A Chronology of Actor Sun Haiying's Ban From China's Social Media

Actor Sun Haiying's Weibo shortly before it was shuttered.
December 14, 2014,  Red Flag Manuscript published an article by Li Yanyan (李艳艳 - whom it
identified as "with the Humanities division of Beijing Union University" - 北京联合大学) entitled "Some Tendencies That Must Be Addressed In Order to Safeguard Weibo's Ideological Security" ( 维护微博意识形态安全必须纠正的几种倾向). Some excerpts:
1. Guard Against Deception by Western Ideology Bundled Within "Universal Values" on Weibo
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Analysis of data on public sentiment research shows that some Big V's on Weibo lack an appreciation of the importance of the threat represented by the infiltration of the ideology of Western developed countries. Some even rely on foreign forces, blindly echoing them, and publicly insult leaders of the Chinese Communist Party and the Socialist system on their Weibo, repeatedly throwing up provocative topics to attack the government and incite social antagonism.

A certain famous economist who had over 2,000,000 followers not only greatly admires Western "liberalism," but even publicly declared that Communism was "a dead end."

Another famous actor with over 2,600,000 followers expressed doubts about whether "without the Communist Party there would be no new China," which is basic common sense, and publicly declared "without anyone there would still be a China."
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There are many struggles over Weibo ideology debates that implicate certain basic and fundamental questions of right and wrong. On March 28, 2014, the Weibo post of a certain famous economist was viewed over 4,000,000 times, and the statement in the Weibo that "A century ago Communism swept the globe, and how many young people had their blood spilled for it. But a century of practice has shown that this road is a dead end" received 15,000 reposts with various appraisals.

On September 4, 2014, a famous property magnate with over 20,000,000 followers made a Weibo post where he directly attacked Marxism for "brainwashing" the masses.
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Ideological and political work represents the future and destiny of the Party and the State. However, today there continues to be a flood of speech on Weibo attacking and denigrating the Party's leaders and the Socialist system. Some websites have failed to implement effective oversight. For example, Sina Weibo's reporting system includes seven items: "Spam, Obscenity, False Information, Sensitive Information, Plagiarism, Harassment, Fraudulent Contests," but it does not have an item relating to politics.
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Agencies responsible for propaganda and ideology especially need to strengthen their contacts with Weibo Big Vs, and do a good job of educating and guiding them, and as far as possible rally them around the Party and the government.
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The privatization of Weibo operating platforms may represent a significant threat to the ideology security of the State. According to statistics from April 2014, the shareholding structure of Sina Weibo, with 129,000,000 active registered users, was 59,8 held by Sina's special shares held by private companies and foreign investors, and 32% held by Alibaba, which has foreign shareholders. It has already listed on the US NASDAQ. The developments in the Weibo platform are a warning to us, that we must vigorously develop state-owned Weibo operating enterprises, and thereby enable the Party's ideology propaganda work to derive power from the developement of our Weibo platform.

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December 16, 2014, the Global Times published an editorial entitled “Public Opinion Divisions Reflected in Party Media.” Some excerpts:
In one of its recent articles, Hongqi Wen'gao, or Red Flag Manuscript, a political periodical, singled out for criticism some big Vs, which refers to verified Weibo users who have more than 500,000 followers. It poured scorn on "a renowned economist," "a famous actor," and "a real estate tycoon who has over 20 million followers," accusing them of slandering the Party's leadership. The article stirred up public opinion, and it was inferred by some Net users that the anonymous targets of criticism by the journal are respectively Mao Yushi, Sun Haiying and Ren Zhiqiang.

As Hongqi Wen'gao is affiliated to the Communist Party-run magazine Qiushi, it is therefore defined as State media. Some have spoken out, saying that the journal's censure of the three "anti-Party" figures indicates a re-occurrence of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76).
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Hongqi Wen'gao has more freedom of the press than traditional Party-run periodicals. Its rebukes toward anti-Party figures carry a different meaning from those made by Party-run newspapers or magazines. The Hongqi Wen'gao article illuminates views held by some Party members; however, it shouldn't be equated to an official statement from the Party.
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The three targets of criticism by Hongqi Wen'gao indeed advocated opinions that are contradictory to the Party and the country's political roadmap, which earned them fame and benefits. They gained popularity among certain groups, including Western forces.

But at the same time, they faced some uncertainties. For instance, they risk being criticized by media outlets such as Hongqi Wen'gao. In such circumstances, they have nothing to complain about. They have influence in the sphere of public opinion, so they could refute Hongqi Wen'gao and its supporters, defend themselves or feel proud of being crowned "anti-Party."
December 26, 2014, the Global Times published an editorial by "Wang Xiaoshi" (王小石 - the Global Times did not provide any background on the author) entitled "America Hopes to Topple China, and Sun Haiying is Their Third Kind of Weapon" (美国欲扳倒中国 孙海英属第三种武器). Some excerpts:
There are currently three main kinds of weapons deployed in America's ideological war for hearts and minds to "topple China." the first kind is the universal values (which are fundamentally American values) which prior to 2013 were trumpeted throughout the two public opinion venues of the traditional media and the Internet. But the corrupt monarchy of Saudi Arabia was an ally of America, and the double standards exemplified by proclaiming "human rights is more important than sovereignty" to support color revolutions, while violently suppressing the Occupy Wall Street movement show that universal values is a joke, and the Chinese people saw through it.

The second kind of weapon was the constitutional concepts stirred up during the 2013 Southern Weekend's New Year Message incident, which hoped to use reverence for the Constitution to promote American-style separation of powers, judicial independence, civilian control over the military, and multi-Party democracy. In fact this went against China's current Constitution, as certain people have previously clearly described.
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The third kind of weapon is a bit harder to spot, it is using the guise of Christianity to spread American political concepts and values.
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Most of the overseas anti-China forces are already Christianized, and attempt to dilute their political characteristics, for example Chai Ling and Yu Jie, or the most model example - Yuan Zhiming,  a drafter of "River Eulagy," the generation of late-80's students in exile abroad.
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There are various famous Big Vs, whether on Weibo or in the real world, who have hundreds of thousands of followers and who have close interactions with Yuan Zhiming, and Sun Haiying is one of these. It would appear that Sun Haiying's faith in Christianity formally stared in July 2011, when Sun Haiying, who according to Baidu's Encyclopedia is a Communist Party member, began continuously publishing a large number of posts on Weibo about "What I Learned After I Belived." Even though the Communist Party rules state that, as a Party member, Sun Haiying must be an atheist and is not permitted to to hold religious beliefs, this did not prevent Sun from repeatedly and continuously eulogizing on the holy and gracious "lord: on Weibo.

What is even more shocking is that, as Sun Haiying's faith deepend, the more his Weibo posts included content that blackened and  vilified the Chinese Communist Party, Mao Zedong, and even wrote off China's history and culture. For example: 1. "No matter what kind of major events China's rulers faced, they just had to deploy one kind of extreme means to direct the thought and work of the people -  - the net of class struggle." (2014.12.18)
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These various types are a warning that this new age national security environment faces a grem challenge. NGOs with foreign backgrounds operating in the guise of Christianity have already launched an ideological war for hearts and minds in the name of religious freedom. They are brazenly struggling against state authority for the people's hearts in the grassroots of society and the public opinion venues.

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September 17, 2015, the Global Times published an editorial by its editor-in-chief Hu Xijin (胡锡进 - writing under the name Shan Renping (单仁平)) entitled "Those Who Curse the Mainstream Shouldn't Hope to Act the Mainstream, What's the Point" (骂主旋律者非要演主旋律,何必). Some excerpts:
Based on information published online on the 11th, CCTV has dropped the war film "8848" starring Sun Haiying, leading to some heated discussions. Sun Haiying took to his own Weibo to express his strong dissatisfaction, while many Internet users expressed their support for CCTV's actions.

According to reports, "8848" is an inspirational movie that realistically portrays the military, and tells the story of the growth of special forces stationed in Tibet.
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For several years Sun has been fond of political commentary, and has become an active personality online. He has concentrated on using his personal Weibo to launch missives at and deride China's current political system and its various related symbols, and essentially stands in opposition to the mainstream values of Chinese society. This is diametrically opposed to the values advanced by the heroic roles that plays.

CCTV did not publicly discuss the reasons it cancelled the broadcast of "8848," but various online analysis concluded that it is related to the heated rhetoric of Sun Haiying's Weibo. If this is the case, then I'm afraide that what CCTV did was no accident.
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This is not an issue of freedom or no freedom. Sun has been speaking freely, and as a Christian he often "preaches" on his Weibo, with no restrictions.


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December 2015, the Cyber Administration of China organized meetings at the offices of China’s major website operators to “study the spirit of the Communiqué of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee.” For example, according to a report on the CAC website, on December 11, 2015, a meeting was held in Baidu’s offices, with over 100 Baidu employees in attendance. At the meeting it was “stressed that as a focal point of the State’s cyberspace  work, Baidu should be attentive to the work of the National Cyberspace System” (强调百度作为国家网信工作的重点单位,应着眼全国网信系统工作大局).

February 25, 2016, the Cyberspace Administration of China published an announcement entitled "The Results of the 2015 National Cyberspace System Law Enforcement's Raising the Flag and Unsheathing the Sword are Clear" (2015年全国网信执法举旗亮剑成效明显). Some excerpts:
According to statistics, during the entire year [of 2015] the national cyberspace system scheduled meetings with 820 illegal website operators over 1,000 times, and in accordance with the law cancelled the ICP licenses and registrations and shut down serious violators involving 4,977 websites, and shut down 2,260,000 various sorts of illegal accounts.
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With respect to outstanding issues that arose involving illegal online information content, the CAC arranged talks with Sina, Netease, Baidu, Sohu, Miaopai, etc., and this produced a significant social impact. As regards outstanding issues with harmful operating behavior by Internet enterprises, such as Baidu offering its "Hemophilia Forum" for sale, and other commercial operations where management was in chaos, meetings were held with officials at Baidu, and they were urged to undertake comprehensive correction and reform.
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With respect to various outstanding problems with news websites, weibo, weixin, search engines, forums, PostBar, etc, the CAC launched five comprehensive campaigns including the "Clean Web 2015," "Fix Borders 2015," "Purify Sources 2015," "Autumn Wind 2015," and "Seedling Protection 2015" to continuously cleanse the web of all kinds of illegal harmful information such as obscene pornography.

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February 26, 2016, the Cyberspace Administration of China published an announcement on its website entitled "CAC Continues to Strike Hard Against Illegal Behavior" (国家网信办持续重拳打击网上违法违规行为). Some excerpts:
Relevant websites shut down the accounts of several online Big V's such as @Luoyameng, @ActorSunHaiying, @WangYajunShanghai, @RongJián2001, @WenShanwa, @Jiyun, and @DaPengViewsTheWorld, on the grounds that they disregarded their social responsibilities, abused their personal influence, and on many occasions did engage in the behavior of posting illegal information online that opposed the basic principles affirmed in the Constitution, harmed the honor and interests of the nation, and spread rumors causing social disorder.

On February 27, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published a report entitled “CAC Closes 580 ‘Misleading’ Social Media Accounts.” Some excerpts:
China's cyberspace administration authority shut down 580 social media accounts which "misled the public" or "violated regulations," including the accounts of several Internet celebrities, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said on Friday.
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Among the big Vs, a term which refers to verified Weibo users who have more than 500,000 followers, who have been shut down are famous actor Sun Haiying, an editor of a Henan-based news website hnr.cn and a Beijing art center manager.

Sun has been the center of public criticism several times for making "disrespectful" comments about former leader Mao Zedong and for condemning homosexuality.
This screenshot was taken on February 28, 2016, and shows that a search on Sina Weibo for accounts with "Sun Haiying" in the name returned a censorship notice.

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