Sensitive Words: The Wang Lijun Incident on Sina Weibo

As netizens chatter about Wang Lijun‘s alleged attempt to seek asylum at the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, China’s most influential microblogging site, Sina Weibo, has again banned a few related keywords on its search function. Below are lists of Weibo’s banned search terms tested and uncovered by CDT staff (in simplified characters) on three different dates.

February 4:

“Wang Lijun” (王立军): “Wang Lijun” was found to be unblocked during a re-test on February 8.

February 7:

“Political asylum” (政治庇护): Wang is rumored to have sought political asylum in the U.S. Consulate at Chengdu.

“U.S. Consulate” (美领馆): Found unblocked in a February 8 re-test.

February 8:

“Pingxi Wang” (平西王, which literally means “King Who Pacifies the West”): Pingxi Wang is a title that Wu Sangui, a military general during late Ming Dynasty, was rewarded after he betrayed his country. It’s also a popular online nickname for Bo Xilai.

“Governor Bo”(薄督): Another alias for Bo Xilai.

“Lai Junchen” (来俊臣): A secret police official during Tang Dynasty; netizens often refer to Wang as Lai Junchen because of their similarity.

“U.S. Consulate at Chengdu” (成都美领馆)

Note: CDT Chinese has launched a project to crowd-source 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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