Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Baidu and News Websites Censor Information About Protest at CCTV Building

On December 14, 2015, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “Investors Protest in Beijing after Ezubao Halts Operations.” Some excerpts:
Protesters who claimed to be investors of online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform Ezubao assembled in front of the Beijing headquarters of State broadcaster China Central Television on Monday morning, but they were soon held by the police and have no way to follow up with the company, investors said.

Some protesters said they were trying to safeguard their rights, after Ezubao was reportedly involved in an investigation by the police authorities, according to a video sent by an investor based in North China's Tianjin to the Global Times Monday.

She asked to remain anonymous because of the sensitivity of the issue, and she said her family had invested about 600,000 yuan ($92,880) in total in the P2P service provider.

Ezubao is an online platform launched by Yucheng Group, based in East China's Anhui Province, which primarily focuses on finance and leasing solutions, according to the website of the group.

The platform has halted its online operations and marketing activities to cooperate with the authorities in an investigation, according to an announcement posted on the its official Sina Weibo account on December 8. Ezubao's website has been inaccessible since then.
As these screenshots show, the article was subsequently deleted.

Original URL:

On December 16, 2015, the state sponsored Shanghai Daily published an article entitled “What Seems Too Good to be True Usually Is.” Some excerpts:
FEBRUARY 2, 2014: Jinyirong (Beijing) Internet Technology Co, a subsidiary of Anhui Yucheng Group Co, is established to operate Ezubao.
June, 2014: Rong360, an online tracker of the peer-to-peer lending industry, gives Ezubao a “C-minus“ rating and warns investors about risks related to the vagueness of its stated business model description and possible illegitimate money pooling.
June 21, 2014: Ezubao defends itself in an announcement, saying there is no evidence to support Rong360’s assessment.
December 3, 2015: Rumors circulate that about 40 Ezubao staff in Shenzhen are under investigation by police.
December 4, 2015: Ezubao denies the rumors and accuses critics of scare-mongering.
December 8, 2015: Ezubao shuts down its website and dismisses staff, saying it will cooperate with a police investigation.
December 12, 2015: Xinhua news agency reports that police authorities are accusing Ezubao of illegal practices.
December 14, 2015: Protesters who claim to be investors of Ezubao assemble in front of the Beijing headquarters of CCTV, accusing the state broadcaster of misleading the public by airing Ezubao ads.
As these screenshots show, the article was subsequently deleted.

Original URL:

As these screenshots taken on December 20, 2015 show, Baidu was censoring search results for “eZubao China Central Television Building” (e租宝 央视大楼), but not for “eZubao China Central Television” (e租宝 央视).