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Monday, August 13, 2012

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 his hotel room for a drink. After Heywood became drunk, he vomited and asked for water. Bogu Kailai put the poison she had prepared, and which Zhang had brought to the hotel room, into Heywood's mouth, which led to his death.
The following screenshots, taken on August 8th and 9th, show how Baidu and Sina are handling searches for the names of some of the figures in the trial.

Bo Xilai

Baidu: Search results are restricted to Baidu's broad whitelist, which is composed of central government and Communist Party websites, as well as major domestic news and portal websites.
Sina Weibo: No results, just a censorship notice.

Gu Kailai

Baidu: Search results are restricted to Baidu's strict whitelist, which is composed of Baidu's own Baike (a wikipedia clone), and central government and Communist Party websites.
Sina Weibo: No results, just a censorship notice.

Bo Guagua

Baidu: Search results are restricted to Baidu's strict whitelist.
Sina Weibo: No results, just a censorship notice.

Zhang Xiaojun

Baidu: No obvious censorship.
Sina Weibo: No results, just a censorship notice.

Neil Heywood

Baidu: Search results are restricted to Baidu's strict whitelist.
Sina Weibo: No results, just a censorship notice.