Monday, June 30, 2014

State Media Details Detention of 17 Sina Internet Editors in Police Raid

On May 29, 2014, the state sponsored Southern Weekend published an article entitled “Why Are We  Screening You?” (“为什么要屏蔽你?”) Some excerpts:
After working hard all day, Wu Feng, an editor in Sina's online book division, had finally finished all his tasks, and checked the time. It was already 7:30 pm.

The day was April 11, 2014. On a normal day the office would have long since emptied out. But this was not a normal day, and Wu Feng's 16 coworkers were still immersed in their work. Early that morning the editorial department had "received information": a new round of "sweeping out porn and attacking illegal publications" had begun, and every employee had to stay to delete the "little yellow books" on the Book Channel. They had to "hide the bodies and destroy the evidence" before the relevant organs conducted an inspection.

Wu Feng had planned to head home, but at the last minute didn't leave. His colleagues saw him as a "old hand," and he felt he should wait patiently and leave with the other editors. It wouldn't hurt to wait for a bit.

But just ten minutes later he would regret this decision. At 7:40, law enforcement personnel forced their way into the office without warning, and took away 17 editors as the first move in the campaign.

Friends and relatives quickly noticed that the editors had "disappeared," and they called Sina's editorial department, where they all received an identical response: "The 17 editors have gone abroad on business."

Wu Feng's 10 minute delay turned into a one month "trip abroad." His "return home" was relatively quick. At the time of this report, six of the seventeen editors remained in custody.

The riddle of the "disappearance" was only solved on April 16. On that day, Sina Books and Sina Video (Beijing Sina Internet Information Service Company) each received a "Beijing Culture Market Administrative Enforcement Hearing Notice" from the Beijing Culture Market Administrative Enforcement Unit. The Notice stated the "intent to revoke" the "Internet Publishing License" and "Internet Audio-Visual Transmission License" and impose sanctions.

Revocation of these two "Licenses" is one of the most severe attacks a website can suffer.
. . . .
Human screening requires speed. For a screener "speed reading is a basic skill." So-called speed reading means taking no more than 15 seconds to read 1,000 words. Based on this speed, during a sensitive time a screener must work at least 11-12 hours a day. As [one screener] told the Souther Weekend, "No matter how much you like to read novels, reading 3,000,000 words in one day is enough to make you want to puke."
. . . .
Despite all this, after the "great cleansing" began, even the most professional screeners were still faced with a new problem: during this time, what is the standard? Where is the scale?

No one could provide an answer. The only thing to do was for each website to "expand the vocabulary" of the dictionary of banned terms that they had been using.
. . . .
In order comply with the censorship, websites often remain on standby awaiting orders 24 hours a day. Once, the Internet police sent an order to a certain literary website at 7:50 am, informing them they had half an hour to delete all discussion regarding a certain word.

By the time the editors arrived at the office, it was already 9:30. The editors couldn't believe their eyes: by that time the second warning had long since arrived.
The editors scurried to delete what they were supposed to, but they were too late. The website was ordered to shut down for 12 hours. After that, this literary website, which had nothing to do with news, immediately set up a system of round-the-clock rotating editors in order to ensure there was someone on duty 24 hours a day.

忙了一整天,新浪读书编辑吴峰终于干完了自己手上的活,看看时间,已是19:30。

这天是2014年4月11日。按往常,办公室里早就没了人影。可这天不一样,吴峰的16位同事还在埋头苦干——一大早,编辑部就“收到消息”:新一轮“扫黄打非”要开始了,所有工作人员都要留下来删查读书频道里的“小黄书”。在有关部门检查之前,必须“毁尸灭迹”。

吴峰本打算回家,但他最终还是没有动。作为大伙儿眼里的“老好人”,他觉得自己应该耐心等待其他编辑下班一起走,哪怕再等到一个也好。

但十分钟后,他就为自己的这个决定后悔了。19:40,公安执法人员毫无预兆地破门而入,带走了“顶风作案”的17个编辑。

亲友们很快发现编辑们“不见了”,他们打电话到新浪总部,收到的统一回复是:“17个编辑集体出国出差了。”

吴峰迟走了十分钟,于是“出国”了一个多月。他算“回家”快的。截至南方周末记者发稿前,17名编辑中还有6位仍处于拘留状态。

“失踪”之谜到4月16日才真正解开。这天,新浪读书和新浪视频(北京新浪互联信息服务有限公司)分别收到了来自北京市文化市场行政执法总队下发的《北京市文化市场行政执法听证告知书》,内容是“拟吊销”其《互联网出版许可证》和《信息网络传播视听节目许可证》,并处以罚款。

吊销两个“许可证”是对网站最为严厉的打击之一。
. . . .
人工排查需要速度。对审读编辑来说,“速读是基本功”——所谓速读,是阅读千字至少不能低于15秒。按照这个速度,审读员在敏感时期每天至少要工作十一二个小时,“再喜欢看小说,一天看300万字,也会想吐。”华雪城对南方周末记者说。
. . . .
即便如此,“大清查”开始后,专业素质过硬的审读编辑们还是遇到了新难题:这一回,标准是什么?尺度在哪儿?

没人能回答。各网站只好在以往的违禁词标准上,“扩大词汇量”。
. . . .
为配合审查,网站常常得24小时待命。曾经有一次,网监在早晨7:50时发信警告某文学网,通知他们半小时内必须删掉所有关于某个词的违禁讨论。

可等编辑们到了办公室,已经是早上9:30。编辑们傻了眼:此时,第二封警告信也早就到了。

编辑们七手八脚把该删的删了,但还是超时太多。网站被勒令关闭12个小时。在这之后,这个不涉及新闻的文学网立即增设了值班编辑轮岗制度,保证24小时有人在岗。

Translation: Huang Xuqin and Wang Jianbing Inciting Subversion Indictment

On June 14, 2024, the Twitter account "Free Huang Xueqin & Wang Jianbing 释放雪饼" (@FreeXueBing)  posted a copy of the last two p...