Wednesday, April 27, 2016

State Media: "Constructiveness of Journalism is More Important than Press Freedom"

On April 21, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled “Press Freedom Index Hides Absurd Logic.” Some excerpts:
Journalism advocacy group Reporters Without Borders (RWB) released its World Press Freedom Index Wednesday, ranking China fifth from bottom, and Vietnam just one place higher. The group, while criticizing Asian countries, including South Korea and Japan for deteriorating press freedom, has mainly pointed the finger at China.
. . . .
The constructiveness of journalism is more important than press freedom to developing countries. This constructiveness includes press freedom and supervision of the media, however it must incorporate understanding of different local political and economic development. The purpose of journalism is not to advocate its absolute freedom, but to help advance societal progress in a suitable way.

This theory, seemingly going against press freedom, could easily be misunderstood, but it has been repeatedly proved in the price paid by developing countries.

Admittedly, there is still a lot of room for improvement in China in the expanding scope of news reporting and enhancing information transparency. But when we make progress, we need to get rid of ways of thinking and logic that the West imposes on us.
These screenshots were taken on April 27, 2016, and show that both Baidu and Sina Weibo were censoring search results for “Reporters Without Borders” (无国界记者).

State Media: "Western Speech Freedom Not Fit for China"

On March 11, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled “Western Speech Freedom not Fit for China.” Some excerpts:
China is different. It is a communist country and this status quo, as a fundamental political norm, is written into its Constitution. Any denial of this norm is illegal and should be opposed. Some people argue that it is acceptable in the Western world that people can launch verbal attacks on their government and even their presidents, so why is this not allowed in China? The argument seems ostensibly reasonable, but the same activities are usually regarded differently in two divergent political and legal systems.
. . . .
[R]egrettably, some influential activists in public opinion abuse their freedom and propagate some subversive and destructive ideas, which have damaged the country's unity and caused some instability within the society. Measures to address these problems are inevitable.
. . . .
Some argue that it is a test of the authorities' openness, but actually, it needs all of society to draw lessons and experiences from the process.
 These screenshots were taken on April 27, 2016, and show that Baidu had banned users from establishing PostBar (贴吧 Tieba) forums about "Freedom of Speech" (言论自由), "Constitutions" (宪法), and "Communism" (共产主义).

Monday, April 18, 2016

Baidu and Sina Begin Censoring Search Results for "Rui Chenggang" - Former CCTV Anchor

On April 12, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “Former CCTV Star Anchor Rui Chenggang’s Graft Case to be Heard.” Some excerpts:
Rui, a popular host of financial and news programs on CCTV, was taken away by prosecutors on July 11, 2014 together with Li Yong, deputy director of the business channel and another unnamed producer, following the detention of Guo Zhenxi, director of CCTV's business channel, for allegedly receiving bribes in June 2014.

At least 10 CCTV employees were reportedly involved in corruption that year.

Investigations into CCTV corruption cases allegedly often involved movie stars whom police sought to assist in the investigation, said the newspaper, which has removed the article from its website as of press time.
These screenshots show that two days after the publication of the Global Times’ article, both Sina and Baidu began censoring search results for “Rui Chenggang” (芮成钢).

Friday, April 8, 2016

Global Times Reports on Foreign Impact of Panama Papers, Sina Weibo Begins Censoring "Panama" in Chinese

Between April 5 and April 8, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published at least four articles about the Panama Papers:
None of the articles mentioned China.

These screenshots show that on April 7, Sina Weibo began censoring the term “Panama” in Chinese.

Sina Weibo had already been censoring search results for “Panama” in English since at least April 5. See: State Media Reports on "Panama Papers," Baidu and Sina Weibo Censor "Panama Papers"

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

State Media Reports on "Panama Papers," Baidu and Sina Weibo Censor "Panama Papers"

On April 5, 2016, the state sponsored Shanghai Daily published an article entitled “Papers Reveal ‘Never-Before-Seen View Inside the Offshore World’.” Some excerpts:
The release of a vast trove of documents and data on offshore financial dealings of wealthy, famous and powerful people around the world is raising questions over the widespread use of such tactics to avoid taxes and skirt financial oversight.

Reports by an international coalition of media outlets on an investigation with the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) brought to light details of offshore assets and services of politicians, businesses and celebrities, based on a cache of 11.5 million records.

Among the countries with past or present political figures named in the reports are Iceland, Ukraine, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Argentina.
. . . .
While the “Panama Papers” detail complex financial arrangements that benefit the world’s elite, they do not necessarily mean the schemes were all illegal.
These screenshots show that the article was deleted within hours.

Original URL:

These screenshots were taken on the evening of April 4, and show that Sina Weibo was censoring search results for “Panama” and “Deng Jiagui.”

Also on April 5, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “Powerful Force is Behind Panama Papers” (in Chinese “偷或编'巴拿马文件'者绝非等闲之辈” - “Those Who Stole and Published the Panama Papers are Certainly Just Average People”). Some excerpts from the English version:
The Western media has taken control of the interpretation each time there has been such a document dump, and Washington has demonstrated particular influence in it. Information that is negative to the US can always be minimized, while exposure of non-Western leaders, such as Putin, can get extra spin.

In the Internet era, disinformation poses no major risks to Western influential elites or the West. In the long-run, it will become a new means for the ideology-allied Western nations to strike a blow to non-Western political elites and key organizations.

The online disinformation makes public opinion precise strikes possible for the West, which always "digs out" materials from the so-called confidential information. Despite different interests, Western countries are close allies in ideology. This is perhaps the basis for the concept of the "West." Public opinion of different Western countries is quite uniform.
Unlike the English version, the Chinese language version appeared only in the Global Times’ print edition, and was not published online by the Global Times. 

Other news outlets in China published the Global Times' Chinese language article online, but as these screenshots show, it was quickly removed.

 These screenshots show that on April 4 Baidu was censoring search results for “Panama Papers” in English and Chinese. By April 5 Baidu was no longer showing any search results for those terms.