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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beijing Calls on 2 Million+ Propagandists to Use Weibo, Sina Weibo Censors "2 Million Outside the System"

On January 18, 2013, the state-sponsored Beijing News published an article entitled "Planning For Hundreds of Cultural Renovation Projects to Be Completed This Year" (百项文物修缮今年完成计划). Some excerpts:.
At the opening of the Beijing Municipal Propaganda Director's Meeting there was a call for propaganda workers to all "use Weibo," and actively give rein to positive forces.
This year Beijing will formulate and implement an Internet Development Action Plan for Beijing, and make strategic use of the media and strive to create world-class portal web sites.
. . . .
Yesterday, during the Beijing Municipal Propaganda Director's Meeting Lu Wei, Beijing's Standing Committee member, Propaganda Director, and Deputy Mayor, said that the city's propaganda ranks comprised over 60,000 people working within the system, and over 2,000,000 working outside the system. It is necessary to strengthen positive guidance of hot-point issues, and every propaganda worker must utilize new media, "watch Weibos, launch Weibos, post Weibos, and research Weibos" to give rein to the Internet's positive forces.
This year, Beijing will earnestly implement the National People's Congress Standing Committee's "Decision Regarding Strengthening Network Information Protection," drive forward online real name identification administration, quickly issue regulations on on mobile device real name system administration, strengthen administration of micro-blogs, social networks, and mobile reporting, and research formulation of Beijing municipal Internet development administration regulations.
北京市宣传部长会议召开,要求宣传工作者都要“用微博”,主动发挥正能量
今年,北京将制定实施北京互联网发展行动计划,以新媒体为战略依托,努力打造世界一流门户网站。
. . . .
昨日,在北京市宣传部长会议上,市委常委、宣传部长、副市长鲁炜称,全市宣传队伍体制内有6万多人,体制外200多万人。要加强热点问题的正面引导,每一名宣传工作者都要应用好新媒体,“看微博,开微博、发微博,研究微博”,发挥网络正能量。
今年,北京市将认真贯彻落实全国人大常委会《关于加强网络信息保护的决定》,推进网络真实身份管理,近日将出台手机实名制管理规定,强化微博客、社交网络、手机报等管理,研究制定北京市互联网发展管理规定。
These screenshots, taken on January 30, 2013, show that Sina Weibo was censoring searches for "60,000 people inside the system" (制内有6万多人) and "2 million people outside the system" (体制外200多万人).

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baidu and Sina Weibo Censor Search Results About Ming Pao Report on Li Jianguo

Li Jianguo is vice chairman and secretary general of China's National People's Congress. On January 26, 2013, Hong Kong's Ming Pao published an article entitled "Capital Whispers: Li Jianguo Investigated as Part of 'Beat the Tigers' Anti-Corruption Drive" (京城密語﹕反腐「打老虎」 李建國傳受查).

The phrase "Beat the Tigers" is explained this way in a January 21 China Daily article:
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), vowed to unswervingly fight against corruption and keep power reined within the cage of regulations.
During a CPC disciplinary watchdog meeting on Tuesday, as Xi ordered enhanced restraint and supervision on the use of power, he said, "Power should be restricted by the cage of regulations."
. . . .
Xi said the Party should crack down on "tigers" and "flies" at the same time by dealing with illegal activities of officials on the one hand and tackling malpractices and corruption cases, which closely impact the people, on the other.
"No exception will be made when it comes to Party disciplines and law," Xi said. "Cases will be investigated completely and no leniency will be meted out no matter who is involved."
He continued, "Party cadres at various levels should keep in mind that no one can enjoy absolute power outside of the law."
This screenshot, taken on January 27, shows that Sina Weibo was censoring searches for the phrase "Beat the Tigers," (打老虎).
These screenshots show that between January 28 and January 29, Sina Weibo deleted four posts discussing the Ming Pao article, and then began censoring searches for "Li Jianguo Ming Pao" (李建国 明报).

These screenshots show that on January 29 Baidu began censoring search results for "Li Jianguo." Prior to Baidu's censorship, the top search result was a discussion of the Ming Pao report. Following Baidu's censorship the top result was Xinhua's profile of Li.

Baidu's censorship came just hours before Xinhua published a report entitled "Li Jianguo: Earnestly Implement the Spirit of Xi Jinping's Important Charge, Improve the Work Style of the National People's Congress" (李建国:坚决贯彻习近平重要批示精神 改进全国人大会风).  That article made no mention of an investigation.

Prior to Baidu's censorship, five of the results on the first page were from January 2013. As this screenshot shows, a day after Baidu imposed censorship the only results from January 2013 on the first page were four links to the same Xinhua article.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sina Weibo Censorship Fail: Zhu Ruifeng Questioned by Chongqing Police

On January 28, 2013, the state-sponsored Chongqing News web site published an article entitled "Journalist Interviews Investigator Responsible for Xiao Ye Extortion Case" (肖烨敲诈勒索犯罪团伙专案组负责人答记者问). Some excerpts:
On the evening of January 27, Zhu Ruifeng published a Weibo saying that the police had come to his house to find him, "I'm certain its the Chongqing police," garnering the attention of Internet users. This reporter interviewed the investigator responsible for the Xiao Ye extortion ring case.
. . . .
Question: Why were you looking for Zhu Ruifeng?
Answer: In the course of investigating the case of Xiao Ye extortion ring's use of salacious inducements, secretly making vulgar video recordings, and committing extortion, investigators discovered that the vulgar video of Lei Zhengfu that Zhu Ruifeng had exposed had been provided by the criminal ring's member Xu Sheqing (already arrested). Based on information provide by Xu Sheqing, because of internal discord with Xiao Ye, in early November 2012, in order to exact revenge, he came to Beijing with a neighbor of Zhu Ruifeng's surnamed Wang, and provided vulgar video that was used for extortion to Zhu Ruifeng. In order to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the Xiao ye extortion criminal ring, and coordinate with the needs of anti-corruption work, the investigation team, in cooperation with Beijing police, sought out Zhu Ruifang in order to verify the circumstances and obtain related evidence.
朱瑞峰发布微博称,有警察去家里找他,“肯定是重庆警方的”,引发网民关注。记者为此采访了侦办肖烨敲诈勒索犯罪团伙专案组负责人。
. . . .
问:为什么找朱瑞峰?
答:专案组在侦办肖烨犯罪团伙利用色情勾引、密拍不雅视频、实施敲诈勒索一案过程中,发现朱瑞峰曝光的雷政富不雅视频系该犯罪团伙成员许社卿(已逮捕)向其提供。据许社卿交待,因与肖烨分赃不均发生内讧,为达到报复肖的目的,许于2012年11月初,与朱瑞峰熟识的老乡王某一道赶到北京,将实施敲诈勒索的不雅视频当面提供给朱瑞峰。为彻底查清肖烨犯罪团伙敲诈勒索的案情,配合反腐败工作的需要,专案组在北京警方的协助下,依法找朱瑞峰核实了解相关情况并提取相关证据。
This screenshot, taken on January 28, shows that a search for "Zhu Ruifeng" on Sina Weibo returned no results, just a censorship notice.

However, when Sina censors searches like this its standard practice is to include recent popular posts that are unrelated to the search terms in question, often from popular Weibo users such as Kai-fu Lee (who has over 27 million followers).  In this case this policy seems to have backfired, as the arrow in the screenshot above indicates that Lee's most recent post was in fact about Zhu Ruifeng. It read:
Zhu Ruifeng, the first person to expose the Chongqing "Lei Zhengfu Video," used his Weibo and private messaging to say: yesterday evening Chongqing police came knock at his home, and wanted to take him away. After negotiations, he agreed to go to meet them at the Desheng Police Station at 9:00 am. The attached image is his Announcement and Entrustment. Zhu Ruifeng's verified Weibo has already been silenced, I hope Internet users will support and repost.
重庆“雷政富视频”第一爆料人 @朱瑞峰V,通过微博和私信表示:昨晚重庆警察到他的住所敲门,想要把他带走。经过协商,同意今早9点半在德胜门派出所见面。 附图是他的声明和委托。@朱瑞峰V 微博已经被禁言,希望网友支持+转发。
Here is the text from the image attached to Lee's Weibo post.
朱瑞峰声明和委托 
我现委托北京外国语大学教授展江老师作为与我家属的联系人;委托中国著名调查记者王克勤老师为我的新闻发言人,委托北京大学法学院教授贺卫方老师为我的法律顾问团筹备人。
我现委托浦志强律师、周泽律师、李和平律师、张凯律师、滕彪老师、王鹏律师等人作为我的代理人,授权委托书多份我已经签字,具体由贺卫方教授、展江教授和王克勤老师与各位律师和代理人商议。
如果我被重庆市警察抓捕失去人身自由,我将行使缄默权零口供来抗议重庆市警方的非法行为,如果有询问笔录和签名,那一定是在重庆市警察刑讯逼供情况下做的。我失去人身自由后,任何单位和个人及我的家属所作出更换律师或官方指定律师的决定无效,我本人就是写血书要求换律师也是无效的,也更不可能拒绝请律师的情况出现。
声明、委托人:朱瑞峰
2013年1月28日
This is not the first time we have seen this kind of "fail" - we saw something similar during the Southern Weekend New Year's Greeting controversy earlier this month: http://blog.feichangdao.com/2013/01/sina-weibo-features-southern-people.html.

Monday, January 28, 2013

After Posting Pro-Reform Essay, Sina Weibo Censors "Annals of the Yellow Emperor," Magazine's Website Shut Down

On January 1, 2013, the state-sponsored political journal Yanhuang Chunqiu (炎黄春秋 or "Annals of the Yellow Emperor") published a “New Year's Greeting” entitled “The Constitution is a Consensus for Political Reform" (宪法是政治体制改革的共识). The January edition with the essay was posted on the journal's web site on January 3 here - http://www.yhcqw.com/html/wqhg/2013/13/131395267CH1F902416EH0B26C6DBIC8.html. David Bandurski has posted the full text and an English translation on the China Media Project's web site here - http://cmp.hku.hk/2013/01/02/30203/. An excerpt:
Political reform is about building a system in place than can check power, and that means conscientiously protecting the rights of citizens. There is much language within our Constitution that preserves human rights, and that limits the power of the state. If we compare and contrast our Constitution and our reality, we discover that the system, policies and laws currently in force create a massive gap between the Constitution and the conduct of our government. Our Constitution is essentially void.
政治体制改革就是要建立一套对权力制衡的制度体系,就是要切实保证公民权利。《宪法》中有很丰富的保障人权、限制国家权力的内容。将《宪法》和现实对照,就会发现现行的制度、政策、法令和很多政府行为,和宪法的差距十分遥远。我们的宪法基本上被虚置。
These screenshots show that on January 4, the journals' web site - http://www.yhcqw.com - was shut down and visitors were redirected to this IP address - http://121.101.208.43/tonggao/weibeian.html - with a notice reading:
Access Refused
Honored User: Hello! Thank you for choosing our service.
The web site you are accessing has been shut down for failure to register.
Please carry Communication Administration and Public Security registration as soon as possible and you are asked to get in touch with the service provider regarding this problem.
访问拒绝
尊敬的用户:您好!感谢您选择我们的 服务。
您访问的网站由于未备案而被关闭。
请您尽快进行工信、公安备案,有关备案问题请联系服务商! 
These screenshots show that, at about the same time the web site was shut down, Sina began censoring searches for "Yanhuang Chunqiu."


The web site resumed operation on January 18.  This screenshot, taken on January 20, shows that Sina Weibo was still censoring "political reform," and it would therefore not be possible to find posts by searching for the title of the article.

The following are translations of explanations of the situation that The Annals of the Yellow Emperor posted on its Sina Weibo:
January 4: 10:08 am - http://e.weibo.com/1421452137/zcSmmaBhm 
The web site of the Annals of the Yellow Emperor was suddenly cancelled. Today (January 4) at around 9:00 am the web site was shut down. Last year on December 31 we received an SMS and an email signed by the "Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Web Site Registration System" saying: "The web site of the Annals of the Yellow Emperor with your registration information has been cancelled, and the ICP registration number Beijing 08100492 for this web site has been rescinded. You have been notified!" The notice did not indicate why the why the registration was suddenly cancelled. Our publication is currently trying to understand the details. 
January 5: 8:30 am - http://e.weibo.com/1421452137/zd19ceo0a 
After arriving at the office today, the publication's staff, following the instructions of the Beijing Communication Administration, contacted our ISP and undertook relevant registration procedures. We hope that this will allow the ICP registration number of the web site of the Annals of the Yellow Emperor to be restored as quickly as possible, and for the web site to resume operations soon. We deeply appreciate the enthusiastic attention of the many Internet users regarding the Annals of the Yellow Emperor. 
January 5: 8:58 pm - http://e.weibo.com/1421452137/zd62K6BmE 
This afternoon we completed ICP registration procedures with our ISP and submitted them for examination and verification. This morning an woman surnamed Zhu at the Beijing Communications Administration explained: "After your registration application is submitted examination and verification can be completed in  about 10 working days." We hope that the Annals of the Yellow Emperor will be able to re-commense operations soon. The main essays of this year's inaugural issue will be posted on Weibo in serialization, and we welcome Internet users to read it. 
January 6: 3:30 pm - http://e.weibo.com/1421452137/zddk8sAN8 
Thanks to all Internet users for your concern. We offer the following responses to the questions Internet users have raised: 1. Since the Annals of the Yellow Emperor web site launched we have only received two mail notices from the MIIT web site registration system. Before the web site launched we received a "Notice that registration application has passed examination and verification," and when the web site was shut down we received a notice saying "The Annals of the Yellow Emperor web site has been cancelled, and the registration number has been rescinded." In the interim we did not receive any notice from the relevant agencies, including any notice that we needed to "re-register." (continued) 
January 6: 3:30 pm - http://e.weibo.com/1421452137/zddkdu0jg 
(continued) 2. The Annals of the Yellow Emperor web site's ICP registration number was always used in an appropriate manner (up until it was rescinded on December 31, 2012), and the web site was always operated in an appropriate manner (up until it was cancelled on December 31, 2012). 3. Who should responsible for informing and oversight when a company's ICP registration has been cancelled and they themselves don't know the situation and that a so-called "shell website" has been operating in appropriate manner for two years and four months? (continued) 
January 6: 3:32 pm - http://e.weibo.com/1421452137/zddkFwyPC 
(continued) 4. The problem is, blank spaces had existed in our registration information for two years and four months (on the afternoon of January 4 the Beijing Communications Administration ICP registration department said our ICP registration was cancelled back on August 30, 2010), why is it only on the afternoon of the last day of 2012 that we suddenly receive notices of "ICP number rescission" and "Web site cancellation," and at nine in the morning on the first day back to work on January 3 the website was suddenly shut down? We have yet to get an answer on this timing question.  
January 18: 6:53 pm - http://e.weibo.com/1421452137/zf3MjzJ0T

The web site of the Annals of the Yellow Emperor has resumed operations. This afternoon we received a "Notice Regarding Approval of ICP Registration Application Examination and Verification" from the MIIT Web Site Registration System via email saying: "Your ICP registration application has passed examination and verification, your registration/license number will be (omitted), date of registration verification approval: 2013-01-18 15:28:39." Following a simple adjustment, the web site of the Annals of the Yellow Emperor official resumed operation at six in the afternoon. We deeply appreciate everyone concern and attention for the "Annals of the Yellow Emperor" magazine.
炎黄春秋网被突然注销。今天(1月4日)9时左右网站被关闭。去年12月31日分别收到署名为“工业和信息化部网站备案系统”的短信和邮件:“您备案信息中的网站炎黄春秋网已被注销,该网站的备案号京ICP备08100492号-1已被收回。特此通知!”通知中没有注明网站被突然注销的原因。详情本刊正在了解中。 
本刊网站今天上班后将按北京通讯管理局提示,与接入商联系办理相关备案手续。希望能够尽快恢复被收回的炎黄春秋网的备案号,网站早日运营。深切感谢广大网友对炎黄春秋的热情关注。 
今天下午已在接入商处办理完相关备案手续并提交审核。上午北京通管局一位朱姓女士在与我们通话中表示:“你们的备案申请提交上来后,在10个工作日左右就可以完成备案审核。”期待炎黄春秋网早日恢复运营。本刊今年第1期重点文章将在微博上陆续刊出,欢迎广大网友阅读。 
感谢广大网友的关注。对网友提出的问题在此一并回复:①炎黄春秋网自开通后仅收到过工信部网站备案系统两次邮件通知,网站开通前收到“备案申请审核通过通知”,网站被关闭时收到“炎黄春秋网已被注销,备案号已被收回”通知。此间,没有收到相关部门任何通知,包括需要“重新备案”的通知。(待续) 
(续前)②炎黄春秋网的备案号一直正常使用(直到2012年12月31日被通知收回),网站一直正常运营(直到2012年12月31日被通知注销)。③一家备案信息被取消自己却不知情的所谓“空壳网站”一直正常运营了两年零四个月,谁应当负告知和监管责任。(待续) 
(续前)④问题在于,备案信息处于空白姿态已经长达两年零四个月时间(1月4日下午北京通管局备案部说,2010年8月30日你们的备案号已被取消接入),为什么突然在2012年的最后一天下午我们才收到“备案号被收回”“网站被注销”的通知,2013年上班第一天9时网站被突然关闭?这个时间问题我们无法回答。 
炎黄春秋网恢复运行。今天下午收到工信部网站备案系统发来“关于ICP备案申请审核通过的通知”邮件:“您的ICP备案申请已通过审核,备案/许可证编号为(略),审核通过日期:2013-01-18 15:28:39”。经过简单调整,炎黄春秋网下午6时正式恢复运行。深切感谢广大读者对《炎黄春秋》杂志的关注和厚爱。

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tencent's Tribute to Dissent Gets Deleted, Censored on Weibos


On December 30, 2012, Tencent News, a Chinese news website owned by China’s largest Internet service company Tencent, published an article entitle "New Years' Resolution: Pay Tribute to Ten Great Dissenters" (年终策划:致敬十大反对者). Global Voices Online has published a full translation here: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/01/01/chinas-top-10-protesters-listed-by-tencent-news/

These screenshots show that the article, originally available here - http://view.inews.qq.com/a/NEW2012122900106520 - was quickly deleted.


These screenshots, taken on January 3, 2013, show that both Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo were censoring searches for the article's title.

Here is Tencent's list of dissenters, along with some example of censorship relating to those dissenters from this blog:
  • Wukan Village Residents: Against Fraud Election (乌坎村民:不公选举的反对者)
Screenshot taken in January 2012 showing Sina Weibo censoring "Wukan"
For more, see https://plus.google.com/u/0/106378980111121757454/posts/X6s35px1ZGa
  • Qidong Citizens: Against a Lack of Transparency in Decisionmaking (什邡、启东市民:决策不透明的反对者)
Screenshots showing Baidu shut down its Qidong Tieba Forum during the protests.
For more, see http://blog.feichangdao.com/2012/08/qidong-protests-censorship-and-arrests.html
  • Hong Kong Citizens: Against “Brain-washing” Education (香港市民:“洗脑”的反对者)
Screenshots showing Tencent Weibo began censoring "National Education"
during the Hong Kong protests.
For more, see http://blog.feichangdao.com/2012/09/search-engines-censor-national.html
  • Ren Jianyu: Against Restrictions on Speech (任建宇:言论管制的反对者)
  • Zhang Haite: Against Unfair Chance for Education (占海特:教育权不公的反对者)
  • Yang Zhizhu: Against the One Child Policy (杨支柱:计划生育的反对者)
  • Zhao Keluo: Against the “Grave Clearing” Campaign (赵克罗:平坟运动的反对者)
  • Wu Heng: Against Toxic Food (吴恒:有毒食品的反对者)
  • Luo Yonghao: Against Commercial Domination (罗永浩:商业霸权的反对者)
  • Netizens: Against All Injustice (全体网民:一切不公的反对者)

Monday, January 21, 2013

Zhejiang Daily Deletes Editorial on Fallen Party Translation Bureau Head Yi Junqing


On January 17, 2013, China's official news agency Xinhua reported that Yi Junqing (衣俊卿), director of the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee, had been removed from his post for "living an improper lifestyle." (生活作风问题)

On January 18, the Zhejiang Daily published an editorial entitled "Mouth Full of Marxism, Belly Full of Deceit" (满嘴马列,满腹盗娼) here - http://zjdaily.zjol.com.cn/qjwb/html/2013-01/18/content_1966004.htm?div=-1. Below, the left-hand screenshot shows the article as it appeared on January 18. The right-hand screenshot shows that same page as it appeared on January 20.

Some excerpts:
Yesterday evening after six a breaking news bulletin (so short it could not have been any shorter) was posted at the top of major web sites -- according to information confirmed by relevant agencies, Yi Junqing had been deemed unsuited to remain at his post as director of the Central Compilation and Translation Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee on the grounds that he had been living an improper lifestyle, and had been dismissed from his position. 
Prior to this, the story of Yi Junqing and Chang Yan had remained suspended in the realm of "fiction." Chang Yan, a post-doctorate who had previously published a 120,000 character tell-all and filed a complaint against Yi Junqing using her real name (including details of 17 hotel rendezvous), had just last month deleted posts and on December 12, 2012 had undertook to refute those facts as rumors, saying the content of her real name complaints were just "fiction written in a moment of insanity," and that she hoped everyone would just laugh it off. 
Looking back on this now, it seems that every Internet user insisted on believing that the "fiction" was in fact a record of actual events, that Chang Yan's rumor refuting must have been the result of some pressure, and they continued to follow the story, waiting for the veil to be lifted to see what really lay beneath. And last night, when the news of Yi Junqing's dismissal broke, it confirmed the expertise and "cunning" of these Internet users. 
昨晚6点过后,一条短得不能再短的新闻迅速占据了各大网站头条位置——据有关部门证实,中央编译局局长衣俊卿因为生活作风问题,不适合继续在现岗位工作,已免去其中央编译局局长职务。 
而在此前,关于衣俊卿,关于常艳,他们的故事,还停留在“小说”里。常艳,这位用长达12万日记体文字,实名举报与衣俊卿的情史,包括17次在酒店开房细节的博士后,一个月前删除发帖,于2012年12月12日自我辟谣,称实名举报内容是“狂想状态下的小说”,希望大家读后一笑了之。 
令人回味的是,几乎所有围观的网民坚持相信“小说”是纪实,认定自我辟谣的常艳一定出于某种压力,因而继续围观,坐等盖头揭开。而昨晚,衣俊卿去职新闻,印证了网民的老到和“狡黠”。

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Xinhua Removes Allegedly Altered Photo of Li Keqiang


In December 2012, this blog noted that Sina Weibo had begun censoring searches for "Xinhua PS," apparently as a result of Internet users in China speculating that Xinhua had published a photo that had photoshopped Li Keqiang and several others into a photo. See http://blog.feichangdao.com/2012/12/web-sites-censor-speculation-that.html

These screenshots show that, some time after this allegation began to circulate, Xinhua removed the photo in question.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Web Sites Censor Information, Discussion Relating to New York Times Expose of Dai Xianglong's Family Wealth


On December 30, 2012, the New York Times published an article entitled "Family of Chinese Regulator Profits in Insurance Firm’s Rise" (戴相龙亲属借平安获利). Some excerpts:
Relatives of a top Chinese regulator profited enormously from the purchase of shares in a once-struggling insurance company that is now one of China’s biggest financial powerhouses, according to interviews and a review of regulatory filings.
The regulator, Dai Xianglong, was the head of China’s central bank and also had oversight of the insurance industry in 2002, when a company his relatives helped control bought a big stake in Ping An Insurance that years later came to be worth billions of dollars. The insurer was drawing new investors ahead of a public stock offering after averting insolvency a few years earlier.
. . . .
The company that bought the Ping An stake was controlled by a group of investment firms, including two set up by Mr. Dai’s son-in-law, Che Feng, as well as other firms associated with Mr. Che’s relatives and business associates, the regulatory filings show.
. . . .
The Times reported last month that another investment company had also bought shares in Ping An Insurance at an unusually low price on the same day in 2002 as Dinghe Venture Capital. That company, Tianjin Taihong, was later partly controlled by relatives of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, then serving as vice premier with oversight of China’s financial institutions. In late 2007, the shares Taihong bought in Ping An were valued at $3.7 billion. 
The investments by Dinghe and Taihong are significant in part because by late 2002, Beijing regulators had granted Ping An an unusual waiver to rules that would have forced the insurer to sell off some divisions. Throughout the late 1990s, the company was fighting rules that would have required a breakup, a move that Ping An executives worried could lead to bankruptcy.
This screenshot, taken on December 31, 2012, shows that Sina Weibo was censoring searches for "Dai Xianglong" (戴相龙).

This screenshot, taken on December 31, 2012, shows that Baidu had banned Tieba forums on "Dai Xianglong" (戴相龙).

This screenshot, taken on January 3, 2013, shows that Sina Weibo was censoring searches for "Taihong Company" (泰鸿公司).

This screenshot, taken on January 3, 2013, shows that a report on the New York Times expose published on the China-based Hexun web site here - http://hk.stock.hexun.com/2013-01-02/149701906.html - was deleted. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sina, Sohu, and Netease Repost Global Times Editorial (With Caveats)

This screenshot, taken on January 10, shows that Sina Weibo was censoring "Repost Global" (转载环球).
These screenshots show that three of China's main web portals - Sina, Sohu, and Netease - each reposted an editorial from the Global Times entitled  "Southern Weekend's 'Letter to Readers' Truly Makes One Ponder" (南方周末“致读者”实在令人深思 - read about that here - http://blog.feichangdao.com/2013/01/global-times-netease-and-sina-weibo.html).

The screenshots also show that in each case, the portal also posted these disclaimers (highlighted in red).
  • Sina: "Notice: Sina reposted this text with the goal of providing more information, and this should not be taken to mean that we approve of its viewpoint or support its depictions."  (声明:新浪网登载此文出于传递更多信息之目的,并不意味着赞同其观点或证实其描述。)
  • Sohu: "Notice: Any information that indicates it is from other media are reposts, and this does not represent that this web site approves of their viewpoint." (声明:凡注明为其它媒体来源的信息均为转载,不代表本网赞同其观点。)
  • Netease: "Notice: Any information that indicates it is from other media are reposts, and this does not represent that this web site approves of their viewpoint." (声明:凡注明为其它媒体来源的信息均为转载,不代表本网赞同其观点。)
These screenshots show other articles posted at the same time did not include these notices.

Sina Weibo Censors "Beijing News," Beijing News Waxes Philosophical, Internet Edition Omits Page With Global Times' Editorial

Beijing News waxes philosophical

Late in the evening on January 8, 2013, the state-sponsored Beijing News (新京报) posted the following on its Tencent Weibo: "Walk too fast and lose your soul. We should stop and pause, wait until our souls can keep up with our pace. - 'Beyond the Clouds' Good night." (走得太快,会把灵魂丢掉。应该停下来等一等,等灵魂追赶上我们的步伐。——《云上的日子》 晚安。)

Early in the morning on January 9, the Beijing News posted the following on its Tencent Weibo: "If you want something that you have never had before, then you need to do something you have never done before. Good morning." (如果你想要你从未拥有过的东西,那么你必须去做你从未做过的事。 早安。)

These screenshots show that between nine and eleven in the morning of January 9 Sina Weibo began censoring "Beijing News."

This screenshot was taken later in the day on January 9, and shows the message that greeted Internet users throughout that day who tried to access the online version of the January 9 edition of the Beijing News at this URL - http://epaper.bjnews.com.cn/html/2013-01/09/node_1.htm: "The page you are accessing could not be found, please try one of the following links".
Below, the right-hand screenshot shows that on January 9, an editorial from the Global Times entitled  "Southern Weekend's 'Letter to Readers' Truly Makes One Ponder" (南方周末“致读者”实在令人深思 - read about that here - http://blog.feichangdao.com/2013/01/global-times-netease-and-sina-weibo.html) appeared on page A20 of the hard-copy edition of the Beijing News.

The left hand screenshot, taken on January 10, shows that the Beijing News did not include page A20 in its online edition.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sina Weibo Begins Censoring Searches About Famous People Being Asked to Tea

On the evening of January 9, 2013, Kai-fu Lee posted the following on his Sina Weibo: "This tea is hard to swallow!" (好难喝的茶! - alternatively, "This tea tastes awful!").

Several minutes later, Lee posted the following: "From now on, only discuss East, West, and North, only discuss Monday through Friday" (从现在开始,只谈东西北方,只谈周一到周五。)

On January 10, Lee posted the following in response to a post from Ren Zhiqiang (任志强) saying "The first time." (第一次吧):
There's always a first time for everything, you approach them wholeheartedly, but do not let them vex you. You needn't ask me what is false and what is true, as I would that your doubts would be alliviated. For everything you do there was always the first time. I would that you would comprehend what is true and what is false.

一生总有第一次,何妨平淡试,何妨全力试。不要问我非与是,愿你疑虑尽释。奉献出第一次。愿你明白是非。
The English translation really doesn't do justice to the post, which was quite nuanced and poetic.
Two of Lee's posts.
These screenshots show that, on January 11, Sina Weibo began censoring "Asked to Tea Lee Kai-fu" (被喝茶 李开复).

At the same time it was also censoring "Asked to Tea Ren Zhiqiang" (被喝茶 任志强) and "Asked to Tea Yi Nengjing" (被喝茶 伊能静).
This screenshot shows that Sina Weibo was not censoring all queries containing "Asked to Tea" - in this example "Asked to tea Zhang Moumou" (被喝茶 张某某) returns a notice saying no results were found, but no censorship notice.

Communist Youth League Web Site Editorial Puts Southern Weekend In Its Place

On January 8, 2013, an editorial was published on China Youth Net (sponsored by by the Communist Party Youth League) entitled "The Southern Weekend is a Part of the Communist Party Newspaper Enterprise" (南方周末是党报事业的一部分).

These screenshots show that the editorial, originally available here -   http://pinglun.youth.cn/zqsp/201301/t20130108_2786487.htm - has since been deleted.

It remains available, however, on several other large portal websites, including:
Screenshot shows Sina Weibo censors searches for
"Freedom of the Press"
Some excerpts:
Some commentators believe that there can be no middle ground, its either you or me. Some go so far as to proclaim from on high that this is a struggle for the very life of freedom of the press. But these people have it all wrong - - China has always enjoyed freedom of the press, otherwise, how could "Southern Weekend" have come into being? Where did ten New Year's Greetings that everyone has so much praise for come from? If you say that the "Southern Weekend" has done a good job, then you're saying that China has ample freedom of the press.
. . . .
Everyone knows that Southern Weekend is part of the Southern Publishing Group, and that it is a sister publication of the Southern Daily. In other words, Southern Weekend is a part of the Chinese Communist Party's Guangdong Central Committee newspaper enterprise, and is a part of the Chinese Communist Party's Guangdong Central Committee Propaganda Department. In the course of carrying out the Party's propaganda work it is perfectly normal for internal differences of opinions, even arguments, contradictions, and disputes to occur. This has absolutely nothing to do with Constitutional governance or freedom of the press.
In socialist China, newspapers are tools of Party propaganda. The Party controls the media. This is an iron-clad principle that can be self-righteously shouted from the rooftops. A newspaper's utility lies in its ability to transmit the Party's guiding principles and to unite public opinion. Beyond that it can also drive out the bad and bring in the good, and deliver information from the people to the Party. Newspapers are the ears, eyes, and mouth of the Party, and so is the Southern Weekend - always has been, always will be.
. . . .
For the last 20 years, the Southern Weekend's every news article and editorial, every New Year's Greeting that everyone recalls as inspired, each and every one was spreading the Party's propaganda, was within the Party's fundamental policy framework, was a specific expression of the Party's propaganda goals, and was furthering the progressive development of the Party's enterprise. It must be understood that the Southern Weekend and the Party's propaganda enterprise are one-and-the-same, and are not isolated from one another, much less independent of one another. This is both an expression and proof of socialist freedom of the press.  
一些围观者人为,矛盾双方水火不容,必须你死我活。甚至有人无限拔高,认为这是对至高无上的新闻自由的誓死争取。这种认识差矣--中国向来新闻自由,否则,何来《南方周末》?何来众人击节赞叹的十数篇新年献词?如果说《南方周末》办得好,那就是中国新闻足够自由。
. . . .
众所周知,《南方周末》隶属于南方报业集团,《南方周末》就是《南方日报》的子报。再换句话说,《南方周末》是中共广东省委党报事业的一部分,是中共广东省委宣传工作的一部分。党的宣传工作在具体执行中,内部出现了意见不一致,甚至出现了争吵、矛盾和纠纷,都是再正常不过的事情。这与宪政、新闻自由等等,是八竿子也打不着的事情。
在社会主义中国,报纸是党的宣传工具。党管媒体,这是铁打的原则,可以理直气壮地告诉全世界。报纸的作用,就是传达党的方针政策,统一群众认识,此外还可激浊扬清、针砭时弊,给党传递来自基层的信息。报纸就是党的耳目喉舌,《南方周末》也是--过去是,现在是,未来还是。
. . . .
二十多年以来,《南方周末》所刊登的新闻报道、评论,以及大家记忆犹新的精彩的历年新年献词,宣传的都是党的理念,都在党的大政方针的框架之内,都是党的宣传意图的具体体现,都推动了党的事业向前发展。必须了解,《南方周末》和党的宣传事业向来都是统一的,而不是孤立的,更不是对立的。这也是社会主义新闻自由的体现和明证。

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Baidu and Other Search Engines Begin Censoring "Tuo Zhen"

These screenshots show that between January 3 and January 8 2013, Baidu began censoring search results for "Tuo Zhen" (庹震) and shut down its Tuo Zhen Tieba forum.

Tuo is currently the director of the Guangdong province Communist Party Propaganda Department, which oversees publication of the Southern Weekend (南方周末), which has been in the news recently:
Other search engines were also censoring searches for "Tuo Zhen" on January 8, including Sogou and Qihoo.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sina Weibo Features Southern People Weekly Anti-Censorship Post Beneath Southern Weekend Censorship Notices

These screenshots were taken on January 7, 2013, and show that searches on Sina Weibo for the Chinese characters "South" (南) and "End" (末) returned no results, just a censorship notice.
 This censorship coincided with a controversy regarding Southern Weekend's (南方周末) New Year's Greeting, which this blog has covered here:
The screenshots show that, as is standard practice at Sina Weibo, they have include several posts underneath the censorship notice. Generally, such posts have nothing to with the censored terms. Here, however, that appears not to be the case for two of the posts (highlighted in red). In these examples one of the posts is from June 6 from the Southern Weekend, and it reads:
Dear Readers: On January 3 this paper's New Year's Greeting was written by the editors to accompany the title of the "Pursuing the Dream"  special topic, and the introductory remarks on the cover were drafted by a responsible person at this paper. Rumors regarding this spreading on the Internet are false. Because time was rushed, production mistakes were made, and there were errors in the text. We apologize for this to all readers.
致读者:本报1月3日新年特刊所刊发的新年献词,系本报编辑配合专题“追梦”撰写,特刊封面导言系本报一负责人草拟,网上有关传言不实。由于时间仓促,工作疏忽,文中存在差错,我们就此向广大读者致歉。
The other post was published later on January 6 by the Southern People Weekly (a sister publication of  Southern Weekend), and consisted of an image of a person's mouth being covered by a hand and the person drawing a mouth on the hand, the text "Because this mouth is mine," and a quote from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.
历史将会记录,在这个社会转型期,最大的悲剧不是坏人的嚣张,而是好人的过度沉默。
Screenshot of the Southern People Weekly post.
Southern People Weekly post URL: http://e.weibo.com/1653460650/zdgaJkVzn

Monday, January 7, 2013

[Updated] Global Times, Netease, and Sina Weibo Censorship on Day Three of Outcry Over Southern Weekend New Year's Greeting


January 5 Coverage: http://blog.feichangdao.com/2013/01/websites-delete-articles-block.html
January 6 Coverage: http://blog.feichangdao.com/2013/01/baidu-and-other-search-engines-join.html

On the morning of January 7, 2013, the state-sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled "Southern Weekend's 'Letter to Readers' Truly Makes One Ponder" (南方周末“致读者”实在令人深思) here - http://opinion.huanqiu.com/editorial/2013-01/3454091.html. Some excerpts:
The matter of Southern Weekend's New Year's Greeting having "been modified" has been spreading over the Internet the last few days, with a Southern Weekend editor saying that the version that appeared in print had come from the Guangdong Party Committee Propaganda Department. Last night the Southern Weekend's official Weibo clarified the cause of this matter, and the truth is completely different from the version that has been circulating on the Internet. Also, based on what the Global Times has learned from its own independent channels, the "modified version" was actually not written by the Guangdong Party Committee Propaganda Department. 
But last night there was once again people who represented themselves as being Southern Weekend staff on Weibo posting accounts that conflicted with Southern Weekend's official Weibo, and it looks as though things have yet to completely settle down, and that there is division within Southern Weekend. 
The Southern Weekend storm has fermented over several days, but looked at closely, besides a few current Southern Weekend staff, most of the most active online participants are those who left the "Southern Weekend" some time ago, people who currently have no  connection with the news group, as well as Weibo personalities. They are in reality very disperesed, and use the Internet to communicate. Their most recent supporter is Chen Guangcheng, who is far-off in the United States. 
These people are making spirited demands, and while on the surface they are going after a specific person and event, its obvious to everyone watching that their target is the entire system that involves the media. 
Whether these people like it or not, this is common sense: given the current state of China's society and government, the kind of "free media" that these people yearn for in their hearts simply cannot exist. All of China's media can develop only to the extent China does, and media reform must remain part-and-parcel of China's overall reform, and the media absolutely will not become a "political special zone" of China. 
. . . .
 Even in the West, the mainstream media will not choose to openly oppose the government. 
南周新年献词“被改动”事件近日在互联网上扩散,有南周编辑称见报稿出自广东省委宣传部。昨晚南周的这条官方微博,把事情起因做了澄清,真相与前些天互联网流传的版本完全不同。另据环球时报通过自己的独立管道了解,所谓“改稿”确实不是广东省委宣传部所写。 
但在昨晚,微博上又有人贴出与南周官方微博对抗的南周部分人员签名信,看来事情尚未完全平息,南周内部似出现分裂。 
南周风波近日发酵,但仔细看,最积极在网上扩散的人除了有一些目前在南周工作,很多是早就离开《南方周末》、与该报系如今已没什么关系的人,还有一些微博活跃人士。他们在现实中很分散,通过互联网联系在一起。他们的最新支持者是远在美国的陈光诚。 
这些人提出的要求很激烈,表面上是针对具体的人和事,实际上谁都看得出,他们的矛头指向了与媒体有关的整个体制。 
不管这些人愿不愿意,有一个常识是:在中国今天的社会政治现实下,不可能存在这些人心中向往的那种“自由媒体”。中国所有媒体的发展只能是同中国大现实相对应的,媒体改革必须是中国整体改革的一部分,媒体决不会成为中国的“政治特区”。 
. . . .
即使在西方,主流媒体也不会选择同政府公开对抗。 
This video was taken in the afternoon of January 7, and shows that the article has been replaced with a 404 error message.


Update January 8, 2013: These screenshots show that the Global Times reposted the editorial at a new URL later in the afternoon on January 7 - http://opinion.huanqiu.com/editorial/2013-01/3457134.html.

Also on January 7, Netease posted a series of photos here - http://news.163.com/photoview/00AN0001/30869.html - under the heading "Mass Demonstration Outside Southern Media Group's Building in Guangzhou" (广州南方报社楼前现游行人群). An excerpt:
On January 7, a mass demonstration took place in front of the Southern Media Group's building in Guangzhou, calling for justice for the "Southern Weekend." Previously, the 2013 Southern Weekend New Year's Greeting was subjected to revisions by higher-ups. On the evening of January 6, the Southern Weekend's official Weibo published information clarifying that the New Year's Greet was written by that paper's editors, and the online rumors were false. At the same time, many Southern Weekend editors and journalists express their opposition, saying they had already lost control over official Weibo's account. 
1月7日,广州南方报社大楼前聚集人群,声援《南方周末》,此前,2013《南方周末》新年献词传遭上级领导修改。1月6日晚,《南方周末》官方微博发布消息澄清,新年献词系本报编辑所写,网络传言不实。与此同时,《南方周末》多名编辑记者表示抗议,称已经失去对官微账号的控制。
Screenshot showing Netease report on protests before it was deleted.
That report was also deleted on the afternoon of January 7.

Sina Weibo censoring the individual characters in "Southern Weekend":
南,方,周,末
Sina Weibo censoring "Southern Weekend" in English,
Pinyin, and the pinyin abbreviation.
Sina Weibo censoring the word "censorship."
Sina Weibo censoring "289," the street number of Southern Weekend.
Sina Weibo censoring "collective announcement."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Baidu and Other Search Engines Join Sina Weibo In Censoring Southern Weekend New Years Greeting Controversy


The censorship of information and discussion on the Southern Weekend New Year's Greeting controversy discussed yesterday here - http://blog.feichangdao.com/2013/01/websites-delete-articles-block.html - continued today. Here are some screenshots showing the most recent examples.

Screenshots showing that Baidu began restricting search results for the original title of the Southern Weekend New Year's Greeting - "Chinese Dream, The Dream of Constitutionalism" (中国梦 宪政梦) - to its broad white list.

Screenshots showing that Baidu began restricting search results for "Southern Weekend Open Letter" (南方周末 公开信) to its broad white list.

Screenshots taken on January 6 showing Qihoo and Sogou were restricting search results for "Southern Weekend" (南方周末) to their broad white lists.

Screenshots showing that Sina Weibo began censoring "The Chinese Dream" (中国梦)

Screenshot taken on January 6 showing that Sina Weibo is censoring "1034," an apparent reference a comment posted on a  Southern Weekend Weibo post saying "Based on incompletely statistics, in 2012 the Southern Weekend's editorial board's articles were altered or deleted a total of 1034 times." (据不完全统计,2012年南方周末编辑部被改撤稿件共1034篇)