Monday, October 31, 2016

Man Jailed Five Days for "Misleading Subtitle" About Wugang Protests, Baidu Censors Social Media Posts About Wugang Protests

On October 24, 2106, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “Police Detain Man for Spreading Wuhan Steel Firm Protest Rumor Online.” Some excerpts:
Police in Wuhan, capital of Central China's Hubei Province said Sunday they have detained a man for uploading a video claiming that lay-offs from the local steel giant had sparked a protest.

A viral video, uploaded by the man surnamed Rong, showed hundreds of people gathered in a street with a subtitle saying employees from Wuhan Iron and Steel (Group) Corporation (WISC) held a "procession," Changjiang Daily reported.

Police said they detained Rong for five days, and they've concluded that his subtitle was misleading, local police said on its Sina Weibo account on Sunday.
These screenshots show that on the same day the Global Times published the article, Baidu was censoring posts on its PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) and Knowledge (Zhidao 知道) forums.

 These screenshots show that on October 23, three of the top Baidu search results for “Wugang Demonstrations” (武钢 示威) were posts on Baidu Knowledge about Wugang protests. The following day all of the Baidu Knowledge posts have disappeared. However, the top result is a post on a forum on the website entitled “Wugang Workers March Demonstrate Protest Company Low Price Buyouts Layoffs” (武钢工人游行示威抗议公司低价买断下岗).

Below is a screenshot showing the post, which was still available as of October 30.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

State Media: “Xi As Core Affirmed by Public Opinion,” Baidu Censors “Xi” on Forums of Public Opinion

On October 28, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “Xi as Core Long Affirmed by Public Opinion.” Some excerpts:
The Sixth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee concluded on Thursday. For the first time "the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the core" was written into the communiqué. "Xi as the core" in fact has long been in the minds of the Chinese people and among public opinion.
. . . .
All Chinese know clearly that the Xi's leadership has played a critical role in the changes in China in the past four years and the significance of the word "core" being written into the Party document. The sixth plenum is themed on strict Party governance. This is what the Chinese people are willing to see.
These screenshots were taken on October 27, 2016, and show that users who searched for the single character “Xi“ (习 - Xi Jinping’s surname) on Baidu’s PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) forum are told “Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, this forum cannot be opened at this time” (抱歉,根据相关法律法规和政策,本吧暂不开放). The same search on Baidu’s Knowledge (Zhidao 知道) forum and Wenku (文库) file sharing service yields no results.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Explosion Kills 14, Sina Weibo Promotes State Media, Blocks User Posts

On October 26, 2016, the state sponsored China Daily published an article entitled “Death Toll From Explosion Rises to 14.” Some excerpts:
The death toll from a blast in a residential apartment block in Fugu county, Shaanxi province, on Monday has increased to 14, local authorities said. The local police said after a preliminary investigation that the cause of the accident was explosives.
. . . .
"Emergency rescue work has ended, as there have been no new reports of missing people from the blast," said Zhang Jiuping, director of Yulin city government's information office.
. . . .
Investigations showed that the five apartments that were completely destroyed in Monday's blast might have contained illegally stored explosives owned by a resident, surnamed Zhang, who is under police investigation.
These screenshots were taken on October 27, 2016, and show that Sina Weibo was completely censoring search results for “Fugu Big Explosion” (府谷 大爆炸) and “Yulin Big Explosion” (榆林 大爆炸).

These screenshots were taken on the same day and show that Sina Weibo users who searched for “Fugu Explosion” (府谷 爆炸) and “Yulin Explosion” (榆林 爆炸) were only being shown news articles from China’s state sponsored media outlets, but were not be shown any user generated content.

These screenshots were taken on the same day and show that when a Sina Weibo user clicked on “Show All Search Results” they were told that Sina Weibo cannot find any search results at all.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Baidu, Sina, News Websites Censor Discussion of Retired Soldiers' Protest in Beijing

On October 12, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “China Vows to Address ‘Challenges Facing Veterans' After Protest.” Some excerpts:
China's military authorities on Wednesday pledged to continue addressing the difficulties facing some military veterans, after over 1,000 of them gathered outside a military building to protest their dismissal.

China's Ministry of National Defense confirmed the gathering with the Global Times in a statement sent by its Information Bureau on Wednesday, saying that in recent years some veterans have been facing personal and employment problems, and that they have appealed with letters and calls.

The statement said that the Communist Party of China, the State Council--China's Cabinet--and the Central Military Commission care about veterans and pay high attention to solving their problems.
. . . .
More than 1,000 protesters marched and chanted in front of China's defense ministry Tuesday, the latest apparent demonstration by soldiers as the world's largest standing military modernizes and downsizes. Two demonstrators told Associated Press that they were veterans who wanted the government to address military pensions.

"They protested because they don't have a job after serving a long period of time in the army, some for a dozen years," Liu Feiyue, editor of the website Minsheng Guancha, which monitors civil rights issues, was quoted as saying in the report.
The Global Times published a Chinese language version in its print edition, but there was no indication that the Global Times posted the Chinese language version on its website. These screenshots show that the article was being deleted from other websites where it had been reposted.

 The Chinese language version was entitled “Retired Soldiers’ Rights Defense Issues Should Be Objectively Assessed” (退伍军人维权问题应得到客观评估).  Besides the differing titles, other differences between the English and Chinese versions included:
  • The English version said specified the location as "China's defense ministry." The Chinese version said it happened "in front of a military affairs leadership agency" (军事领导机关前);
  • The English version said that "more than 1,000 protestors marched and chanted." The Chinese version said "several hundred retired soldiers gathered" (数百名退伍军人聚集).
  • The English version said "Two demonstrators told Associated Press that they were veterans who wanted the government to address military pensions." The Chinese version said foreign media were unable to determine what the demonstrators' demands were (关于他们的诉求,和他们都是哪个年代退伍的,外媒说法不一).
These screenshots show that Sina Weibo began censoring searches for “Retired Soldiers Petition” (退伍军人上访) on October 12.

These screenshots show that on October 13 Baidu deleted a question from its Knowledge (Zhidao 知道) platform.

The question read: “Yesterday over 2,000 retired soldiers assembled in Beijing” (昨天北京聚集了2000多名退伍军人).

The answers were:
  • “Haven’t heard of it” (没听说啊)
  • “Never seen people in China march” (从没见过中国有人游行)
  • “Its said the government deducted their medical expenses and other charges, many are former leaders” (说政府克扣他们的医疗费用还有其他什么费,好多还是以前领导的)
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These screenshots were taken on October 13, and show that Baidu had banned users from establishing PostBar (贴吧 Tieba) forums on the subjects of “Retirees” (退伍) and “Soldiers” (军人).