Monday, February 17, 2014

Global Times Says Dissidents "Naïve," Lots of Voices Criticize "Firewall." Meanwhile Baidu Censors Searches, Bans Forums on "National Firewall"

On February 17, 2014, the state-sponsored Global Times published editorials in English and Chinese entitled “Counting on US for Freedom is Naïve” (向美国务卿“要自由”,好萌的表演). Some excerpts from the English version:
US Secretary of State John Kerry met with four Chinese journalists and bloggers Saturday to discuss Internet freedom before concluding his Beijing trip. Some participants asked the US government to put more pressure on China to ease restrictions on Internet use and to help "tear down the great Internet firewall." They also urged the White House to support "Chinese who aspire for freedom" including activists Liu Xiaobo and Xu Zhiyong.
. . . .
China's mainstream society must keep vigilant against the concerted effort by dissidents and the Western world, the development of which is completely uncertain.
. . . .
It is difficult to garner a clear picture of the overall architecture of our era and most online activists in China could only calculate on short-term interests within a restricted structure, which is a rather helpless reality. A sober mind in politics is in dire need to help bring forth positive energy in China's progress and avoid slipping into negative energy, the top priority of which lies in adhering to patriotism and promoting public interests.
From the Chinese version:
None of these “sensitive topics” is novel on China’s Internet. When it comes to firewalls, Liu Xiaobo, and Xu Zhiyong, there is no lack of critical voices "crying out for justice."
. . . .
The terms "freedom," "democracy," and "rule of law" are already part of the 24 term formulation of the core principles of Chinese socialism.
These screenshots were taken on February 17, and show that, not only does Baidu restrict search results for “national firewall” (国家防火墙) to a white list of about a dozen web sites directly operated by the central government and the Communist Party, a search for that term restricted to the Global Times' web site returns no results, just a censorship notice.

These screenshots were also taken on February 17, and show that Baidu does not allow users to establish PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) forums on “Liu Xiaobo,” “Xu Zhiyong,” “Freedom,”  “Democracy,” or “Patriotism.” Users are told that forums on these topics cannot be set up “in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies.”

Baidu has allowed users to establish forums on “Rule of Law” and “Public Interest.”