Wednesday, October 30, 2013

China's Web Sites Delete Posts, Censor Searches Tying Tiananmen Car Crash to Xinjiang and Terrorism

On October 29, 2013, the state sponsored Southern Group published an article on its web site entitled "Beijing Police Issue APB In Connection With Jeep That Crashed Into Tiananmen's Jinshui Bridge" (北京警方就吉普车冲撞天安门金水桥事件发出摸排通知). Some excerpts:
Image of Police Notice
Following an incident in Beijing where a Jeep crashed into Tiananmen's Jinshui Bridge, on October 29 authorities rapidly dealt with the matter and on the 29th issued a bulletin asking the public to provide information on two Uighurs.
. . . .
Hotel employees received a document from Beijing's public security unit entitled "Notice Regarding the Immediate Launch of Search for Illegal Vehicles," which noted that a major incident had occured in Beijing, and asking for information regarding two Uighurs, saying they were residents of Shanshan county and Pi Shan county in Xinjiang, and the suspect cars were light colored SUVs, and that four of the vehicles had Xinjiang license plates.
The notice stated that, in order to assist the ongoing investigation of these people and vehicles, hotels should undertake a search of records since October 1 of their guest, car park, and visitor parking registrations, and if any of the suspects or vehicles were discovered they should be immediately reported to the police. 
. . . .
On October 30, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled "Delink the Square from Country’s Security Concern." Some excerpts:
A jeep plowed into crowds in Beijing's Tiananmen Square at noon on Monday, killing five people and injuring 38. The crash set the vehicle aflame and killed its three occupants. The other two were tourists.
. . . .
Some have assumed that it was a terrorist strike but the possibility did not ignite tension in society.
Public opinion now awaits the authoritative conclusion of the official enquiry.
. . . .
The Square is a symbol of people's faith in China's stability and development.
This screenshot was taken on October 30, and shows that Baidu has banned users from setting up a forum on its PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) product to discuss Tiananmen. 
These screenshots were taken the same day, and show that Sina Weibo had begun censoring searches for "Tiananmen Xinjiang" (天安门 新疆), and was deleting posts containing statements such as "Tiananmen Uighur Status Exposed" (天安门维族人身份曝光).

These screenshots were taken the same day and show that major search engines and social networks in China were censoring "Tiananmen Terror" (天安门 恐怖). 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Car Crashes, Burns in Tiananmen Square, Sina and Baidu Censor Searches Relating to Incident

On the afternoon of October 28, 2013, China's official news agency Xinhua published an article entitled "Three Die After Car Crash at Tian'anmen." Some excerpts:
A driver and two passengers were killed after a jeep crashed into a crowd of people and caught fire in front of the Tian'anmen rostrum in downtown Beijing on Monday, police said. 
Eleven tourists and police officers were also injured by the jeep, which crashed into a guardrail of Jinshui Bridge on the moat of the Forbidden City before bursting into flames at 12:05 p.m., according to municipal police and Beijing Emergency Medical Center.
Several state sponsored media outlets published a Chinese language report entitled "Car Catches on Fire and Spread Thick Smoke" (天安门前一车辆着火冒出浓烟).

These screenshots show the report was deleted from the web site.

Original URL:

Where reports were not deleted entirely, they were sometimes revised to remove images, as shown in these screenshots from the state sponsored Caixin Magazine, which updated its report at this URL - - with additional information, but removed two images.

Within hours Sina Weibo began censoring "Tiananmen Catches on Fire" (天安门 着火).
 These screenshots show that, within hours, Baidu also began censoring "Tiananmen Suicide" (天安门 自杀) and "Tiananmen Explosion" (天安门 爆炸).

Other terms that were censored on Sina Weibo included:
  • Tiananmen (天安门) + Car Accident (车祸)
  • Tiananmen (天安门) + Explosion (爆炸)
  • Tiananmen (天安门) + Catch Fire (起火)
  • Tiananmen (天安门) + Surprise Attack (袭击)
These screenshots show that both Baidu and Sina Weibo were censoring searches for "Tiananmen Terror" (天安门 恐怖).
Sina Weibo also deleted individual posts that contained images of the incident, as shown in these screenshots.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bloomberg Interviews Baidu CEO, Baidu Continues to Censor Searches for Bloomberg's Web Site

On October 25, 2013, Emily Chang tweeted:
Just did a wide-ranging interview with Baidu CEO Robin Li who says he watches @BloombergWest in China every day!
This screenshot was taken on October 25, and shows that a search for Bloomberg's web site on Baidu returned no results.

On the afternoon of June 29, 2012, Bloomberg's Businessweek published an article entitled "Xi Jinping Millionaire Relations Reveal Fortunes of Elite."

Within hours of that article's publication China's web sites began censoring Bloomberg. For details see:

This screenshot was taken on October 25, 2013, and shows that a search for the title of that article on Baidu still returns no results, just a censorship notice.
All of China's major search engines also continue to censor searches for Bloomberg's web site and the title of that article.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

China Submits Human Rights Report to UN, Baidu Bans Forums on "Human Rights," "Freedom," and "Speech"

On October 24, 2013, the state sponsored China Central Television published an article on its web site entitled "China Undergoes Second UN Human Rights Review." Some excerpts:
"Our whole country is now trying to realize the Chinese Dream. It is a dream in which the Chinese people pursue and enjoy a happy life. It is also a dream of human rights. With the realization of the Chinese dream, the human rights cause in China will witness even greater achievements." Wu Hailong, special envoy of Chinese Foreign Ministry, said. 
Meanwhile, some western countries have accused China of what they called mass detentions, curbing Internet freedom and suppressing ethnic minorities. 
In response, China said it was willing to work with other countries on human rights but firmly opposed those kinds of biased and malicious criticisms.
These screenshots were taken on October 23, and show that Baidu had banned users from setting up forums on its PostBar (贴吧 Tieba) to discuss human rights (人权), rights defense (维权), freedom (自由), speech (言论), and religion (宗教). Users searching for forums on these topics are told "Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, this Bar cannot be opened at this time" (抱歉,根据相关法律法规和政策,本吧暂不开放。).

These screenshots were taken on October 24, and show that a search on Baidu for "Chinese Dream" (中国梦) returns a search results set off by special graphics, and users have been allowed to set up a "China Dream" PostBar.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Baidu And Qihoo Relax Censorship of "Xi Mingze" - Name of President Xi Jinping's Daughter

On December 24, 2012, China's official news agency Xinhua published an article from Xinhua entitled "Xi Photos Show Growth, Career, Family." Some excerpts:
A picture taken in August 1987 shows Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan posing in front of a temple on Dongshan Island in Fujian.
Peng, a celebrated soprano, has described her husband as a "responsible" husband and father.
She said Xi likes swimming and mountain climbing, and sometimes stays up late to watch televised sports games.
The couple have a daughter named Xi Mingze, whom they hope will live an honest life and make a contribution to society.
A young Mingze, in one of the photos, is taken by her joyous father on the back seat of a bicycle when Xi worked in Fuzhou, capital of Fujian.
These screenshots show that, at some time between late June and mid August, 2013, Baidu stopped completely censoring search results for "Xi Mingze" (习明泽), and is instead only restricting search results to a broad white list of web sites based in China.

This screenshot shows that adding other terms to the search (in this case, by restricting results to wikipedia) yields apparently uncensored results.

However, as these screenshots show, Baidu continues ban discussion and questions regarding Xi Mingze on its PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) and Knowledge (Zhidao 知道) forums.

These screenshots show that after Baidu relaxed its censorship of Xi Mingze, Qihoo followed suit.

Sina Weibo, and Tencent Weibo continue to completely censor searches for "Xi Mingze."

These screenshots show that other search engines in China such as Sogou, Tencent's Soso, and, restrict search results either to a broad white list like Baidu, or a narrow white list comprised of about a dozen web sites operated by the central government and the Communist Party.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cartoonist Wang Liming Detained for Rumor About Yuyao, Sina Weibo Censors Searches for "Rebel Pepper"

Beijing Times Article
On October 18, 2013, the state sponsored Beijing Times published an article entitled "Cartoonist 'Rebel Pepper' Police Summons Supposedly Related to His Reposting Information on Yuyao Infant Starving to Death - Left Police Station After 7 PM Yesterday" (漫画家“变态辣椒”被北京警方传唤疑和传播余姚婴儿被饿死有关 昨晚7点多离开派出所). Some excerpts:
Shortly after 11 pm night-before-last, cartoonist Wang Liming (known online as "Rebel Pepper") was summoned by police from his home to appear at the Jiangtai Police Station in Chaoyang District. After almost 24 hours of inquiry police confirmed that his Weibo post regarding Yuyao floods were factually false but without malice, and allowed him to leave after 7 pm last night.
. . . .
Based on inquiries by the Beijing Times, the Weibo in question that Rebel Pepper posted at 12:12 am on the morning of the 13th has already been deleted, and at 12:30 pm on the 14th the Yuyao Communist Party Propaganda Department posted a notice on its official Tencent Weibo saying "Following an investigation, the contents of Rebel Pepper's Weibo are completely false," "It is hoped that Internet users will be able to view this disaster from a rational and objective perspective, and not believe or spread rumors."
. . . .
Wang Lingming said that during their questioning police asked him how he posted the Weibo, examined the cell phone he used to make the post. Last night at 6:30 the police took Wang Liming to an interrogation room, and once against questioned him regarding the specifics of the matter. Wang Liming said that the police told him that their investigation indicated that, while the content of his post was false, it was not made with subjective malice, "its just there were social responsibilities." Afterwards, the police undertook to revoke Wang's summons. At around 7:30 pm last night Wang Liming left the police station, and exclaimed: "It feels really good to get my freedom back." 
. . . .
. . . .  
These screenshots show that Sina Weibo began censoring searches for "Rebel Pepper" shortly after he was detained.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Demonstrations Reported in Yuyao, Baidu and Sina Weibo Begin Censoring "Yuyao Demonstrations"

Images From Deleted Sina Weibo Post
On October 16, 2013, the state sponsored Global Times published an English language article entitled "Official Calls for Restraint in Yuyao." Some excepts:
Cai Qi, head of the Organization Department of the Communist Party of China Zhejiang Provincial Committee, called for residents in Yuyao to restrain from radical acts on his Tencent Weibo account Tuesday, saying that local government officials have been trying their best in disaster relief. 
Many residents in Yuyao also called for rational reflection on the city's disaster warning and emergency response system instead of blind protest on Tuesday, while thousands of people gathered to criticize the government's ineffectiveness in the disaster relief work following Typhoon Fitow brought severe flood to the city. 
The rally, organized by some residents through Weibo, text messages and WeChat, began early Tuesday morning in front of the city's government building.
These screenshots show that at some time on Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning (October 15-16), Baidu and Sina Weibo began censoring searches for "Yu Yao Demonstrations" (余姚 示威).

These screenshots were taken on October 16, and show that the same search on Tencent Weibo returns no results, and Sogou and Qihoo are also censoring searches for those terms.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Former Premier's Daughter Li Xiaolin Denies Corruption Claims, China's Web Sites Censor Searches for Her Name

Li Xiaolin's Denial Posted on
China Power's Sina Weibo
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). Some excerpts:
Li Xiaolin was born in 1961, and received a Masters degree in power system and automation from Tsinghua University in 1988, and was a visiting scholar at the Sloan Business School of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States. In 2008 she became Chairperson of China Power.
. . . .
According to overseas media, China Power International Chairperson Li Xiaolin was involved with a transaction getting foreign investment into China's insurance industry. On the evening of October 11 China Power posted an announcement on its official Sina Weibo stating that Li Xiaolin had never had any engagement with any insurance company, and the rumors posted online regarding suspected insurance transactions were malicious and base defamation. 
. . . .
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, 2013 and show that Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, and Baidu's PostBar (贴吧 Tieba), were censoring searches for "Li Xiaolin" (李小琳).

These screenshots were taken on October 14, and show that, while a search for "Li Xiaolin" on Baidu's Knowledge (知道 Zhidao a Q&A product) returns no results, and a Baidu search for "Li Xiaolin" returns a censorship notice, the same search on Soso indicates Baidu in fact has hundreds of questions containing her name.

These screenshots show that Qihoo, Sogou, and were all censoring searches for "Li Xiaolin."