Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Baidu and Sina Censor References to "King Zhao" and "The Zhao Family"

On December 30, 2015, the state sponsored The Paper published an article entitled “Army Paper Provides Detailed Explanation of Xi Jinping’s Keyboard that Posted the Weibo: A Custom R&D Platform That Can Post Using a Mouse and Keyboard” (军报详解习近平键盘发微博:自主研发平台,鼠标回车键都可发).  That article cited a Weibo post on the People Liberation Army’s verified Sina Weibo account that showed what it claimed to be the computer Xi used, which had both a keyboard and mouse when Xi was not at the computer, but no mouse when Xi was at the computer.

 These screenshots show that December 30, 2015, Sina Weibo began censoring search results for “King Zhao’s Return” (赵王回车).

According to a response to the question “What is the meaning of the Current Event King Zhao’s Return?” (政治时事赵王回车是什么意思) posted on Baidu Knowledge (a Q&A product):
A few days ago the King of Zhao was on an inspection tour, and he pressed the return key, making a post on Weibo, and this became headlines in all the mainstream media.
If you can’t use the return key to post on Weibo, its because you are not a member of the family Zhao. 
 Both the question and the answer were subsequently deleted.

On December 21, 2015, a user named “yingwenlee” posted an article on Baidu’s Encyclopedia (Baike 百科) entitled “The Zhao Family” (赵家人). Some excerpts:
The original form of "Zhao Family" was Grandpa Zhao as penned by Lu Xun, symbolizing the upper classes, which in reality was a general reference to bureaucrats, the rich and powerfull, well-placed cadres and their families and children.
. . . .
Some Internet users have analyzed this saying that China's capitalist market is a four-tiered structure: households, bankers, tycoons, and the Zhao Family.
. . . .
Behind every tycoon there is a boss, and these ultimate bosses that are bigger than the tycoons are commonly referred to "members of the Zhao family."
. . . .
On December 19, 2015, an essay entitled "Distinctly Terrifying Thoughts on the Vanke Baoneng Dispute: Barbarians at the Gate, Family Zhao Behind the Curtain" received over 100,000+ hits, and turned the focus of conversation to the "members of the Zhao family."
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
These screenshots show that on the evening of January 4 a user named “huore520” deleted the section of the article discussing the Vanke/Baoneng article and removed all discussion of class, tycoons, and bosses. When huore520 was through editing, the article contained only references to the original Lu Xun text.

This screenshot was taken on January 4, and shows Baidu was censoring search results for “Zhao Family” (赵家人).