that enjoyed by the media in developed Western countries, in particular the reporting by the Party's newspapers, magazines, radio, and television outlets. But the reason for this has nothing to do with the concept of news or the news system, but rather with issues facing the nation at this stage of its development.
. . . .
The security and stability risks facing China clearly more numerous and significant than those facing the United States. The past 30 years of opening and development have created a miracle of historic proportions, but the process of rapid social change and transformation has also led to the accumulation of a large amount of social contradictions and problems, and these contradictions and problems have become increasingly pronounced in recent years.
. . . .
At its current stage, China could not endure the consequences of losing control over public opinion. . . . The overall quality of government agency administration and the ranks of Party officials is not high enough, and they are finding it very difficult to adapt to the challenges posed by excessively open public opinion. Excessively critical public opinion will damage popular trust in government and jeopardize government administration. Enemy forces at home and abroad are wreaking havoc in China, and there has been no change in the schemes to Westernize and divide China. Given this situation, if left alone to become excessively open, public opinion will inevitably bring about dire consequences.
. . . .
Why should our media focus on positive propaganda? Because pro-active and positive matters represent what is mainstream in our society, and passive and negative things are the tributaries. Only by insisting on positive propaganda do we truly reflect our society's basic character and show a complete picture. This is our approach to news, and it is an approach that seeks truth from the facts.
. . . .
Without the mainstream media's unrelenting positive propaganda, our society would not be able to preserve its stability.


. . . .
. . . .
西方人常说,媒体属于国家所有,就是权力垄断;在我们看来,私人办媒体,只能是资本垄断、金钱垄断。社会主义国家不会允许新闻媒体私有化,这是与资本主义新闻体制的根本区别。在我们国家,各个政党、人民团体和其他社会组织举办不同的新闻机构,各自联系一定范围的群众,既有分工,又有合作,也有竞争,广泛反映各方面社会舆论,共同为人民服务、为社会主义服务。. . . .党不允许成为某些利益集团的代表,不允许成为少数人的代表,不允许有自己的特殊利益。所以,党管媒体更有利于媒体维护国家和人民利益。
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
现阶段的中国,承受不了舆论失控的后果。. . . . 各级政府机关的管理水平和干部队伍的整体素质还不高,很难适应舆论过度开放带来的挑战,舆论的过度批评会损害政府威信、妨害政府施政;境内外敌对势力搞乱中国、西化分化中国的图谋始终没有改变。在这样的情况下,如果放任舆论环境过度开放,将不可避免地带来严重后果。
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Global Times and Xinhua Report Porn Movie As Video of an Actual US Prison Execution

In July 2013, the Beijing-based Xilu Net (西陆网 - ) web site published a series images from a video under the title "Record of American Female Prisoner Executed by Lethal Injection: Her Corpse is Almost Raped Post Mortem." (美国女囚注射死刑实录:死后差点被奸尸) According to Xilu:
Mike is a medic at an American prison, its exact address cannot be disclosed because it is classified. I'd say he's a doctor, but in fact he's also responsible for additional duties.
Original URL:

On August 1, the Communist Party Youth League's Guang Ming Net (光明网) published the same series of images (with the Xilu watermark) on its web site, this time under the title "Record of Female Prisoner's Execution Shows This World's Darkest Side" (女囚死刑实录 揭世界最黑暗一面)

Original URL:

On August 3, the Global Times (published by the Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily), published the same series of images (with the Xilu watermark as well as a Baidu PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) watermark) on its web site with the same title used by Guang Ming Net.

Original URL:

On August 6, China's official news agency Xinhua and the State Council Information Office's both published the same series of images (again with the Xilu and Baidu PostBar watermarks) on their web sites, again with the same title as Guang Ming Net.

Original URLs:
The State Council Information Office's web site added the following context:
The criminal is a very young woman, and is somewhat South American in appearance. Its said her name is Annie, a drug trafficker. Ah, she couldn't live the good life, but why seek out death, I stick out a hand and look at her coldly, today her sentence will be carried out . . . .
On August 6, the Out of My Face Blog noted:
I have since identified the source of these images on a site specializing in rape themed pornography: 
After Out of My Face reported this, China's state-run media outlets deleted the story and images from their web sites.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

China's Weibos, News Sites, and Search Engines Censor Story About Shanghai Judge's Alleged Corruption

Excerpt from complaint
from 70 of Cui Yadong's
former subordinates.
On August 9, 2013, the state-sponsored China Daily published an article entitled "Shanghai Judges Sacked Over Prostitution Scandal." Some excerpts:
The municipal legislature of Shanghai decided on Thursday to sack four senior judges from the city's higher court over their alleged hiring of prostitutes at a nightclub. 
Chen Xueming, was sacked by the Standing Committee of Shanghai Municipal People's Congress, from his posts as a member of the Shanghai Municipal Higher People's Court's judicial committee, chief of No 1 civil court and judge. 
Zhao Minghua was dismissed from his posts as deputy chief of the No 1 civil court and judge. Ni Zhengwen was fired from his post as judge of the higher court. 
The legislative session also approved the removal of Wang Guojun from his posts as deputy chief of the higher court's No 5 civil court and judge. 
The four had all served the city's higher court. They were placed under official scrutiny after a netizen released video footage that appears to show them soliciting prostitutes at the Hengshan Resort in Shanghai on the night of June 9. 
Investigators found the four, along with a manager at a state-owned company in Shanghai, spent a night in the resort's nightclub where they allegedly hired prostitutes.
. . . .
Cui Yadong, acting president of the municipal higher court, urged that lessons be learned from the scandal and called for "zero tolerance" toward any undiscipline or law violations.
That same day the state-sponsored Guangming Daily quoted Cui as saying:
Right now the Chinese Communist Party is launching an extensive mass line educational campaign to concentrate on and address the "four winds" issue, and for this incident to come out at this time is having a severely negative impact on the what the Party and the government is trying to accomplish. It has also provided an opportunity for foreign enemy forces to attack the Party, the government, the socialist system of justice, and Shanghai's Party cadres.
On August 16, 2013, 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). Here's an excerpt from one of the reports:
Cui Yadong, the Shanghai Higher Court's acting President and Party Secretary who caused an uproar with his talk of "hostile forces" during Shanghai's "Judges Group Whoring," is now the subject of accusations of corruption by 70 subordinates from his time in Guizhou's Public Security Office. The 16 accusations include claims catering to the interests of property developers, building a 1,442 ping villa in the sky, and every year appropriating six tons of Maotai, truly shocking.
These screenshots show that the article had been deleted by the following morning.

Original URLs:
These screenshots were taken on August 17, and show that both Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo were censoring searches for "Cui Yadong."

Sina Weibo was also censoring searches for "Shanghai High Court." (上海高院)

These screenshots show that China's major search engines were censoring searches for "Cui Yadong Reported."
Baidu censors "Cui Yadong Report," but not
"Cui Yadong" or "Report." 

These screenshots show that on August 17 Baidu shut down its Cui Yadong PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) forum and deleted posts associated with the corruption allegations.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

China's Weibos, News Sites Censor Report on Group Suicide Attempt in Beijing

On August 14, 2013, the English web site of the state-sponsored China Radio International published an article entitled "Group Suicidal Attempt Fails in Beijing." Some excerpts:
More than ten people failed in their attempt to commit suicide together by drinking pesticide in Beijing on Tuesday, thanks to the arrival of police and medical personnel.
The incident occurred at about 11 a.m. in a busy street near Beijing West Railway Station.
. . . .
Reporters from Beijing Youth also found that several patients were wearing T-shirts bearing the Harbin Railway Bureau logo.
On August 14, CRI's Chinese language web site also published an article on the matter entitled "A Mass Suicide Takes Place in Beijing, Over Ten People Drink Pesticide and Collapse on the Sidewalk" (北京发生一起群体自杀事件 十余人喝农药倒路边) here - But as these screenshots show, that article was deleted within hours.

The original Chinese language report appeared on the state-sponsored Beijing Youth web site here - on the morning of August 14. As these screenshots show, it was also deleted the same day.
The story was also deleted from other web sites where it was reposted:

These screenshots, taken on August 14, show that Sina Weibo was censoring "Suicide Pesticide," but not "Suicide" or "Pesticide."

These screenshots, taken on August 14, show that Sina Weibo was censoring "A Mass Suicide Takes Place in Beijing," but not "A Mass Takes Place in Beijing" or "A Mass Suicide Takes Place."
The story can still be found at the following links:

Caijing also has photos from the hospital available here -