Showing posts from 2014

Global Times Says China's Online Political Discussions "The Liveliest on the Planet"

On December 6, 2014, the state-sponsored Global Times published an op-ed entitled “ Internet Freedom Rankings Biased ” ( 中国网络自由排倒三,这排名得多烂 ). Some excerpts: The year 2014 saw the state of global Internet freedom declining for the fourth consecutive year, with China, Iran and Syrian rated as the world's worst abusers of Internet freedom, according to an annual report from the US-based human rights organization Freedom House. . . . . It is another bizarre ranking by a Western organization that attempts to defame China. . . . . What is the truth? About 600 million Chinese Net users made China the largest netizen group in the world. China has bred superb Internet companies like Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent, and generated the liveliest online discussions on politics. We do not know how those impressive figures and achievements can be attained without basic Internet freedom.   美国人权组织“自由之家”星期四发表年度报告称,世界各地的互联网自由度连续第四年下降,其中表现最恶劣的国家是中国、叙利亚和伊朗 . . . . 由于网络自由可以有不同标准,再稀奇古怪的排名也能想办法自圆其说。

Global Times Deletes Chinese (But Not English) Language Article About Great Firewall

On December 16, 2014, the state-sponsored Global Times published an English language op-ed entitled “ Open Internet Not at Odds with Regulation .” Some excerpts: Surprised to find that Google had become accessible around midday Monday, Chinese mainlanders posted the news online, which went viral on social media immediately. A jubilant group of Net users assumed that it was because of some kind of agreement between the Chinese government and Google. However, later that evening, the website was blocked again, with many people speculating that the temporary access resulted from an update to the Great Firewall. . . . . It might not be worth figuring out what really happened. On the same day the Global Times published a Chinese language op-ed entitled “The ‘Temporary Lifting of the Ban’ on Google is Cause for Reflection” (谷歌“临时开禁”引发的思考) - original URL here - . The following screen recording was taken on December 21, 2014, and

Global Times Supports Sacking of Journalist Who “Attacked the Party”

On November 25, 2014, the state-sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “ Freedom of Speech Subject to Legal Restriction .” Some excerpts: Jiaxing Daily, a Party newspaper in East China's Zhejiang Province, announced on its official Sina Weibo account Sunday it had fired commentator Wang Yaofeng [王垚烽]. Wang paid the price for comments he made that attacked the Party and challenged the country's political bottom line on significant issues. . . . Wang published many Weibo posts that did not match his job position. He wrote that "Jiaxing people have the tradition of resisting dictatorship. In history, the Party was born here; and today Jiaxing people are also capable of ending it here." Another comment he published on Weibo said "If there is a war between China and Japan, I will definitely stand by the democratic Japan, not the autocratic China." . . . . Wang does not suit a position in the Party newspaper. There are others like Wang who opp

On UN Human Rights Day, UN Global Compact Member Baidu Bans PostBar Forums on "Human Rights"

December 10, 2014 was International Human Rights Day. According to the United Nations website : This year’s slogan, Human Rights 365, encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values. According to Baidu’s website , on October 28, 2008, Baidu announced that it had joined the United Nation’s Global Compact. The Global Compact’s website states that the Compact’s Ten Principles are derived from documents including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and that “The UN Global Compact asks companies to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of core values in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption.” Principle 1 of the

Xiaomi, Baidu Promise Their Mobile App Stores Will Abide by Socialism and China’s National Interests

On December 2, 2014, the overseas edition of the People’s Daily published an article entitled “Beijing Ensures that Published Apps ‘Get Their Identity Verified’” ( 北京确保App发布“验明正身” ). Some excerpts: Quite a few Apps disregard the State's administrative regulations regarding news information services qualifications, covertly launch news information services, and disregard basic facts in order to attract eyeballs, and in so doing severely infringe upon the public interest. Some even go so far as to illegally transmit overseas information.  In order to address this, the Beijing Municipal Internet Information Office and the Beijing Internet Society assembled 50 mobile client, App store, and App creator operators to sign the "Beijing Mobile Internet Application Order and Public Information Service Self-Discipline Agreement" and the "Safeguard App Information Service Order, Bring About App Positive Social Utility Commitment Letter." 不少App无视国家关于新闻信息服务的资质管理法规,变相开展

Nobel Peace Prize History With Baidu Encyclopedia Characteristics - 2014 Edition

In 2013, this blog noted that the Baidu Encyclopedia (Baike 百科 - a Wikipedia-like product) list of Nobel Peace Prize winners did not include either Liu Xiaobo or the Dalai Lama.  These screenshots were taken on December 13, 2014, and show that the list now includes a reference to Liu Xiaobo, but still omits the Dalai Lama. In October 2013, Baidu’s Encyclopedia had only one entry for “Liu Xiaobo” - an article about a hydrological engineer. These screenshots show that, as of December 2014, the URL that originally pointed to the article about the hydrological engineer now points to a disambiguation page that includes a link to a “Liu Xiaobo” who is a “Beijing Normal University Professor.” This screenshot shows that that article is about the Liu Xiaobo who won the Nobel Peace Prize, or, as the Baidu Encyclopedia article describes him: On October 8, 2010, the Norway Nobel Prize Committee awarded that year’s Nobel Peace Prize to the criminal Liu Xiaobo who had been imprisone

China's Government Shuts Down Tencent Regional Website For a Week

On October 19, 2014, the state-sponsored published an article entitled “Tencent Daqin Website Shuttered for Seven Days for Violating Regulations” ( 腾讯大秦网因违规被关停7天 ). Some excerpts: Recently, the Provincial Internet Information Office decided to sanction Tencent's Daqin Net by shutting it down for seven days on the grounds that the site's content was not closely monitored, there was negligence in oversight, and malicious and harmful information was transmitted in violation of the Rules on the Administration of Internet News Information Services and other the relevant regulations.  今日,因腾讯大秦网对网站内容把关不严、疏于监控,放任恶性有害信息传播,违反了《互联网新闻信息服务管理规定》等有关规定,省互联网信息办公室决定对其处以关停7天的处罚。

Tencent Employees Accused of Taking Money to Censor Internet Information

On September 22, 2014, the state sponsored China News Net published an article entitled “Tencent Editor Sentenced for Taking Money to Delete Posts for 500 to 1,000 Yuan Per Deletion” ( 腾讯编辑收钱删帖获刑 供称删1条收5百到1千元 ). Some excerpts: An investigation showed that, from August 2011 through August 2012, Mr. Wang used the facilities afforded by his job as an editor at the Tencent website to take 67,100 yuan and 127,350 yuan from two Beijing advertising companies and a Mr. Li (which cases are being handled separately), to help them delete online information from Tencent websites. In addition, from 2009 to May 2012, Mr. Wang did, in pursuit of inappropriate benefits, delete related online information and offer bribes of 469,500 yuan to Mr. He (whose case is being tried separately), a senior manager at the Internet Security Center for Beijing Sohu New Media Information Technology Company.  经一审查明,2011年8月至2012年8月期间,王某利用担任腾讯网站编辑的职务便利,分别收受北京两家广告传媒公司和李某(均另案处理)给予的67100元以及127350元,帮助其删除腾讯网的网络信息。此外,2009

Searching for Lu Wei on Baidu

Lu Wei (鲁炜) holds three titles concurrently: Director of the Cyberspace Administration of the People's Republic of China (中央网络安全和信息化领导小组办公室主任)  Director of the State Internet Information Office (国家互联网信息办公室主任)  Deputy Director of the Central Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party (中共中央宣传部副部长)  The following screenshots were taken on December 9-10, 2014. Baidu Web Search: These screenshots show that Baidu censors search results for Lu Wei more heavily than it does for searches for "Xi Jinping." This screenshot shows that Qihoo (the number 2 search engine in China) is able to find thousands of search results for "Lu Wei" Baidu Postbar (Tieba 贴吧) - a forum product: This screenshot shows that Sina's Weibo and Tencent's Weibo were apparently not censoring search results for "Lu Wei." Baidu Knowledge (Zhidao 知道) - a Q&A product:

Here’s How the Xinhua World News Twitter Feed Responded When Asked How It Circumvents the Great Firewall to Get on Twitter

Update December 8, 2014 : There appears to be some question as to whether or not the @XinhuaWorld Twitter account is affiliated with China's Xinhua News Agency. On July 24, 2013, the state-sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “ Hengqin New Area Aims to Skirt Firewall .” According to that article: Local authorities of the Hengqin New Area in Zhuhai, Guangdong Province confirmed Tuesday that they are planning to bypass the Great Firewall by opening special access to the Internet. . . . . If passed, Hengqin will be the first region on the Chinese mainland where local residents can skirt the firewall and get access to blocked websites including Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. On November 19, 2014, Twitter user Petra Zlatevska posed the following question to fellow Twitter user, Fergus Ryan: Hey @fryan how does Xinhua post on twitter if it's blocked in China? Always wondered. Ryan Fergus replied: Have to ask @XHNews. What VPN are you using @Xinhua_Intl @

On China's First "Constitution Day" Baidu Bans Forums on "The Constitution"

On December 4, 2014, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “ Xi Marks Constitution Day .” Some excerpts: Chinese president Xi Jinping on Wednesday reiterated the importance of Constitution-centered governance and called for better awareness of the Charter and the rule of law, ahead of Thursday's first Constitution Day. Xi made the remarks at a meeting with the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee's Publicity Department, the National People's Congress Standing Committee and the Ministry of Justice, aimed at promoting the "Constitutional spirit." Xi noted that the Constitution guarantees the socialist path with Chinese characteristics, adding that the rule of law must be in harmony with the Constitution. These screenshots were taken on December 4, 2014, and show that Baidu has banned users of it PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) forum from establishing forums on “The Constitution” and “Constitutional Governance.”

Air Pollution Data From US Embassy Blocked During APEC Meeting

On October 10, 2014, the state-sponsored China Daily published an article entitled “ Beijing to Keep the Lid on Air Pollution for APEC .” Some excerpts: Beijing plans to keep a tight rein on pollution by cutting emissions caused by industrial production and vehicles when it hosts the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in November. . . . . From November 3 to 12, the city will restrict the use of private vehicles based on even- and odd-numbered license plates, reducing the use of such vehicles by 35 percent, the municipal traffic committee said on Thursday. On November 13, 2014, the China Daily published an article entitled “ Beijing Authorities Release Pollution Data for APEC Week .” Some excerpts: Beijing environment authorities released air quality data on Thursday for the week of APEC, with PM 2.5 levels, a key indicator of air pollution, dropping dramatically. Following a special air pollution control plan for APEC meetings, the city's daily PM 2.5 density fell to 43 m

Weeks Ago the Global Times Committed to Clean Up Online Comments - How's That Working Out?

On November 6, 2014, the state-sponsored Global Times website published an article entitled “ Chinese Websites Promise to Tighten Comments Management .” Some excerpts: Twenty-nine major Chinese websites have promised to better manage the comments of their users as authorities call for a clean Internet. Representatives from the 29 web portals, including,, and the official website of Xinhua News Agency, signed the letter of commitment at a meeting organized by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) on Thursday. . . . . The letter asks them to remind web users not to release 18 categories of information that "are against basic principles established by the Constitution," such as information jeopardizing national security, leaking national secrets or instigating ethnic hatred or discrimination . According to a Xinhua report , the Huanqiu Wang (环球网 - the online version of the Global Times) was one of the signatories of the Self-Discipline

Placing the Claims Made About the Wuzhen Global Internet Conference in the Context of Current Chinese Internet Company Practices

In a Chinese language editorial published on November 20, 2014 entitled “Looking at Wuzhen, Does China’s Internet Look ‘Localized’?” ( 从乌镇看中国互联网像“局域网”吗 ) the Global Times said: Westerners cling with a death grip to the perception that people must put a political hat on the inconsistencies between China's and the West's approach to Internet management. They are too lazy to gain a deeper understanding of what China and the rest of the world put on display. 断然给中国与西方不太一致的网络监管扣政治帽子,这是一些西方人死抱老观念,懒于深入了解中国及其他外部世界的表现。 In the spirit of helping lazy Westerners gain a deeper understanding of what China is putting on display, the following context is offered for statements by government officials and the state run media regarding the recently-concluded Wuzhen World Internet Conference: Official Statement: President Xi Calls for "Democratic" Internet Governance In his " Message of Congratulations " ( 世界互联网大会贺词 ) to the Conference President Xi Jinping said: Fol

Baidu Censors Information About Political Figure's Suicide (Again)

On November 17, 2014, the website of the Beijing Youth Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Youth League committee in Beijing, published an article entitled “Hong Kong Media: PLA Navy Deputy Commissar Ma Faxiang Died After Jumping From a Building” ( 港媒:海军副政委马发祥跳楼身亡 ). It was deleted within hours. The Beijing Youth Daily article as cached by Baidu before it was deleted. Shortly after the Beijing Youth Daily article was deleted, the China Daily published an article entitled “PLA Navy Deputy Commissar Ma Faxiang Died After Jumping From a Building, Was Engaged in Public Activities Last Month” ( 海军副政委马发祥跳楼身亡 上月公开活动 ) The China Daily article. These screenshots show that, about the same time the Beijing Youth Daily article was deleted, Baidu began restricting search results for “Ma Faxiang Suicide” (马发祥 自杀) and “Ma Faxiang Jumped” (马发祥 跳楼) to a strict white list of about a dozen website operated by the central government and Communist Party (which includes the China Dai

Baidu, Sina, and Tencent Promise to Enforce Real Name Registration for Online Comments, Ask Users to Abide by the Socialist System

On November 6, 2014, China’s official news agency Xinhua published an article entitled “ Chinese Websites Promise to Tighten Comments Management .” Some excerpts: Twenty-nine major Chinese websites have promised to better manage the comments of their users as authorities call for a clean Internet.  Representatives from the 29 web portals, including,, and the official website of Xinhua News Agency, signed the letter of commitment at a meeting organized by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC - 国家互联网信息办公室) on Thursday.  These websites promised to ensure that "their users register, post and write comments with their real identity," according to the commitment letter.  They also "promise to and sincerely ask all users to consciously abide by the 'seven bottom lines' -- law and rules, socialist systems, national interests, citizen's legitimate rights, social public order, morality and authenticity of information -- when

Reports on Xi Jinping Statement on Foreign Journalist Visas Disappear From State Media

On November 12, 2014, New York Times reporter Mark Landler asked President Xi Jinping : Several news organizations from the United States have had issues with residency permits in China being denied, including The New York Times.  I’m wondering in the spirit of these reciprocal visa arrangements that you’ve agreed to this week with business people and students, isn’t it time to extend that sort of right to foreign correspondents who seek to cover your country? President Xi responded: And China protects our citizens' freedom of expression and the normal rights and the interests of media organizations in accordance with law.  On the other hand, media outlets need to obey China's laws and regulations.  When a car breaks down on the road, perhaps we need to get off the car to see where the problem lies.  And when a certain issue is raised as a problem, there must be a reason.  In Chinese, we have a saying:  The party which has created a problem should be the one to help resol

Free Speech with Mainland Chinese Characteristics as Metaphor: Cars, Tigers, Shoes, Water & Guests (But No Shields)

Fang Binxing: Its Like Bringing Water on a Plane On February 18, 2011, the English language website of the Global Times (published by the People's Daily) published an article about Fang Binxing (方滨兴) entitled "Great Firewall Father Speaks Out." It was originally here - - but was subsequently deleted. It remains available here: According to Fang: The firewall monitors them [websites] and blocks them all. It's like when passengers aren't allowed to take water aboard an airplane because our security gates aren't good enough to differentiate between water and nitroglycerin. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson: Its Like Going to Battle Without a Shield During the Ministry's regularly schedule press conference on March 3, 2011, foreign journalists asked Ministry of Forei