Monday, August 8, 2016

Baidu and Sina Censor Discussion About Trial of "709" Lawyers Labeled by State Media as "Transparent"

On July 11, 2016, the state-sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled “West Willfully Provokes Over Rights Lawyers.” Some excerpts:
Over the weekend there has been much hype among Western public opinion over the anniversary of the so-called "709 mass detentions of rights layers" in China. The US, Germany and Britain on July 9 issued their statement either through foreign affairs authorities or embassies in China, demanding the release of the involved lawyers. Some Western lawyer organizations published an open letter to pressure the Chinese government. The  American Bar Association  granted Chinese lawyer Wang Yu, who was detained on July 9 last year, its first International Human Rights Award.

According to the West, "23 lawyers and activists" held on July 9, 2015 and in subsequent detentions remain unreleased.
. . . .
The West has not been bothered by other arrests by China's public security organs in the past year. Why have they made an issue of the detentions of some lawyers? Is that because the arrests of lawyers could better prove the absence of the rule of law in China? Their concentration on human rights lawyers is abnormal.
On August 4, 2016, the Global Times published an article entitled “Transparent Trial.” Some excerpts:
As Hu Shigen, the leader of an underground church, was convicted of subverting State power on Wednesday by a Tianjin court, details of the trial were freely reported by the foreign media.
. . . .
The details of the trial were released in real time through text and photos on a screen set up in a special media room at a nearby hotel. Journalists who did not manage to get a seat in the public gallery were invited to the center to report, the Tianjin Daily reported Thursday.

Major media outlets from the US, the UK, Spain, Japan and Qatar arrived in Tianjin to report on the trial, while five media organizations won the chance to sit in the public gallery.
These screenshots show that on August 1, 2016, Sina Weibo was  censoring search results for “709 Case” (709案). That morning the top search result read:
709 Case, according to information from friends on the scene in Tianjin: Shijing State Security officers have attempted to forcibly remove Li Wenzu several times, only allowing him to remain at the scene because the were being observed by foreign human rights officials. Fan Lili was knocked down by plain clothes officers who are also on the scene.

By the afternoon Sina was telling users it could not find any relevant search results.

This screenshot was taken on August 7, and shows that Baidu had banned users from establishing a PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) forum on the subject of "Hu Shigen" (胡石根).