Showing posts from March, 2014

US Court Rules Baidu Enjoys Freedom of Speech, Baidu Bans Forums on “Freedom of Speech”

According to a March 27 report by Reuters : Chinese Internet company Baidu Inc on Thursday won the dismissal of a U.S. lawsuit by pro-democracy activists who complained that Baidu illegally suppressed political speech on China's most widely used Internet search engine. Eight New York writers and video producers had accused Baidu of creating search engine algorithms, at the behest of China, to block users in the United States from viewing articles, videos and other information advocating greater democracy in China. . . . . U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan, however, concluded that the results produced by Baidu's search engine constituted protected free speech under the U.S. Constitution, warranting dismissal of the May 2011 lawsuit. "The First Amendment protects Baidu's right to advocate for systems of government other than democracy (in China or elsewhere) just as surely as it protects plaintiffs' rights to advocate for democracy," the judge wro

After Person Reportedly Commits Suicide Baidu Censors Searches for Their Name (Again)

At 10:15 am on March 26, 2014, the state-sponsored magazine Caixin published an article on its web site entitled “SCIO Deputy Director Li Wufeng Commits Suicide by Jumping Out a Window” (国新办副主任李伍峰坠楼). The article, originally available here: ,  was deleted in less than an hour. These screenshots show that, within hours of the article being pulled down, Baidu began censoring searches for “Li Wufeng Commits Suicide by Jumping Out a Window (李伍峰坠楼). These screenshots were taken on March 27, about 24 hours after Baidu began censoring Li's name, but there is no indication that either Sina Weibo or Qihoo were censoring searches "Li Wufeng." But then again, neither is there any information on Sina Weibo or the first page of Qihoo's results that is more recent than December 2013. This is not the first time Baidu has censored information relating to an alleged suicide. For example, in February 2014, Baidu began

Sina Weibo Censors Searches for Yangzhuang Coal Mine Strike in Feicheng, Shandong

In the last week of February, 2014, posts such as the following began appearing on Sina Weibo. The post reads: Shandong Feicheng city, over 1,000 coal miners went on strike at the Feicheng Yangzhuang coal mine because they had not been paid for six months. Big strike, repay salaries, return the blood and sweat of the Yangzhuang miners to us. Workers’ salaries were last paid back in August, now prices for goods are so high, will you or will you not let ordinary Chinese survive . . . . 山东省肥城市,因半年未领到工资,肥城杨庄煤矿上千工人罢工. 大罢工讨要工资,杨庄人的血汗线还给我们。工人的工资才发到去年的8月份,现在的物价这么高,还让不让老百姓生存了. . . . These screenshots show that on February 26, 2014, Sina Weibo began censoring search results for “Over 1,000 Workers Strike at Feicheng’s Yangzhuang Coal Mine” (肥城杨庄煤矿上千工人罢工).

United Nations Statement on Cao Shunli Disappears From Baidu's Search Results

On March 18, 2014, a statement entitled “ Deadly Reprisals: UN Experts Deplore the Events Leading to the Death of Chinese Human Rights Defender Cao Shunli, and Ask for Full Investigation ” ( 致命报复:联合国专家对导致中国维权人士曹顺利死亡的事件表示痛惜,并要求予以彻查 ) was published on the web site of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. An excerpt: A group of UN experts today expressed their dismay concerning the death of Cao Shunli in hospital on 14 March, and extended their sincere condolences to her family and friends. Ms. Cao was a prominent human rights lawyer in China who had tirelessly campaigned since 2008 for transparency and greater participation of civil society in the second universal periodic review (UPR) of China’s human rights record by the UN Human Rights Council. On 14 September 2013, Ms. Cao was prevented by Chinese authorities from boarding a flight from Beijing to Geneva where she was to participate in a human rights seminar and observe China’s UPR. Ms. Cao’s whe

Sina Identifies Censorship and Real Name Risks in Its Weibo IPO Filing

According to March 15, 2014 article in the state-sponsored China Daily : Twitter-like messaging service Weibo Corp filed on March 14 to raise $500 million via a US initial public offering, as Chinese companies flock to the American market in record numbers to take advantage of soaring valuations. Weibo, owned by Sina Corp, becomes the latest Chinese Internet giant to tap US markets, following on the heels of search service Baidu and its own corporate parent. Alibaba, which owns a stake in Weibo, is expected to raise about $15 billion in New York this year, in the highest-profile Internet IPO since Facebook's in 2012. Weibo increased ad revenue by 163 percent to $56 million in the final three months of 2013. Overall revenues leapt almost three-fold to $188.3 million in 2013, from $65.9 million in 2012. And its net loss shrank to $38.1 million in 2013 from $102.5 million the previous year. Sina's F1 is available here:

Hours After Cao Shunli Reportedly Dies in Custody, Baidu and Tencent Begin Censoring Her Name

On March 14, 2014, overseas media reported that Cao Shunli (曹顺利) had died in detention. These screenshots show that Baidu and Tencent began censoring searches for her name around the same time as her death was being reported.

Watch: Reports of Wang Qishan Complaining About Formalistic Speeches Disappear

Report on prior to it being deleted. On March 11, 2014, several of China’s state run media outlets published a report entitled “Wang Qishan Tells Jilin Party Secretary to ‘Cut It’: Don’t Read of a Script Formalistically!” (王岐山“叫停”吉林省委书记念稿:形式主义别念了!). According to these reports, Wang Qishan, head of the Communist Party’s internal discipline commission and one of seven members of the party’s Politburo Standing Committee, interrupted Jilin party secretary Wang Rulin (王儒林) in the middle of his reading a speech saying: “Make it short!” (讲短点). According to these reports Wang Rulin replied “I may not be able to shorten it,” to which Wang Qishan responded: Just now I didn’t have a script, so how is it that you knew and printed out so much ahead of time? Isn’t this just formalism? There’s no need for you to keep reading! 我刚才又没稿子,你怎么知道并事先打印出来那么多呢?这不是形式主义么?你不用念了! These screenshots show that Sina Weibo began censoring searches for "Wang Qishan Jilin Party Secretary" (王岐

On Day of Two Sessions, Sina Weibo Censors Searches Relating to Violence and Fire In Tiananmen Square

China held the opening meeting of the second session of the 12th NPC at the Great Hall of the People at Tiananmen Square on March 5, 2014. These screenshots show that on that afternoon Sina Weibo began censoring searches for “Tiananmen Burning” (天安门 燃烧) and “Tiananmen Violence” (天安门 暴动).

Baidu Censors Social Media Results From Searches for Former Politburo Member's Sons' Names

He Guoqiang (贺国强) is a retired Communist Party official. Previously he was a member of the Politburo Standing Committee and the Secretary of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. These screenshots show that on February 20, 2014, Baidu increased its censorship of “He Jintao” (贺锦涛)  and “He Jinlei” (贺锦雷) - the names  of He Guoqiang’s sons. In both cases, on February 19 a search for their names restricted to results on returned results that were mostly from Sina’s blogging and forum services. The following day the same search excluded results from those services (so in the case of He Jinlei there were apparently no other results to be displayed, so Baidu just showed a censorship notice).

Official's Warning About Threat Posed by Party Cadres' Work Style Gets Censored

On February 17, 2014, the state sponsored web site published an article entitled “Zhejiang Secretary: Western Hostile Forces Are Using Our Work Style to Drive a Wedge Into the Party-Public Relationship” (浙江书记:西方敌对势力用作风问题离间干群关系). Some excerpts: Zhejiang Party Secretary Xia Baolong said that endless paperwork and meetings are a common phenomenon, the reason being that many leading local cadres are used to using meetings to set up more meetings, and using paperwork to create more paperwork. Some leading cadres like to go around reviewing their departments followed by a coterie of hangers-on, having happy crowds welcome them and see them off, listen to report. They great good news with a smile and bad news with anger, leading their subordinates to report the good and bury the bad and be unwilling to speak the truth. The root of these problems lies within the cadres themselves. . . . . Xia Baolong said with a deep sense of feeling that Western hostile forces are continually us