Sensitive Words: Call to Clamp Down on Weibo VIPs

"Who gave you the right to speak? Rumor-monger!" (Wu Junyong)

“Who gave you the right to speak? Rumor-monger!” (Wu Junyong/吴俊勇)

The April 11th edition of the magazine Red Flag Papers (红旗文稿) carried an article by , executive vice-director of the Shaanxi Province Propaganda Department, titled “Coordinate Two Spaces for Public Opinion, Concentrate the Positive Energy of Society” (统筹两个舆论场 凝聚社会正能量). Ren writes:

Some influential [figures] control public opinion online, fabricating rumors about the government, maliciously blackening the image of the Party and the government, and tearing down the foundation of the Party’s rule. Furthermore, some people use the Internet to create “individual media.” Their speech and behavior is “unrestrained” and “defies both heaven and law,” and their influence is on par with a journal or a news service. For example, certain individuals fly the flag of fighting corruption and call themselves “journalists” without holding press cards; these individuals register foreign websites and then “sell exports at home,” using sensationalist tactics to blackmail and kidnap local governments. There are even those who call the chaos of the Internet an “online cultural revolution.”

…We ought to control new media according to regulation and occupy the new battlefield for public opinion. The Internet is absolutely not outside the law. It must be managed according to the law. Even under management, there will be influential media, famous websites and bloggers, and VIPs who will dare to confront us. Warn those who must be warned, silence those who must be silenced, shut down those who must be shut down.

The Internet, and Weibo in particular, has proven to be a powerful tool for exposing corrupt officials at the local level. Bureaucrats have lost their jobs after netizen campaigns to show their extravagance and corruption; many now live in what a 2010 People’s Daily survey called “Internet terror.”

The article is no longer available online, but CDT Chinese has reposted a report on the article and netizen response [zh].

As of April 13, the following search terms are blocked on Sina (not including the “search for user” function).

• Ren Xianliang (任贤良)
• close those which must be closed (该关就关)
• individual media+defy both heaven and law (个人媒体+无法无天)
• coordinate two spaces for public opinion (统筹两个舆论场)
• Shaanxi Provincial Party Committee Propaganda Department (陕西省委宣传部)
• Shaanxi Propaganda Department (陕西宣传部)

All Chinese-language words are tested using simplified characters. The same terms in traditional characters occasionally return different results.

Browse all of CDT’s collected sensitive words in this bilingual Google spreadsheet.

CDT Chinese runs a project that crowd-sources filtered keywords on Sina search. CDT independently tests the keywords before posting them, but some searches later become accessible again. We welcome readers to contribute to this project so that we can include the most up-to-date information. To add words, check out the form at the bottom of CDT Chinese’s latest sensitive words post.