Sensitive Words: Zhou Yongkang Investigation
As of July 31, the following search terms were blocked on Sina Weibo (not including the “search for user” function).
Zhou Yongkang Investigation: On Tuesday of this week, Chinese authorities announced a Central Commission for Discipline Inspection investigation into retired domestic security chief and former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang. The announcement came after months of graft probes had hit over 300 of Zhou’s allies, associates, and family members. After being a sensitive term since speculation about an impending investigation began, prohibitions on Zhou Yongkang’s name (周永康) were lifted as the investigation was officially announced. As Chinese censors take measures to control the narrative on the investigation, the following acronyms and combinations likely reflect particularly sensitive angles of his case.
- 习＋周: Xi [Jinping] + Zhou [Yongkang]
- 周永康家族: Zhou Yongkang Family—many of Zhou’s family members have been detained over the past year, and his son Zhou Bin was arrested earlier this week.
- 周薄: Zhou Bo—Zhou had nominated his ally Bo Xilai—now serving a life sentence for bribery, embezzlement, and abuse of power—to become his successor as domestic security chief and Standing Committee member. Zhou was believed to be the only Standing Committee member to voice support for Bo after his ouster in 2012.
- 康＋方便面: Kang + instant noodles—instant noodles, and also Master Kang (a play on the brand name of a popular instant noodle) have been used to skirt censorship of Zhou’s name in the past.
- 康师傅＋老虎: Master Kang + tiger
Jiang Zemin: while Zhou Yongkang’s name (周永康) name became searchable on Weibo after state media announced the investigation, former President and CCP General Secretary Jiang Zemin’s entered the list of forbidden terms.
- JZM: Abbreviation for Jiang Zemin
- JZ民: JZmin
- 江Z民: Jiang Zmin
The following related terms have been retested:
- 百鸡王（指周永康）: King of the Hundred Chickens—reference to Zhou Yongkang.
- 周老虎: Zhou tiger
- 周政法: Zhou Political and Legislative [Committee]—from 2007-2012, Zhou served as the secretary of the CCP Central Political and Legislative Committee.
- 政法委: Political and Legislative Committee
- 江泽民: Jiang Zemin
- 蛤蟆（指江泽民）: toad—reference to Jiang Zemin. Jiang is mockingly referred to as “The Toad” by those who see an amphibious quality in his likeness. Recently, after an artist inflated a 72-foot yellow toad in Beijing, netizens were forbidden from discussing it.
- 前核心（同上）: former core—reference to Jiang Zemin.
- 江小鱼（同上）: Jiang Little Fish
- 江核心（同上）: Jiang core
- （江） 贼民（同上）: (Jiang) Zeimin
- 党魁 : faction leader
- 习＋江: Xi + Jiang
All Chinese-language words are tested using simplified characters. The same terms in traditional characters occasionally return different results.
CDT Chinese runs a project that crowd-sources filtered keywords on Sina Weibo 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.
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