New semi-censorship on Sina Weibo, and lots of keywords blocked and unblocked during September

New Semi-Censorship

We are currently monitoring more than 12,000 keywords on Sina Weibo, out of which around 2500 are currently blocked. When searching for any of those blocked keywords, you get the following message:

根据相关法律法规和政策,“[the blocked keyword]”搜索结果未予显示。

This translates into:

According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, search results for [the blocked keyword] can not be displayed.

These keywords generate no search results at all. Recently, however, a new form of self-censorship has emerged in which some results are returned but not all (big thanks to Jason Ng at BlockedOnWeibo for letting us know). Take, for example, weibo: 八九纪念 ("remember 89") and weibo: 河蟹 ("river crab", used instead of 和谐 which means "harmony" and is used to refer to censorship). These had been fully blocked since we started monitoring them in May this year. However, sometime in September, searching for either of the two started returning some results, followed by this new message:

 根据相关法律法规和政策,部分搜索结果未予显示。

which translates into:

According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, some of the search results for [the blocked keyword] can not be displayed.

An even more interesting example is weibo: 民泽江. It used to be fully blocked, but in September was partially unblocked (displaying the message quoted above). Then, at least as of October 1, it has been fully unblocked.

This new semi-censorship level resembles the one practiced by Baidu, which admits to self-censoring but still returns selected results.

Blocked and Unblocked

The following keywords were not blocked prior to September, 2012, but have been blocked since that month and onwards.
  1. weibo: 三表哥
  2. weibo: 克强
  3. weibo: 张培莉
  4. weibo: 砸毁警车
  5. weibo: 自焚

And these keywords were all blocked before September, but are not blocked anymore:

  1. weibo: 3月20日
  2. weibo: 4月3日
  3. weibo: 5人被刑拘
  4. weibo: 8x8
  5. weibo: BJ日报
  6. weibo: fang binxing
  7. weibo: guangcheng
  8. weibo: q=cache
  9. weibo: qd
  10. weibo: xing 爱
  11. weibo: xing 爱
  12. weibo: youtube
  13. weibo: 九八
  14. weibo: 二胡
  15. weibo: 互联网信息办公室
  16. weibo: 五套 功法
  17. weibo: 倪玉兰
  18. weibo: 八九纪念
  19. weibo: 公告
  20. weibo: 冤案
  21. weibo: 加兹温
  22. weibo: 勿忘
  23. weibo: 北戴河会议
  24. weibo: 吃人
  25. weibo: 吃少年
  26. weibo: 合肥 法院
  27. weibo: 国家 军队
  28. weibo: 大使馆
  29. weibo: 大力王
  30. weibo: 大腿肉
  31. weibo: 孤立事件
  32. weibo: 审理
  33. weibo: 尼尔伍德
  34. weibo: 师傅 天线
  35. weibo: 康 宝宝
  36. weibo: 开来
  37. weibo: 抗议
  38. weibo: 护士长
  39. weibo: 抵制日货
  40. weibo: 无修正
  41. weibo: 晚自习后
  42. weibo: 暴露
  43. weibo: 替身
  44. weibo: 杀人狂
  45. weibo: 正无
  46. weibo: 毒杀
  47. weibo: 民泽江
  48. weibo: 江绵恒
  49. weibo: 法广
  50. weibo: 熙来
  51. weibo: 立军
  52. weibo: 立案
  53. weibo: 纪委
  54. weibo: 纳米比亚
  55. weibo: 经济观察报 查封
  56. weibo: 美 大使
  57. weibo: 腌肉
  58. weibo: 自行离开
  59. weibo: 薄
  60. weibo: 藏 里
  61. weibo: 讲真相
  62. weibo: 起东
  63. weibo: 连环失踪案
  64. weibo: 邪恶的党
  65. weibo: 阿炳
  66. weibo: 非法献花
  67. weibo: 韩耀
  68. weibo: 领馆
  69. weibo: 食人魔
  70. weibo: 马力宏
  71. weibo: 驻华大使馆
  72. weibo: 骆 信访办
  73. weibo: 骆家辉 信访办
  74. weibo: 高干子弟
  75. weibo: 高瞻
  76. weibo: 鸵鸟肉
  77. weibo: 黄奇帆
  78. weibo: (梅)宁华

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Wed, Aug 26, 2015

Chinese developers forced to delete softwares by police

What happened?

ShawdowSocks

On August 22, an open source project called ShadowSocks was removed from GitHub.

ss.png

According to the project’s author, the police contacted him and asked him to stop working on the tool and to remove all of the code from GitHub.

police.png

He later removed the reference of the police, presumably under the pressure of the police.
edited.png

After the news, many Chinese and foreign developers, as well as ShadowSocks users, paid tribute to the author. As a result of this attention, ShadowSocks became the top trending project on GitHub.

Github.png

 

Wed, Jul 15, 2015

LinkedIn: technological and financial giants; but morally pygmies

When LinkedIn decided to create a China-hosted version of its website in February, 2014, it made a decision to compromise the company's values in the pursuit of the dollar.

It's important to note that before LinkedIn launched LingYing (the local version of the site), LinkedIn was already active in China. By their own account, they had four million registered users (with little marketing effort), a Chinese-language interface and China-based clients who were buying recruitment ads on the platform (the major source of their revenue). The site had been blocked by the authorities for one 24-hour period but otherwise was always accessible.

So why was it necessary for LinkedIn to create a local entity in China? With a local entity the company would be able to issue official receipts in RMB, making it more convenient for local companies to buy advertising on the site. A local entity also makes it easier to secure marketing deals to promote LingYing in China.

But perhaps the biggest appeal in creating a local entity for LinkedIn is that it would be among the few foreign internet companies who could cosy up with Lu Wei and the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC). Having that kind of a relationship with CAC surely helps the business and those who are associated with the company.

Thu, Jun 18, 2015

We Had Our Arguments, But We Will Miss You Wikipedia

Wikipedia is the latest nail in the internet freedom coffin and it certainly will not be the last. Wikipedia thought that by engaging with China, the authorities would gradually open up. They thought that by allowing the Chinese authorities to censor as much information as they wanted, that eventually they would relinquish control. They thought that for those in China, having access to some Wikipedia pages was better than having access to none.

Sat, Apr 04, 2015

CNNIC censors news about their own statement

On April 1, 2015 Google announced that they will no longer recognize the CNNIC Root and EV (extensive validation) certificate authorities (CAs).

On April 2, 2015 Mozilla concluded that CNNIC’s behaviour in issuing an unconstrained intermediate certificate to another company was ‘egregious practice’ and that Mozilla products would no longer trust any certificate issued by CNNIC’s roots. Mozilla also published a more detailed report about their actions.

After unauthorized digital certificates for several Google domains were exposed by Google and Mozilla on March 23, 2015, CNNIC censored any mention of these posts. CNNIC is not only a certificate authority, they are also China’s online censorship apparatus. CNNIC was, is and will continue to practice internet censorship.

 

News about the April 1 and 2 annoucements has again been censored on social media and also on traditional media in China.

Below is a screenshot of Weibo posts about these announcements.

 

Tue, Mar 31, 2015

Chinese authorities compromise millions in cyberattacks

The Great Firewall has switched from being a passive, inbound filter to being an active and aggressive outbound one. This is a frightening development and the implications of this action extend beyond control of information on the internet. In one quick movement, the authorities have shifted from enforcing strict censorship in China to enforcing Chinese censorship on internet users worldwide.
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