Saturday, August 2, 2014

Baidu Relaxes Censorship of "Bo Xilai Zhou Yongkang" - After State Media Begins Writing About Their Connection

On July 30, 2014, the state-sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled “Zhou Case Shows Firm Anti-Graft Resolve” (周永康有负党和国家,更愧于人民). Some excerpts:
The CPC Central Committee announced on Tuesday that Zhou Yongkang, former member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and former secretary of the Political and Legislative Affairs Committee of the CPC Central Committee, had been put under investigation.

This announcement was embraced with applause from the public, but without surprise. This was because there have been several publicized cases of corruption in which his relatives and underlings were involved, all of which pointed to Zhou. Public opinion already presumed that Zhou was the big tiger behind the scenes, and the announcement is the first official response to such presumptions.
. . . .
Zhou's case still deserves to receive a lot of attention as follow-up details are revealed. Chinese judicial organs showed a certain transparency to the public when they dealt with Bo Xilai's case, and we hope they can improve this in regard to Zhou's case. Western public opinion tends to distort China's anti-corruption progress, and timely revelations and a trial exactly according to the law are the best responses.

Zhou's investigation shows the gravity of corruption in Chinese society, but more importantly, it reveals the zero tolerance stance of the Chinese leadership toward corruption. This requires a joint effort by both the central government and society, coming up with a new consensus to fight corruption.


. . . .
On July 31, 2014, the People’s Daily posted a series of images on its website under the titled “The Mysterious Oil Barons Behind Zhou Yongkang” (周永康背后的石油系神秘富豪). The images, which it had copied from the Hexun website, included the one below, which had a row stating
“Clique: Petrochemical System, close ties with Jiang Zemin and BoXilai”

The People’s Daily subsequently deleted the series (original URL here -, but it remains available on Hexun here:

These screenshots show that when a user searched for “Bo Xilai Zhou Yongkang” on July 31, Baidu told the user that it had ten pages of results, but in fact only provided 2 pages, with a total of seven results.
These screenshots show that when a user did the same search the following day, Baidu was able to locate hundreds of thousands of results.

Below is an example of the new search results Baidu began displaying on August 1: a series of photos from headed “Informative Images: Zhou Yongkang and Bo Xilai.”

These screenshots show how Baidu’s News search results for “Bo Xilai Zhou Yongkang” changed between July 29 and August 2.