Sunday, April 19, 2015

Baidu and Sina Weibo Begin Censoring Search Results for "Gao Yu"

On the morning of April 17, 2015, the Beijing Third Intermediate Court (北京市第三中级人民法院) published the following announcement on its official Sina Weibo:
"Today Sentence Was Announced in the Case of Gao Yu Illegally Supplying State Secrets Overseas" On April 17, the Beijing Third Intermediate Court publicly announced the sentence in the case of Gao Yu illegally supplying state secrets abroad. This court held that Gao Yu violated national laws and regulations by illegally providing state secrets to foreign personnel, that her actions constituted the crime of illegally supplying state secrets abroad, and sentenced the defendant Gao Yu to seven years imprisonment and one year of deprivation of political rights.
According to the court judgment, the state secret in question was the "Communist Party Central Committee Working Office [2013] Number 9 Document" (中办发[2013]9号文件), the title of which is the "Circular Regarding the Status of the Current Ideological Realm" (关于当前意识形态领域情况的通报).

In early May, 2013, several government sponsored web sites published reports about the issuance of Document No. 9. For example, on May 10, 2013, the state-sponsored Liaoyuan Daily (辽源日报)published an article on its front page entitled "City Party Organization Department Moves Quickly to Implement the Spirit of the 'Circular Regarding the Status of the Current Ideological Realm' and the 'Jilin: Innovate and Navigate for Rapid Development' Notices" (市委组织部迅速贯彻落实《关于当前意识形态领域情况的通报》及《吉林:创新领航催振兴》通讯精神). 

According to the court judgment, Gao Yu received a copy of Document No. 9 in June, 2013 from Yao Jianfu (姚监复), who obtained a copy based on his position as a retiree from the Ministry of Agriculture. According to the judgment Gao Yu provided a copy of the document to Mingjing (明镜) founder Ho Pin (何频), and that the text of the document was published in the online edition of Mingjing on August 19, 2013.

Gao Yu was detained on April 24, 2014.

After the verdict was announced, the state sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled "Sentence About State Secrets, Not Freedom of Speech" (泄国家机密判7年与“言论自由”无关). Some excerpts: 
A few Chinese citizens would like to rely on Western forces. They falsely believe the Western support may exempt them from taking responsibility for crimes they have committed. Such thoughts are naïve, and, in a country whose authorities are pushing rule of law, increasingly dangerous.  
A lesson for Gao: The West is not something to be relied upon. Chinese citizens have to follow China's laws. When it comes to national interests, people should not be fooled by the so-called universal values. 
These screenshots show that, shortly after Gao Yu's verdict was announced, Baidu and Sina Weibo began censoring search results for "Gao Yu."