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Monday, June 30, 2014

State Media Details Detention of 17 Sina Internet Editors in Police Raid

On May 29, 2014, the state sponsored Southern Weekend published an article entitled “Why Are We  Screening You?” (“为什么要屏蔽你?”) Some excerpts:
After working hard all day, Wu Feng, an editor in Sina's online book division, had finally finished all his tasks, and checked the time. It was already 7:30 pm.

The day was April 11, 2014. On a normal day the office would have long since emptied out. But this was not a normal day, and Wu Feng's 16 coworkers were still immersed in their work. Early that morning the editorial department had "received information": a new round of "sweeping out porn and attacking illegal publications" had begun, and every employee had to stay to delete the "little yellow books" on the Book Channel. They had to "hide the bodies and destroy the evidence" before the relevant organs conducted an inspection.

Wu Feng had planned to head home, but at the last minute didn't leave. His colleagues saw him as a "old hand," and he felt he should wait patiently and leave with the other editors. It wouldn't hurt to wait for a bit.

But just ten minutes later he would regret this decision. At 7:40, law enforcement personnel forced their way into the office without warning, and took away 17 editors as the first move in the campaign.

Friends and relatives quickly noticed that the editors had "disappeared," and they called Sina's editorial department, where they all received an identical response: "The 17 editors have gone abroad on business."

Wu Feng's 10 minute delay turned into a one month "trip abroad." His "return home" was relatively quick. At the time of this report, six of the seventeen editors remained in custody.

The riddle of the "disappearance" was only solved on April 16. On that day, Sina Books and Sina Video (Beijing Sina Internet Information Service Company) each received a "Beijing Culture Market Administrative Enforcement Hearing Notice" from the Beijing Culture Market Administrative Enforcement Unit. The Notice stated the "intent to revoke" the "Internet Publishing License" and "Internet Audio-Visual Transmission License" and impose sanctions.

Revocation of these two "Licenses" is one of the most severe attacks a website can suffer.
. . . .
Human screening requires speed. For a screener "speed reading is a basic skill." So-called speed reading means taking no more than 15 seconds to read 1,000 words. Based on this speed, during a sensitive time a screener must work at least 11-12 hours a day. As [one screener] told the Souther Weekend, "No matter how much you like to read novels, reading 3,000,000 words in one day is enough to make you want to puke."
. . . .
Despite all this, after the "great cleansing" began, even the most professional screeners were still faced with a new problem: during this time, what is the standard? Where is the scale?

No one could provide an answer. The only thing to do was for each website to "expand the vocabulary" of the dictionary of banned terms that they had been using.
. . . .
In order comply with the censorship, websites often remain on standby awaiting orders 24 hours a day. Once, the Internet police sent an order to a certain literary website at 7:50 am, informing them they had half an hour to delete all discussion regarding a certain word.

By the time the editors arrived at the office, it was already 9:30. The editors couldn't believe their eyes: by that time the second warning had long since arrived.
The editors scurried to delete what they were supposed to, but they were too late. The website was ordered to shut down for 12 hours. After that, this literary website, which had nothing to do with news, immediately set up a system of round-the-clock rotating editors in order to ensure there was someone on duty 24 hours a day.

忙了一整天,新浪读书编辑吴峰终于干完了自己手上的活,看看时间,已是19:30。

这天是2014年4月11日。按往常,办公室里早就没了人影。可这天不一样,吴峰的16位同事还在埋头苦干——一大早,编辑部就“收到消息”:新一轮“扫黄打非”要开始了,所有工作人员都要留下来删查读书频道里的“小黄书”。在有关部门检查之前,必须“毁尸灭迹”。

吴峰本打算回家,但他最终还是没有动。作为大伙儿眼里的“老好人”,他觉得自己应该耐心等待其他编辑下班一起走,哪怕再等到一个也好。

但十分钟后,他就为自己的这个决定后悔了。19:40,公安执法人员毫无预兆地破门而入,带走了“顶风作案”的17个编辑。

亲友们很快发现编辑们“不见了”,他们打电话到新浪总部,收到的统一回复是:“17个编辑集体出国出差了。”

吴峰迟走了十分钟,于是“出国”了一个多月。他算“回家”快的。截至南方周末记者发稿前,17名编辑中还有6位仍处于拘留状态。

“失踪”之谜到4月16日才真正解开。这天,新浪读书和新浪视频(北京新浪互联信息服务有限公司)分别收到了来自北京市文化市场行政执法总队下发的《北京市文化市场行政执法听证告知书》,内容是“拟吊销”其《互联网出版许可证》和《信息网络传播视听节目许可证》,并处以罚款。

吊销两个“许可证”是对网站最为严厉的打击之一。
. . . .
人工排查需要速度。对审读编辑来说,“速读是基本功”——所谓速读,是阅读千字至少不能低于15秒。按照这个速度,审读员在敏感时期每天至少要工作十一二个小时,“再喜欢看小说,一天看300万字,也会想吐。”华雪城对南方周末记者说。
. . . .
即便如此,“大清查”开始后,专业素质过硬的审读编辑们还是遇到了新难题:这一回,标准是什么?尺度在哪儿?

没人能回答。各网站只好在以往的违禁词标准上,“扩大词汇量”。
. . . .
为配合审查,网站常常得24小时待命。曾经有一次,网监在早晨7:50时发信警告某文学网,通知他们半小时内必须删掉所有关于某个词的违禁讨论。

可等编辑们到了办公室,已经是早上9:30。编辑们傻了眼:此时,第二封警告信也早就到了。

编辑们七手八脚把该删的删了,但还是超时太多。网站被勒令关闭12个小时。在这之后,这个不涉及新闻的文学网立即增设了值班编辑轮岗制度,保证24小时有人在岗。

Translation: Measures on the Administration of Information Acquired by News Professionals in the Course of Business

GAPPRFT No. 75[2014]

Notice Regarding Promulgation of the "Measures on the Administration of Information Acquired by News Professionals in the Course of Business"

The press and publication offices of each province (district, municipal), the press and publication office of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Brigade, and  the periodical publications administration offices of each agency, democratic party, and civic organization of the Communist Party and the central government, and major media outlets of the Communist Party:

In recent years, we have occasionally observed instances of news professionals misusing information they acquired in the course of business. Some have violated state secrets laws and regulations and willfully disseminated and transmitted information that implicated secrets. Some have published information they acquired through their professional activities on the Internet without authorization. Some have published reports through other domestic and and overseas media outlets that their own media outlets would not publish. Others have used their media outlets' resources to obtain improper benefits. This has interfered with the normal order of news publishing, and harm the interests of the Party and the government. In order to thoroughly strengthen the administration of information news professionals acquire in the course of business, in accordance with the Law on the Protection of State Secrets and other relevant laws and regulations, this office has formulated the "Measures on the Administration of Information Acquired by News Professionals in the Course of Business" which are hereby promulgated and which you are requested to carry out and implement.

State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television
June 30, 2014

Article 1. In order to strengthen the administration of information news professionals acquire in the course of business and regulate news broadcasting order, these Measures are hereby formulated in accordance with the "Law on the Protection of State Secrets," "Labor Contract Law," "Copyright Law," and other relevant laws and regulations.

Article 2. As used in these Measures, "the administration of information news professionals acquire in the course of business" shall refer to all types of information, source material, and news products obtained by any journalist, editor, announcer, host or other news gathering and compiling employees as well as all other news professionals engaged in the provision of technical and other support activities through interviews, participation in meetings, or documents overheard,  transmitted, or read in the course of business activities, including state secrets, commercial secrets, and information that has not been publicly disclosed.

Article 3. News outlets shall adhere to the principles of obeying the law, pursuing that which is beneficial and avoiding that which is harmful, managing and utilizing well, and administrating and overseeing to the extent possible. They shall strengthen their administration of information acquired in the course of business, and ensure that information acquired in the course of business shall be utilized in a scientific, rational, regulated, and orderly manner.

Article 4. News outlets shall establish comprehensive systems for safeguarding  classified information, and shall clearly designate the scope of individuals and secrecy period for news professionals who may come into contact with state secret information in the course of their professional activities. They shall establish  systems for the receiving, transmitting, utilizing, copying, storing and destroying state secret materials.

News professionals shall, upon assuming their position, undergo education and training in confidentiality and sign a document whereby they commit to safeguard classified information.

Article 5. News outlets shall, in accordance with relevant provisions of the "Labor Contract Law," enter into confidentiality agreements for information acquired through professional activities with all news professionals with regards to commercial secrets, information that has not yet been made public, business-related works and all other confidential matters relating to intellectual property, and shall establish unified management systems for information acquired through business  activities.

Confidentiality agreements must specify duties and consequences of breach with respect to rights and utilization of information acquired by news professionals  through business activities, including post-resignation and post-retirement.

News professionals may not, in violation the provisions of their confidentiality agreements, provide information obtained in the course of their business activities to overseas media outlets, or take on a position with an overseas media outlet such  as a "stringer," "correspondent," "contributor," or columnist.

Article 6. New professionals may not use information obtained in the course of business to obtain inappropriate benefits.

Article 7. Any news professional who establishes a blog, micro-blog, weixin, etc. in their professional capacity must first register with and obtain the approval of their employer, which shall have the responsibility to maintain day-to-day oversight.

News professionals may not, in violation of their confidentiality agreement, disclose or disseminate information obtained in the course of business either through any channels such as public or private blogs, micro-blogs, or wexin, or in any venues such as forums or lectures.

Article 8. Upon resignation or retirement all news professionals shall surrender all materials and documents that implicate secrets, and shall fulfill their duty to safeguard secrets during the relevant time frame in accordance with laws, regulations, and their confidentiality agreement.

Article 9. State Secret Security Commitment Letters and Business Information Confidentiality Agreements shall be required documentation for the hiring and employment all news professionals, and no one may be hired or employed without executing them.

Article 10. When applying for or revising their journalist credentials, journalists and editors must, in accordance with the provisions of the "Measures on the Administration of Journalist Credentials," submit relevant declaratory materials, which materials shall include their State Secret Security Commitment Letter and Business Information Confidentiality Agreement, without which no journalist credentials shall be approved and issued.

Article 11. News outlets shall, when conducting annual reviews of journalist credentials, submit a report to the press, publication, radio, film and television agency on the implementation status of their news professionals' execution of  State Secret Security Commitment Letters and Business Information Confidentiality Agreements.

Article 12. If a news professional violates the provisions of their State Secret Security Commitment Letter or Business Information Confidentiality Agreement and utilizes information obtained in the course of business without authorization, their news outlet shall pursue legal recourse for breach of contract, as well as administrative sanctions and disciplinary measures, as well as civil liability.

Article 13. The government agencies that oversee and sponsor news outlets shall supervise the establishment of comprehensive secrecy commitment and confidentiality agreement systems and the fulfillment of administrative duties for the news outlets under their jurisdiction. Press, publication, radio, film and television administration agencies shall strengthen the day-to-day oversight and supervision of the administration of information acquired in the course of business by the news outlets in their respective administrative districts.

Article 14. If a news professional publishes information obtained in the course of business without authorization resulting in severe consequences, the press, publication, radio, film and television administration agency shall revoke their journalist credentials in accordance with the law, make a record of their unprofessional actions, and impose on them a professional ban or restriction.

Article 15. Press, publication, radio, film and television administration agencies shall impose sanctions upon any news outlet that fails to correctly manage information acquired by news professionals in the course of business, and where severe problems arise such as leaking and disclosure of secrets, blackmail and extortion, or infringements on rights, the press, publication, radio, film and television administration agency shall investigate and order rectification in accordance with the law. Those who refuse or fail to rectify shall not be allowed to pass annual inspection. Where circumstances are severe the agency shall revoke the outlets  license and pursue those individuals at the news outlet who bear direct responsibility.

Article 16. News professionals who violate regulations and utilize information obtained in the course of business and leak or disclose secrets shall be subject to professional sanctions, and those who are suspected of commiting crimes shall be handed over to law enforcement agencies for punishment.

Article 17. These Measures shall become effective on the date of promulgation.

http://press.gapp.gov.cn/reporter/contents/245/211789.html

新广出发〔2014〕75号
关于印发《新闻从业人员职务行为信息管理办法》的通知

各省(区、市)新闻出版广电局,新疆生产建设兵团新闻出版局,中央和国家机关各部委、各民主党派、各人民团体报刊主管部门,中央主要新闻单位:
   
近年来,新闻从业人员滥用职务行为信息的现象时有出现。有的违反保密法规随意散布、传播涉密信息,有的擅自将职务活动中知悉的信息通过网络平台发布,有的将本新闻单位未播发的报道交由其他境内外媒体刊播,有的利用新闻单位资源谋取不正当利益,干扰了正常的新闻传播秩序,损害了党和国家利益。为切实加强新闻从业人员职务行为信息的管理,根据《保守国家秘密法》等有关法律法规,总局制定了《新闻从业人员职务行为信息管理办法》,现予以印发,请认真贯彻执行。

国家新闻出版广电总局
2014年6月30日

新闻从业人员职务行为信息管理办法


第一条 为加强新闻从业人员职务行为信息的管理,规范新闻传播秩序,根据《保守国家秘密法》、《劳动合同法》、《著作权法》等有关法律法规,制定本办法。

第二条 本办法所称新闻从业人员职务行为信息,是指新闻单位的记者、编辑、播音员、主持人等新闻采编人员及提供技术支持等辅助活动的其他新闻从业人员,在从事采访、参加会议、听取传达、阅读文件等职务活动中,获取的各类信息、素材以及所采制的新闻作品,其中包含国家秘密、商业秘密、未公开披露的信息等。

第三条 新闻单位要坚持依法依规、趋利避害、善管善用、可管可控的原则,加强职务行为信息管理,确保新闻从业人员职务行为信息使用科学合理、规范有序。

第四条 新闻单位应健全保密制度,对新闻从业人员在职务行为中接触的国家秘密信息,应明确知悉范围和保密期限,健全国家秘密载体的收发、传递、使用、复制、保存和销毁制度,禁止非法复制、记录、存储国家秘密,禁止在任何媒体以任何形式传递国家秘密,禁止在私人交往和通信中涉及国家秘密。

新闻从业人员上岗应当经过保密教育培训,并签订保密承诺书。

第五条 新闻单位应按照《劳动合同法》的有关规定,与新闻从业人员就职务行为信息中的商业秘密、未公开披露的信息、职务作品等与知识产权相关的保密事项,签订职务行为信息保密协议,建立职务行为信息统一管理制度。

保密协议须分类明确新闻从业人员职务行为信息的权利归属、使用规范、离岗离职后的义务和违约责任。

新闻从业人员不得违反保密协议的约定,向其他境内外媒体、网站提供职务行为信息,或者担任境外媒体的“特约记者”、“特约通讯员”、“特约撰稿人”或专栏作者等。

第六条 新闻从业人员不得利用职务行为信息谋取不正当利益。

第七条 新闻从业人员以职务身份开设博客、微博、微信等,须经所在新闻单位批准备案,所在单位负有日常监管职责。

新闻从业人员不得违反保密协议的约定,通过博客、微博、微信公众账号或个人账号等任何渠道,以及论坛、讲座等任何场所,透露、发布职务行为信息。

第八条 新闻从业人员离岗离职要交回所有涉密材料、文件,在法律规定或协议约定的保密期限内履行保密义务。

第九条 新闻单位须将签署保密承诺书和职务行为信息保密协议,作为新闻从业人员劳动聘用和职务任用的必要条件,未签订的不得聘用和任用。

第十条 新闻采编人员申领、换领新闻记者证,须按照《新闻记者证管理办法》的规定提交有关申报材料,申报材料中未包含保密承诺书和职务行为信息保密协议的,不予核发新闻记者证。

第十一条 新闻单位应在参加新闻记者证年度核验时,向新闻出版广电行政部门报告新闻从业人员保密承诺书和保密协议签订、执行情况。

第十二条 新闻从业人员违反保密承诺和保密协议、擅自使用职务行为信息的,新闻单位应依照合同追究违约责任,视情节作出行政处理或纪律处分,并追究其民事责任。

第十三条 新闻单位的主管主办单位应督促所属新闻单位健全保密承诺和保密协议制度,履行管理责任;新闻出版广电行政部门应加强本行政区域内新闻单位职务行为信息管理情况的日常监督检查。

第十四条 新闻从业人员擅自发布职务行为信息造成严重后果的,由新闻出版广电行政部门依法吊销新闻记者证,列入不良从业行为记录,做出禁业或限业处理。

第十五条 新闻单位对新闻从业人员职务行为信息管理混乱,造成失密泄密、敲诈勒索、侵权等严重问题的,由新闻出版广电行政部门等依法查处,责令整改,对拒不改正或整改不到位的不予通过年度核验,情节严重的撤销许可证,并依法追究新闻单位负责人和直接责任人的责任。

第十六条 新闻从业人员违反规定使用职务行为信息造成失密泄密的,依法追究相关人员责任,涉嫌违法犯罪的移送司法机关处理。

第十七条 本办法自发布之日起施行。

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Baidu's PostBar Forums Provide Useful Context for China's 2013 Human Rights White Paper

On May 26, 2014, the state sponsored China Daily reported:
The Chinese government on Monday released a white paper detailing the progress made in human rights in 2013, highlighting enhanced social fairness, justice and freedom of speech.
"China's progress in its human rights undertaking is there for everybody to see, and every unbiased and reasonable observer can draw a fair conclusion," said the white paper, published by the State Council Information Office under the title "Progress in China's Human Rights in 2013."
Here are some excerpts from the White Paper’s section on Freedom of Speech, along with some screenshots (courtesy of this blog) showing what happens when users search for related terms on Baidu's PostBar (贴吧 Tieba) forums.

From the White Paper: "Chinese people enjoy extensive freedom of speech."(中国社会存在广泛的言论自由。)

The above screenshot shows that a search for "Freedom of Speech" (言论自由) on Baidu PostBar returns a notice saying "Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, this forum may not be opened at this time." (抱歉,根据相关法律法规和政策,本吧暂不开放。)

From the White Paper: "Research and discussion in academic fields cover politics, society, culture and other aspects." (学术领域的探索和讨论,涵盖政治、社会、文化等各个方面。)

The above screenshot shows that a search for "Politics" (政治) on Baidu PostBar returns a notice saying "Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, this forum may not be opened at this time." (抱歉,根据相关法律法规和政策,本吧暂不开放。)

From the White Paper: "Within the range allowed by the Constitution and other laws, the public can discuss political issues freely." (在宪法和法律的范围内,公众都可以对各种政治问题进行自由的讨论。)
The above screenshot shows that a search for "Constitution" (宪法) on Baidu PostBar returns a notice saying "Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, this forum may not be opened at this time." (抱歉,根据相关法律法规和政策,本吧暂不开放。)

From the White Paper: "Important government policies are widely discussed before and after being adopted, and opinions from all quarters can be fully expressed." (政府的重要政策都会在事前和事后得到广泛讨论,各方面立场的意见都能充分表达。)

The above screenshot shows that a search for "Government" (政府) on Baidu PostBar returns a notice saying "Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, this forum may not be opened at this time." (抱歉,根据相关法律法规和政策,本吧暂不开放。)

From the White Paper: "The popularization and improvement of the Internet have dramatically expanded the space of freedom of speech." (互联网的普及和完善,极大地扩展了言论自由空间。)
 The above screenshot shows that a search for "Freedom" (in English) on Baidu PostBar returns a notice saying "Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, this forum may not be opened at this time." (抱歉,根据相关法律法规和政策,本吧暂不开放。) 

From the White Paper:
"The public can express opinions through Internet forums, Netnews, blog/personal webpages, social networking websites, network literature, network videos, microblogs, IM and other Internet platforms. Netizens post an immense number of opinions all the time."
公众可以通过网络论坛、网络新闻、博客/个人空间、社交网站、网络文学、网络视频、微博、即时通信等多种互联网平台发表言论。
The above screenshot shows that a search for "Rights" (权利) on Baidu PostBar returns a notice saying "Apologies, in accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, this forum may not be opened at this time." (抱歉,根据相关法律法规和政策,本吧暂不开放。)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Liu Ping Convicted of "Using an Evil Cult to Undermine Law Enforcement"

Liu Ping
 On June 19, 2014, the Yushui District People’s Court in Xinyu, Jiangxi sentenced Li Sihua (李思华) to three years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” (寻衅滋事), and sentenced Liu Ping (刘萍) and Wei Zhongping (魏忠平) to six and a half years in prison for “picking quarrels and provoking troubles” (寻衅滋事), “gathering a crowd to disrupt order in a public place” (聚众扰乱公共场所秩序), and “using an evil cult to undermine law enforcement” (利用邪教组织破坏法律实施).

The evidence cited by the court in support of Liu’s conviction for “using an evil cult to undermine law enforcement” consisted of a list of QQ and Skype chats from August 18, 2012, in which Liu “transmitted information that Falun Gong member Mr. Hou had ‘been persecuted.’” The court ruled:
Defendant Liu Ping . . .  transmitted information on the Internet that Falun Gong members had been persecuted, with the intent to cause others to make appeals and pay attention, creating a malicious influence. ("被告人刘萍。 。 。 在互联网上散发法轮功组织人员“被迫害“信息,意图引发他人声援围观,造成恶劣影响。")
Page from Liu Ping's Sentencing Document

Sunday, June 22, 2014

As June 22 Hong Kong Referendum Approaches, Sina Weibo Censors "622 Referendum"

On June 21, 2014, the state sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled “HK ‘Referendum’ Illegal and Useless.” Some excerpts:
The so-called referendum organized by opposition activists in Hong Kong aims to push for reform in the 2017 election of the Special Administrative Region's (SAR) next leader - the organizers are calling for public nomination of candidates instead of them being nominated by a committee as stipulated by the Basic Law.

The SAR government has made it clear that the "referendum" is illegal, and that the result of the vote is not legally binding.
. . . .
The opposition groups, who refuse to accept the essence of the Basic Law and the white paper, are trying to use the "referendum" and "Occupy Central" movement to scare off the central government.
These screenshots show that on June 21, Sina Weibo began censoring search results for “622 Referendum” (622公投).

These screenshots show that, at around the same time, Sina Weibo began censoring search results for “Occupy Central” (占领中环).


These screenshots were taken on June 21, and show that both Baidu and Tencent Weibo were censoring search results for “Occupy Central.”

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

People on Sina Weibo With Profile Photos of Cute Young Women Agree: Civil Rights Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang is Guilty and Should Be Punished

On June 13, 2014, the Beijing Public Security Office posted a notice on its official Sina Weibo saying:
Following authorization from the Procuratorate, on June 13, 2014, the Beijing Public Security Bureau has arrested Pu Zhiqiang on suspicion of the committing the crimes of picking quarrels and illegally obtaining people's personal information. The Public Security Bureau is currently carrying out further investigation into other crimes that Pu Zhiqiang is suspected of committing.
经检察机关批准,2014年6月13日,北京市公安局以涉嫌寻衅滋事罪、非法获取公民个人信息罪对浦志强依法执行逮捕。对浦志强涉嫌的其他犯罪事实,公安机关正在进一步侦查中。
This screenshot shows the Beijing PSB's Sina Weibo posts, along with translations of some comments left by Weibo users.


On June 11, 2014, several Sina Weibo users who did not use images of cute young women as their profile photos, for example lawyer Luo Changping (罗昌平) and Lawyer's Digest (律师文摘), posted an account of a recent meeting between Pu and his Lawyer Zhang Sizhi (张思之), but it was quickly deleted.

Original URLs:
Similarly, Zhang Xuezhong (张雪忠), another lawyer representing Pu Zhiqiang, published an essay entitled "What Crime Has Lawyer Pu Zhiqiang Committed?" (浦志强律师何罪之有?). As this screenshot shows, searches for the title of that essay on Sina Weibo returned no results, just a censorship notice.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Caixin Report Provides Context for Baidu's 2011 Censorship of Search Resutls for "CCTV Baidu"

On August 15, 2011, China's state-run television broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) launched the first in a series of critical reports about Baidu. As described in an August 18 report on the state-sponsored China.org.cn website:
Over the past few days, CCTV has broadcast a series of reports showing Baidu helped unlicensed pharmaceutical companies circumvent government regulations to appear at the top of its search results.
CCTV has also criticized "slanderous posts" by Internet users on the company's Tieba forums, which Baidu has allegedly refused to delete.
Within days of CCTV’s reports, Baidu (and only Baidu) began censoring results for "CCTV Baidu" (both "CCTV 百度" and "央视 百度"). The screenshots below were taken on August 21, 2011, and show that at that time searches for these terms on Baidu web search and news search returned a notice saying "Search results may not comply with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, and have not been displayed" (搜索结果可能不符合相关法律法规和政策,未予显示。).


On June 1, 2014, the state-sponsored China Daily published a report entitled “CCTV Exec Suspected of Bribery: Procuratorate.” According to that report: “The two suspects are Guo Zhenxi, director-general of CCTV finance and economics channel and advertising director concurrently, and Tian Liwu, a producer of the channel.”

On June 16, 2014, the state-sponsored Caixin Magazine published a report entitled “A Peace Offering From CCTV’s ‘Big Boss’ Guo Zhenxi” (央视“大管家”郭振玺折戟). Some excerpts:
In August 2011, for four days several CCTV programs including "Economy Half-Hour," "Economics and Law," and "Economic Information Broadcast" saw a tectonic shift in their programming, launching verbal attacks about a flood of fake information on Baidu search that led to consumers being misled and suffering financial losses. This continuous stream of reports led the public to doubt Baidu's impartiality and business ethics, and caused Baidu's stock price to drop.

The consensus has been that the cause of that concentrated media bombardment was bad blood between Guo Zhenxi and Baidu. But a former CCTV employee has confirmed to Caixin that it was not Guo who initiated the affair. This source says that the four-day's of continuous reports was not some plot of the economic programs, but rather came about as a result of a document from the "National Leading Group on Rectifying and Regulating Market Economic Order," and that the primary goal was to regulate Internet order, which was growing more chaotic by the day. But what surprised him was that, after submitting what he originally took to be just another report, it would broadcast in such an "explosive" format.

A source at CCTV told Caixin that internally it was said that prior to this Guo had harbored a grudge against Baidu. It related to an incident where the Internet was plastered with reports and posts about quality problems with a certain company's pork products. This company sought out Guo, and paid him to help out. Guo personally approached Baidu, hoping to comprehensively block relevant posts from Baidu search. Baidu tactfully declined.

A website operator has confirmed to Caixin that Guo did in fact use his personal influence to appoach major websites to delete posts on behalf of certain companies, and that he had helped people who were friends of his programs' hosts to make calls to websites to delete posts.

2011年8月,央视财经频道《经济半小时》《经济与法》和《经济信息联播》等栏目,连续四天打破正常节目的板块划分,炮轰百度搜索虚假信息泛滥,导致消费者上当受骗导致财务损失。这些持续报道引发了公众对百度公正性与商业道德的质疑,并导致百度股价下跌。
  
舆论普遍认为,此次新闻炮轰或缘于郭振玺与百度的交恶。但一位已离职的前央视员工则向财新记者确认,郭振玺并非此次事件的第一推手。这位人士说,当时连续四天的报道并非由财经频道自己策划,而是来自“全国整顿和规范市场经济秩序领导小组”的命题作文,主要目的是为了规范日趋混乱的网络秩序。不过令他也吃惊的是,原本仅仅当作一档日常工作来对待的报道成片提交后,竟会以如此形式“轰炸”播出。
  
据一位央视员工向财新记者透露,内部有一种说法是,郭振玺此前确实与百度有隙。涉及某企业火腿肠质量问题的报道和帖子在网上铺天盖地,该企业找到郭振玺,花钱请他帮忙。郭亲自找到百度,希望在百度搜索上全面遮蔽相关帖子,遭到婉拒。
  
一位网站人士也向财新记者证实,郭振玺确实经常利用自己的影响力,替一些企业找各大网站删帖,他还曾帮助一些与其相熟的主持人给网站打招呼删帖。

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sina Weibo Censors Search Results for "Facebook Office" and "Google Blocked"

This screenshot was taken on June 15, 2014, and shows that Sina Weibo was censoring search results for "Facebook Office" (Facebook 办事处).


These screenshots show that on June 13, 2014, Sina Weibo began censoring search results for "Google Blocked" (谷歌被封). It appeared Sina stopped censoring results for that phrase on June 15.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Baidu's Censorship of the Events of June 4, 1989: 2009 vs. 2014

The following screenshots show how Baidu's censorship has changed when it comes to terms relating to the events that occurred in and around Tiananmen Square on and about June 4, 1989 on the 20th and 25th anniversaries of that event. In these examples we see:

"Six Four Personal Recollections" ("六四亲历记"):
  • 2009 - No results, censorship notice. 
  • 2014 - No results, no censorship notice.
"20/25 Years Six Four" (20/25年  六四):
  • 2009 - No results, censorship notice. 
  • 2014 - Results restricted to broad whitelist of websites operated by PRC government licensed websites.
"1989 Beijing Students" ("1989 北京学生"):
  • 2009 - No results, censorship notice. 
  • 2014 -No obvious censorship.
"1989 Student Movement" ("1989 学生运动"):
  • 2009 - No results, censorship notice. 
  • 2014 -Search results restricted to a strict whitelist of about a dozen websites operated by the central government and the Communist Party.




Friday, June 13, 2014

Watch as Baidu Implements Censorship of "Tiananmen 25th Anniversary"

The attached screenshots show that, as the 25th anniversary of the events surrounding June 4, 1989 approached, Baidu's search result pages for "Tiananmen 25th Anniversary" (天安门 25周年) changed.

On May 15, 2014, the first search result page showed no censorship notice and 10 results, and claimed a total of about 2,220,000 total results.

On May 30, 2014, the first search result page showed no censorship notice and five results, and claimed a total of about 2,130,000 results.

On June 4, 2014, the first search result page showed a censorship notice and 10 results, and claimed a total of about 36,800,000 total results.


Thursday, June 12, 2014

Baidu Japan: 800+ Results for "25 Years Ago Tiananmen," Baidu China: Zero

The following screenshots were taken on June 7, 2014, and show that Baidu's Japan search engine (which is blocked in China) returns over 800 results for a search for "25 Years Ago Tiananmen" (25年前天安门"). For the same search Baidu's China search engine returns no results, just an apology saying it cannot locate any web pages relating to that query.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

In Days Following June 4, 2014, Sina Weibo Stops Censoring "Today," "Tiananmen," "25th Anniversary"

These screenshots show that, in the week following June 4, 2014, the 25th Anniversary of the clearing of Tiananmen Square, Sina Weibo stopped censoring search results for "Today," (今天) "Tiananmen," (天安门) "25th Anniversary," (25周年) "Black Shirts," (黑衫) "Candles," (蜡烛) and "Victoria Park." (维多利亚公园)







Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sina Weibo Begins Censoring "Block Tanks" and "Victoria Park" Day Before the 25th Anniversary of the 1989 Clearing of Tiananmen Square

These screenshots show that on June 3, 2014, Sina Weibo began censoring search results for "Block Tanks" and "Victoria Park."


Sunday, June 1, 2014

China’s Major Internet Companies Censor Nonsense (Literally) In An Effort to Block Information About Events on June 4, 1989

These screenshots were taken on May 27, and show that Baidu, Qihoo, Sina Weibo, and Tencent Weibo were all censoring search results for “May 35” (5月35日), which is another way of writing “June 4.”

This screenshot shows that Tencent Weibo was censoring search results for “Willow Silk” (柳丝), which sounds like “Six Four” (六四) in Chinese.


This screenshot shows that Qihoo was censoring “VIIIIXVIIV,” which is 8 9 6 4 in roman numerals: VIII | IX | VI | IV.