Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Baidu and Sina Begin Censoring Searches for "Xiao Gang Step Down"

On July 2, 2015, the state sponsored China Daily published an article entitled “Fee Cut and Margin Trading Relaxed to Save the Market.” Some excerpts:
China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) announced a string of supportive policies, including a 30-percent transaction fee cut and relaxation on margin trading rules, as fears grow for a market plunge.
The amended rules on margin trading, whose draft were scheduled to be on public consultation till July 11, were released on Wednesday evening "in haste for special circumstances", said the securities watchdog on its official microblog weibo.
Market volatility has increased over the past two weeks as investors diverge on whether A-share's year-long bull was peaked.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index sank 5.2 percent to close at 4,053.7 on Wednesday, following its biggest swing since 1992 of 432 points.
. . . .
Xiao Gang, chairman of the CSRC, signed off the revised rules on Wednesday, which are effective immediately.
These screenshots show that on the evening July 6, 2015, Baidu began censoring search results for “Xiao Gang Step Down” (肖钢 下台). Although for some reason it also indicated it was able locate an additional 1/2 million search results.

The most obvious impact of the censorship was the disappearance of the section entitled “Most Recent Weibo Results” (最新微博结果).

These screenshots show that at around the same time, Sina Weibo began censoring search results for “Xiao Gang Step Down.” Although it did not display a censorship notice, the censorship was obvious as it no longer displayed any users' posts (as it had the previous day), and instead was restricting search results to “Related Articles.”