Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Government Revokes Registration of Whistleblower Website "I Paid a Bribe"

On June 16, 2011 the state sponsored China Daily published an article entitled “China's 'I-Paid-a-Bribe' Sites Face Shutdown.” Some excerpts:
China's grassroots anti-bribery websites may all be shut down because they are not registered with authorities, the Nanfang Daily reported Thursday.

Bribery-reporting websites have been burgeoning this week, allowing Internet users to share their experiences in giving bribes though shying away from revealing corrupt figures.

Inspired by the Indian anti-bribery site ipaidabribe.com, at least eight Chinese online forums have sprung up since last Friday, bearing names with similar meanings.

But safety concerns and an assumption that authorities will not give them the go-ahead are stopping many from registering their anti-bribery websites, choosing instead to operate unregistered and at the risk of being shut down.
On August 11, 2011, the state-sponsored Guangzhou Daily published a report entitled "'I Paid a Bribe' Permanently Closed, Blooming of Private Anti-Corruption Was Short-Lived" (“我行贿了”永久关闭 民间反腐网站或昙花一现). An excerpt:
Between June and today, the number of private anti-corruption websites exploded to almost 60, and the growth leaves one speechless -- every day they were getting almost 300,000 hits. Nevertheless, the majority of the anti-corruption websites still existed in a very narrow space - - only four have obtained registration so far. The relatively well-known "I Paid A Bribe" website re-opened between July 14 and July 20 after it registered, but after only 20 days it was forced to announce it was permanently shutting down.

从6月初至今,国内民间反腐网站已骤增至近60个,火爆程度令人咋舌——每日访问量达30万人次。然而,多数反腐网站至今仍在“夹缝中生存”——目前获得备案的仅有4家。知名度较高的“我行贿了”网站自从7月14日备案后于7月20日重开,但仅20天后就迫于压力宣告永久关闭。
The same day the state sponsored Changing Business Times reported:
As early as June 21 the Chinese version of “I Paid A Bribe” was shut down. That day, “Xiaoxiao Sheng” received a call from his hosting service informing him that websites that have not registered would not be able to operate, so “Xiaoxiao Sheng” could only shut down his site temporarily.

On July 14, the already-shuttered “I Paid a Bribe” completed its registration. The result came as a surprise to “Xiaoxiao Sheng.” On around July 20, “I Paid a Bribe” quietly relaunched, and during this time “Xiaoxiao Sheng” refused to speak to the media, “fearing that too much attention would lead to the site being shut down.”

Then on August 9 “Xiaoxiao Sheng” received another notice, this time informing him that his registration had been revoked. He posted a notice on the website’s home page “A Note to Friends of ‘I Paid a Bribe’” announcing the final fate of the website: the site’s registration had been revoked, and the site was being permanently shut down.

早在今年6月21日,中文版“我行贿了”就曾被关闭。当天,“笑笑生”接到机房电话通知,称网站没有备案不能开启,“笑笑生”只得将网站暂时关闭。

7月14日,已经关闭的 “我行贿了”通过备案。这个结果,让“笑笑生”备感意外。7月20日左右,“我行贿了”网低调重开,在此期间,“笑笑生”一度拒绝记者采访,“害怕太过高调让网站再度关闭。”

直到8月9日,“笑笑生”再次接到通知,网站注销备案。他在网站首页的公告——《告“我行贿了”网友书》中宣告了网站最终结局:网站备案被注销,网站将永久关闭。
These screenshots were taken on August 23, 2011, and show that a search for "I Paid A Bribe" on Sina's Weibo micro-blogging service does not return any results, just a notice that says "In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and polices, search results have not been displayed." (根据相关法律法规和政策,搜索结果未予显示。) The same search on Baidu's Tieba forum returns a notice saying "Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, this forum cannot be opened" (抱歉,根据相关法律法规和政策,本吧暂不开放。).



Translation: Huang Xuqin and Wang Jianbing Inciting Subversion Indictment

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