Government reset - Hu's blocked and who's not in the Chinese Politburo

China's top leadership body is the Politburo which has 25 members. Of these, nine make up the Standing Committee which is the Chinese government's most important decision-making group. Seven of the nine are expected to be replaced this year. One of the candidates to fill these vacancies, Bo Xilai, was recently ousted in a scandal. Not surprisingly, much of the reporting on this incident is censored in China. More surprising, perhaps, is that all other members of the Politburo are censored on the Chinese Internet.

The following is a summary of all Politburo members and whether they are censored on Baidu, Google and Wikipedia, searching for their names in Chinese or Pinyin, respectively. Censorship on Baidu is marked in yellow and refers to confirmed self-censorship. Censorship on Google and Wikipedia is marked in red and refers to complete blocking of those pages. You can click on either to get more info on the results, or to test again in real time.

The discrepancy in results between Chinese character searches and searches in Pinyin may shed a little light on who is deemed to be a true danger when it comes to censorship.

 

Politburo Standing Committee

Rank名字, Name百度, Baidu谷歌, Google維基百科, Wikipedia
1胡锦涛baidu: 胡锦涛google: 胡锦涛zh.wikipedia: 胡锦涛
 Hu Jintaobaidu: Hu Jintaogoogle: Hu Jintaoen.wikipedia: Hu Jintao
2吴邦国baidu: 吴邦国google: 吴邦国zh.wikipedia: 吴邦国
 Wu Bangguobaidu: Wu Bangguogoogle: Wu Bangguoen.wikipedia: Wu Bangguo
3温家宝baidu: 温家宝google: 温家宝zh.wikipedia: 温家宝
 Wen Jiabaobaidu: Wen Jiabaogoogle: Wen Jiabaoen.wikipedia: Wen Jiabao
4贾庆林baidu: 贾庆林google: 贾庆林zh.wikipedia: 贾庆林
 Jia Qinglinbaidu: Jia Qinglingoogle: Jia Qinglinen.wikipedia: Jia Qinglin
5李长春baidu: 李长春google: 李长春zh.wikipedia: 李长春
 Li Changchunbaidu: Li Changchungoogle: Li Changchunen.wikipedia: Li Changchun
6习近平baidu: 习近平google: 习近平zh.wikipedia: 习近平
 Xi Jinpingbaidu: Xi Jinpinggoogle: Xi Jinpingen.wikipedia: Xi Jinping
7李克强baidu: 李克强google: 李克强zh.wikipedia: 李克强
 Li Keqiangbaidu: Li Keqianggoogle: Li Keqiangen.wikipedia: Li Keqiang
8贺国强baidu: 贺国强google: 贺国强zh.wikipedia: 贺国强
 He Guoqiangbaidu: He Guoqianggoogle: He Guoqiangen.wikipedia: He Guoqiang
9周永康baidu: 周永康google: 周永康zh.wikipedia: 周永康
 Zhou YongkangTest nowTest nowzh.wikipedia: Zhou Yongkang

Other Politburo Members

名字, Name百度, Baidu谷歌, Google維基百科, Wikipedia
薄熙来baidu: 薄熙来google: 薄熙来zh.wikipedia: 薄熙来
Bo Xilaibaidu: Bo Xilaigoogle: Bo Xilaien.wikipedia: Bo Xilai
郭伯雄baidu: 郭伯雄google: 郭伯雄zh.wikipedia: 郭伯雄
Guo Boxiongbaidu: Guo Boxionggoogle: Guo Boxiongen.wikipedia: Guo Boxiong
回良玉baidu: 回良玉google: 回良玉zh.wikipedia: 回良玉
Hui Liangyubaidu: Hui Liangyugoogle: Hui Liangyuen.wikipedia: Hui Liangyu
李源潮baidu: 李源潮google: 李源潮zh.wikipedia: 李源潮
Li Yuanchaobaidu: Li Yuanchaogoogle: Li Yuanchaoen.wikipedia: Li Yuanchao
刘淇baidu: 刘淇google: 刘淇zh.wikipedia: 刘淇
Liu Qibaidu: Liu Qigoogle: Liu Qien.wikipedia: Liu_Qi_(politician)
刘延东baidu: 刘延东google: 刘延东zh.wikipedia: 刘延东
Liu Yandongbaidu: Liu Yandonggoogle: Liu Yandongen.wikipedia: Liu Yandong
刘云山baidu: 刘云山google: 刘云山zh.wikipedia: 刘云山
Liu Yunshanbaidu: Liu Yunshangoogle: Liu Yunshanen.wikipedia: Liu Yunshan
王刚baidu: 王刚google: 王刚zh.wikipedia: 王刚_(政治人物)
Wang Gangbaidu: Wang Ganggoogle: Wang Gangen.wikipedia: Wang_Gang_(politician)
王乐泉baidu: 王乐泉google: 王乐泉zh.wikipedia: 王乐泉
Wang Lequanbaidu: Wang Lequangoogle: Wang Lequanen.wikipedia: Wang Lequan
王岐山baidu: 王岐山google: 王岐山zh.wikipedia: 王岐山
Wang Qishanbaidu: Wang Qishangoogle: Wang Qishanen.wikipedia: Wang Qishan
汪洋baidu: 汪洋google: 汪洋zh.wikipedia: 汪洋
Wang Yangbaidu: Wang Yanggoogle: Wang Yangen.wikipedia: Wang_Yang_(politician)
王兆国baidu: 王兆国google: 王兆国zh.wikipedia: 王兆国
Wang Zhaoguobaidu: Wang Zhaoguogoogle: Wang Zhaoguoen.wikipedia: Wang Zhaoguo
徐才厚baidu: 徐才厚google: 徐才厚zh.wikipedia: 徐才厚
Xu Caihoubaidu: Xu Caihougoogle: Xu Caihouen.wikipedia: Xu Caihou
俞正声baidu: 俞正声google: 俞正声zh.wikipedia: 俞正声
Yu Zhengshengbaidu: Yu Zhengshenggoogle: Yu Zhengshengen.wikipedia: Yu Zhengsheng
张德江baidu: 张德江google: 张德江zh.wikipedia: 张德江
Zhang Dejiangbaidu: Zhang Dejianggoogle: Zhang Dejiangen.wikipedia: Zhang Dejiang
张高丽baidu: 张高丽google: 张高丽zh.wikipedia: 张高丽
Zhang Gaolibaidu: Zhang Gaoligoogle: Zhang Gaolien.wikipedia: Zhang Gaoli

Some results are inconclusive. Here are some possible reasons for this:

  1. There are occasional glitches in the Great Firewall of China. Generally unblocked keywords can sometimes be unaccessible for a range of reasons. Likewise, generally blocked keywords or websites can occassionally be accessible.
  2. A yellow mark for Google or Wikipedia means that the page was very slow to load, not that it was blocked. Foreign websites are generally slow to access from China; some are sometimes or always particilarly slow.
  3. The data may include genuine changes over time. Most of these keywords have only been added to our database for testing recently. But you can click on all of them to view their history and test them again in real time.

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Wed, Mar 19, 2014

Bing Bests Baidu Censorship

Abstract

Independent research from Xia Chu has shown that, in addition to non-China content, Bing censors a vast amount of content that is hosted inside China and which is not censored by China-based internet companies like Baidu. After communicating our issues with Microsoft, Bing removed certain censorship rules (kudos to Bing), but much work remains to be done.

We recently called for Microsoft to release its transparency report for Bing (as have others - full disclosure, Rebecca sits on our advisory board).  Microsoft has yet to respond to this request. But Xia’s independent research of Bing’s China censorship policy could be regarded as a de facto transparency report for the search engine.

In this thorough study, the results of which we have verified, Xia examined Bing's SERP (search engine results page) for over 30,000 sensitive and nonsensitive query terms, and launched these queries from both inside and outside of China. Comparing and examining these results, plus querying with special search operators, reveals unprecedented detail on Bing's China filtering practices.

The main findings from Xia’s research include:

  • Bing has a list of “forbidden” terms where no results are shown. 139 such terms have been identified.

  • Bing has a blacklist of websites that it never shows to China users. 329 such websites are identified. (5 have been lifted after our communication with Microsoft.)

Thu, Feb 13, 2014

Setting Bing's Broken Record Straight

We can also now trace complicit Bing Chinese censorship back to 2009 as highlighted by Nicholas Kristof. It looks like Microsoft has indeed changed its censorship mechanism after our research made headlines this week. But Bing is still seriously flawed on two fronts: its algorithm favors pro-Chinese government websites by default on all search terms in simplified Chinese and their front end mistakenly delivers explicit censorship of search results on some search terms for users from all over the world.

Wed, Feb 12, 2014

No error here: Microsoft deploying Chinese censorship on global scale

Microsoft says: “The results themselves are and were unaltered outside of China”. This is simply not true.

Tue, Feb 11, 2014

Bing practicing Chinese censorship globally

Our latest research indicates that Microsoft’s search engine Bing is censoring English and Chinese language search on its home page in order to exclude certain results. We have also noticed that Bing is practicing subtle censorship with search results. In both instances, Bing is filtering out links and stories that the Chinese authorities would deem damaging.

Thu, Jan 23, 2014

Massive blocking of foreign media in China

After Tuesday’s report Leaked Records Reveal Offshore Holdings of China’s Elite by ICIJ, China blocked a number of major newspaper websites. All websites below were blocked after publishing copies of the original report. They're all listed as the publishing partners for “Chinaleaks” stories on ICIJ's website. The Great Firewall rarely blocks non-Chinese websites. Many of them have published the Chinese version of the report which probably explains the unusual development.

Newspaper

Main Language

Article

http://www.icij.org

English

Chinese

http://www.theguardian.com

English

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