Showing posts from August, 2012

Flight CA981 Makes Emergency Return, Posts Containing "CA981 Official Flees Abroad" Disappear From Sina Weibo

On August 30, 2012, the state-sponsored People's Daily reported : An Air China flight heading to New York returned to Beijing last night after "receiving a threatening message." The Boeing 747 - flight CA981- landed at Beijing Capital International Airport at around 8:30pm about eight hours after it had set off for John F. Kennedy Airport. . . . . The airport later announced that "nothing abnormal has been found after the overall inspections." These screenshots were taken between 9:30 am and 2 pm on August 30, and show that a search for "CA981 Official Flees Abroad" (CA981 外逃官员) at 9:30 returned 10 results. For the same search at 12:30 Sina says no search results can be found. Less than ten minutes later Sina now finds one result, but by 2 pm that result has disappeared as well and Sina says it once again cannot find any results. The final screenshot shows the last post as it appeared at before it was dele

Qihoo and Baidu Search Censorship Compared - Hu Jintao, Tiananmen, Liu Xiaobo, Xin Ziling, and Li Wangyang

On August 21, 2012, the state-sponsored website reported : On Tuesday morning, replaced Google as the default search engine on Qihoo 360's portal, which will radically alter the existing structure of Chinese online search engine industry. Qihoo's new search engine went live on August 16, and has in just five days overtaken Google and's Sogou to become China's second-largest traffic source. Baidu remains the market leader with almost 80 percent of China's domestic search traffic.  After Google exited the Chinese search market in 2010, Baidu, Google's Hong Kong operation, and Sogou shared the country's search industry spoils. However, Qihoo's emergence is likely to shake up China's search engine market. These screenshots, taken on August 21, show that a search for "Hu Jintao" (胡锦涛) on Qihoo and Baidu return very similar results. Both display an identically worded notice that "In accordan

Translation: Wang Xiaoning Inciting Subversion Court Judgment

On August 29, 2012, overseas media reported that Wang Xiaoning (王小宁) would be released on August 31. On September 12, 2003, the Beijing Municipal First Intermediate People’s Court sentenced Wang to 10 years’ imprisonment with two years’ deprivation of political rights for committing the crime of inciting subversion of state power. The court found: Wang Xiaoning smeared and incited the subversion of state power and the Socialist system and endangered national security through writing and reposting articles, compiling electronic publications, and distributing them in large numbers by email. In reaching this conclusion, the court cited the following essays as having been published by Wang on foreign websites: Regulation and Control of the Internet Cannot Violate the Constitution and Laws (对网络进行管制不能违反宪法和法律) Bring Down Corruption in Using Government Vehicles (打倒公车腐败) The Current Condition of Science and Technology in China’s National Defense Industry Is Worrisome (中国的国防工业科技现状令人担忧)

MFA: "Chinese Have Full Freedom of Religious Belief," Baidu Bans Forums on Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and Buddhism

On August 2, 2012, Xinhua reported : A spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday refuted the U.S. State Department's criticism of its religious freedom situation. "The Chinese people are best qualified to judge China's religious situation," spokesman Hong Lei (洪磊) said, urging the United States to discard prejudice, respect the facts and view China's policy on religion and its religious freedom situation in an objective and impartial way. The Chinese government protects citizens' freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law, he said, adding that people of all nationalities in the country are lawfully guaranteed full freedom of religious belief. These screenshots, taken on August 4, show that searches on Baidu's Tieba forums for the following terms return no results, just a notice saying "Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, this forum cannot be opened at this time." (抱歉,根

Gu Kailai Found Guilty of Murdering Neil Heywood - A Chronicle of Censorship of the Case

On August 20, 2012, a court in Hefei, Anhui, found Gu Kailai (谷开来), wife of former Chongqing Communist Party Secretary Bo Xilai (薄熙来), guilty of murdering Neil Heywood (尼尔伍德), and gave her a suspended death sentence. It also found Zhang Xiaojun (张晓军) guilty and sentenced him to nine years imprisonment. The following is a summary of events and censorship relating to Gu Kailai and Zhang Xiaojun over the last several months. November 12, 2011 : Gu Kailai asks Neil Heywood to come to Chongqing. November 13, 2011 : Heywood flies from Beijing to Chongqing and checks into the Lucky Holiday hotel (南山丽景度假酒店). November 15, 2011 : Heywood is found dead in a Chongqing hotel room. Chinese authorities rule that the cause of death is alcohol poisoning, and his body is cremated. March 26, 2012 : The British government asks the Chinese government to investigate Heywood's death. These screenshots show several examples of how several websites in China began censoring information at that

Baidu Employees Arrested for Deleting Posts for Cash, Baidu Censors "Delete Posts"

On August 6, 2012, the state-sponsored Global Times published an article entitled " Baidu Staff Delete Posts for Cash ." That article reported: According to internal communications from Baidu, an employee, surnamed Lu, was working with professional agents to delete posts. Lu was arrested on July 16 under suspicion of bribing non-government staff, the Beijing News reported.  Another two suspects, surnamed Sun and Xu, were detained on July 20 and 23. A non-Baidu employee was also detained, the report said. . . . . A member of staff from a post-deleting company named Beijing Haotian Lianmeng, said that it costs 1,000 yuan ($159) to delete an article from forums, 2,000 yuan to remove one from a blog and 3,000 yuan to delete a piece of news posted on a news portal, like Sina. . . . . Liu also claimed that he knew insiders in Internet companies, who could help him. Betty Tian, a Baidu spokesperson, confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that the posts in question were on Ba

Global Times Says Diaoyu Protesters Backed by State, Sina Weibo Censors Searches for "Anti-Japanese Beijing"

On August 16, 2012, the state-sponsored Global Times published a report entitled " Coordination Needed to Succeed in Diaoyu ." Some excerpts: The Chinese public is wondering why the Diaoyu Islands, a part of China's territory, is occupied by Japan and why the PLA doesn't send navy ships to escort activists. The Chinese government is thought of as being "weak" by some.   It is a challenge to make the Chinese public understand the complexity of the Diaoyu issue and coordinate willingness to protect Diaoyu and China's strategic interests. Chinese society needs to understand that grass-roots activists for Diaoyu are being backed by the State.   While there is no open official support of the activists landing on Diaoyu, that doesn't mean these activists are acting on their own. Their safe trip to Diaoyu, and eventual safe return, are both the result of China's national strength.  The next day, the Global Times published an article entitled &

Lawyers Call for Reform of Re-Education Through Labor, Baidu Bans Tieba Forums on RETL

On August 16, 2012, the China Daily published an article entitled " Lawyers Calling for Reform of Laojiao System ." Some excerpts: "Standing regulations do not require laojiao management committees to release a written verdict to explain how their decisions were made, so it’s difficult to know if a decision was fair," said Li Fangping, an author of the letter and a Beijing lawyer known for his work in protecting the rights of people with HIV.  The letter was sent to the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice. In it, the lawyers wrote that the laojiao system is neither transparent nor well-supervised. . . . . The letter came amid a storm of criticism that arose after the mother of a rape victim was made to undergo laojiao for repeatedly petitioning authorities.  Tang Hui, 39, was accused of "seriously disturbing the social order and exerting a negative impact on society" and sent on Aug 2 to a laojiao center in Hunan province’s Yo

China Daily Says Japan Must Hear Chinese Voice on Diaoyu Islands, Baidu Bans Tieba Forums on Diaoyu Islands

On August 16, 2012, the state-sponsored China Daily published an editorial from the Beijing News entitled " Chinese Public Opinion Should be Heard ". Some excerpts: A group of activists from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region broke through obstructions of the Japanese and successfully landed on the Diaoyu Islands on Aug 15, Victory over Japan Day, to assert China’s claim to the Diaoyu Islands.  . . . . China’s independent and peaceful foreign policy is built on the basis of national will and public support. If the Japanese side turns a deaf ear to the expression of Chinese people’s will and doesn’t stop at the brink of the precipice, it is bound to pay the price. This screenshot, taken on August 17, shows that a search for " Diaoyu Islands " (钓鱼岛) on Baidu's Tieba Forum returns the following notice: "Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, this forum cannot be open at this time." (抱歉,根据相关法律法规和政策,本吧暂不开放。).

Posts About Tibetans Self-Immolating Disappear from Sina Weibo

On March 7, 2012, The state-sponsored China News Agency published an article entitled: "Sichuan Representatives Respond on the Aba Monks Self-Immolations: Absolutely Are Not Representative of Mainstream Tibetan Areas" (四川代表回应阿坝僧人自焚:丝毫不能代表藏区主流). The article cited Liu Qibao (刘奇葆 - Sichuan Communist Party Secretary) as saying: "Just now the AP reporter mentioned that some people in Tibetan areas complain about the suppression of minority culture. This problem does not exist in day-to-day life in Tibetan areas." (刚才美联社记者提到藏区有人抱怨压制少数民族文化。这个问题在藏区的现实生活中是不存在的。) These screenshots show that, at some point in late February or early March, Sina Weibo began censoring searches for "Aba Self-Immolate" (阿坝 自焚). Eventually, Sina stopped blanket censorship for searches for those terms. But at around noon on May 28, 2012, Xinhua reported that on the previous day two Tibetan men had set themselves on fire on a well-known market street in downtown Lhasa. These scree

Rumor of Economic Observer's Shuttering Gets Quashed - But Its Report on Victims of the Beijing Floods is Still Missing

When Beijing suffered torrential rains on July 21,  Sina Weibo censored searches relating to the death toll . These screenshots show that Tencent began censoring searches for "Economic Observer" (经济观察报) on its Weibo some time on August 6 or 7, 2012, and stopped censoring searches for it some time after August 7. These screenshots, taken on August 13, show that, while Sina Weibo was returning over 2 million  search results for "Economic Observer" and over 170 results for "The Flood's Missing," (暴雨失踪者) it was still censoring searches for "Economic Observer the Flood's Missing." On August 4, 2012, the state-sponsored Economic Observer published an article entitled "The Flood's Missing." An excerpt: The Economic Observer's Version Beijing's "July 21" downpour came out of nowhere, causing the scenic mountain village of Shidu in Fangshan to lose contact with the outside world and putting many to

Gu Kailai Goes On Trial for Murder of Neil Heywood - A Look at the State of Baidu and Sina Censorship

Search for "Hefei Court" on Sina Weibo returns no results. On August 9, 2012, the state-sponsored China Daily reported : The intentional homicide trial of Bogu Kailai [谷开来], wife of Bo Xilai [薄熙来], former Party chief of Chongqing, and Zhang Xiaojun [张晓军] began on Thursday in the Hefei City Intermediate People's Court in Anhui province. . . . . Bogu Kailai and her son [Bo Guagua - 薄瓜瓜] had conflicts with Neil Heywood, a British citizen, over economic interests. Concerned that Neil Heywood could be a threat to her son's personal security, Bogu decided to murder Heywood.  She asked Zhang Xiaojun, the other defendant and then an employee of the general office of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, to invite Heywood to Chongqing in Southwest China and accompany him from Beijing. Heywood stayed in Room No 1605 of the 16th building of a vacation resort, the Lucky Holiday Hotel, in Chongqing.  On Nov 13, Bogu Kailai met Heywood in