Thursday, August 21, 2014

Global Times: Gao Zhisheng's "Name Is Blocked On the Web." Meanwhile, Baidu Stops Showing Censorship Notice for Searches for "Gao Zhisheng"

On August 8, 2014, the state sponsored Global Times published an editorial under the name “Shan Renping” (单仁平) entitled “Human Rights Lawyers Not Above the Law” (in Chinese: “Why Is the West All Hot Over a Released ‘Rights Defense Lawyer’” (西方为何热捧获释的“维权律师”)). Some excerpts from the English version:
According to some foreign media reports, Gao Zhisheng, a lawyer who was put into prison three years ago on the charge of inciting subversion of State power, was released on Thursday. He made headlines in Western media very quickly, becoming another prominent Chinese dissident.
. . . .
Gao is not well-known among the Chinese public, and there is little information about him on the Chinese Internet.
The Chinese version of the editorial put the preceding sentence somewhat differently, stating “Because Gao Zhisheng is not well known in Chinese society and his name is blocked on the web, there is very little public information about him.” (由于高智晟在中国社会的知名度不大,他的名字在网上被屏蔽,可以找到有关他的公开材料很少。).

This screenshot was taken on August 15, 2014, and shows an article written by Gao published on the Ministry of Justice’s website in 2003 entitled “The Heavy Responsibility of a New Lawyer” (初为律师责任之重)


Most major Internet companies in China censor searches for Gao Zhisheng’s name. For example, here are screenshots showing search results from August 8, 2014:

Qihoo returns no results, and tells users “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。).


Sina and Tencent tell users of their Weibo microblogging platforms “In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, search results for ‘Gao Zhisheng have not been displayed” (根据相关法律法规和政策,“高智晟”搜索结果未予显示。 ) and “In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, search results have not been displayed” (根据相关法律法规和政策,搜索结果未予显示。), respectively.


Chinaso, a search engine established by a consortium of major PRC state run media outlets including the People’s Daily and Xinhua, returns six results from several major PRC state run media outlets, and informs users “In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, some search results have not been displayed” (根据相关法律法规和政策,部分搜索结果未予显示。).


Sogou returns over 50 results from websites licensed to operate in the PRC, and tells users “In accordance with relevant laws, regulations, and policies, some search results have not been displayed” (根据相关法律法规和政策,部分搜索结果未予显示。).


Baidu returns no search results, and tells users “Apologies, unable to find any relevant web pages” (抱歉,没有找到与“高智晟”相关的网页). This represents a change from Baidu’s prior policy of providing an explicit notice that no search results can be displayed because they may violate the law (as Qihoo continues to do).


This screenshot, also taken on August 8, shows that, while Baidu claims it is unable to find any search results for “Gao Zhisheng,” Bing is able to find several results on Baidu’s own web pages that contain Gao’s name.

Translation: Huang Xuqin and Wang Jianbing Inciting Subversion Indictment

On June 14, 2024, the Twitter account "Free Huang Xueqin & Wang Jianbing 释放雪饼" (@FreeXueBing)  posted a copy of the last two p...