Sunday, April 5, 2015

China’s Search Engines, News Websites Censor Images About Mass Suicide Attempt in Beijing

At around noon on April 4, 2015, state sponsored news websites such as the China Daily published a report entitled “Dozens of People Lie Down in Beijing’s Wangfujing Pedestrian Mall, Cause Unknown” (北京王府井步行街10余人躺地 原因不明).

At 1:30 pm on April 4 the Beijing police published an announcement regarding the incident on its official Sina Weibo.

According to an English language report published on the website of the state sponsored China Radio International:
More than 30 taxi drivers from Suifenhe in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province staged a protest in Beijing's main pedestrian street in Wangfujing on Saturday, appealing for the right to renew their taxi licenses.
. . . .
The individuals are reported to have drunk the pesticide. But the police intervened on time and sent the individuals to a hospital. They are all reported to be in a stable condition.
These screenshots show that the China Daily report (which included images of the incident)was deleted within hours after the official police announcement (which did not).

Original URL:

These screenshots show that Tencent revised its initial report on the incident to remove photographs taken at the scene and substitute a video report from China's state run media.

These screenshots were taken shortly after the police announcement was published, and show that two of China’s search engines - Baidu and Qihoo - were censoring search results for the phrase “Dozens Lie Down on Wangfujing Pedestrian Mall.” (王府井步行街10余人躺地)

These screenshots show that Sina Weibo was curating its results for "Wangfujing Suicide" (王府井 自杀).

Previous examples of censorship of mass suicide attempts: