Monday, February 22, 2016

Hours After CSRC Head Xiao Gang Steps Down, Baidu Stops Censoring "Xiao Gang Steps Down"

On January 19, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “CSRC Denies Reuters Report of Chairman’s Resignation.” Some excerpts:
The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has called on Reuters to make a correction following its report claiming that CSRC Chairman Xiao Gang had offered to resign, saying the Reuters report was "inconsistent with the facts."
. . . .
Reuters on Monday quoted anonymous sources as saying that Xiao had offered to resign after "perceived mismanagement wiped more than $5 trillion off the value of the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets since they peaked last June."
At 10:41 am on February 20, 2016, the Global Times published an article entitled “Liu Shiyu Replaces Xiao Gang as Head of China's Securities Watchdog.” Some excerpts:
China's State Council has decided to replace Xiao Gang with Liu Shiyu as the new chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Saturday.
The same day the Global Times published an editorial entitled “New CSRC Chief Must Provide Stock Market with a Sound Direction.” Some excerpts:
Speculation that Xiao would leave the post has been circulated online for months. Reuters even reported Xiao’s resignation last month, but the news was denied. Amid the steep plunge in the stock market, voices requesting Xiao’s removal were frequently heard in the Internet.

Authorities gave no detailed explanation regarding Xiao being removed. Public opinion cannot define the nature of Xiao’s dismissal immediately, for example, whether he is held accountable or change to another post, or is it because of age limit.
These screenshots show that on the evening July 6, 2015, Baidu began censoring search results for “Xiao Gang Step Down” (肖钢 下台).

For more on this see “Baidu and Sina Begin Censoring Searches for "Xiao Gang Step Down"

These screenshots show that, within hours of the Global Times publishing the announcement that Xiao Gang would be removed, Baidu stopped censoring search results for “Xiao Gang” (肖钢). One obvious impact was that Sina Weibo results began appearing on the first page of Baidu’s search results.

These screenshots show that at 10:00 am a search on Baidu for “Xiao Gang Step Down” restricted to web pages on the Sina blogging domain returned no results. The same search a few hours later returned pages of results.