Sensitive Words: The Long and Short of It

Sensitive Words: The Long and Short of It

As of June 13, the following search terms are blocked on Weibo (not including the “search for user” function):

Related to Current Events:

  • human rights + action (人权+行动): On June 11, the State Council published its National Human Rights Action Plan for 2012 to 2015. The plan includes basic universal healthcare, full enforcement of a labor contract system, increased Internet access, a public system of appointing and dismissing cadres, and an effort to improve food safety in part by “encouraging news media to develop the use of public opinion as a monitor.”
  • Changhongqiao + police car (长虹桥+警车): On June 8, a police car crashed into a coach in Beijing’s Changhongqiao district, crushing the car and killing the driver. Many netizens cheered over the death of the police officer, prompting all major websites to restrict commenting and reposting functions on relevant posts.
  • The developer of, a third-party application which creates images of text so that users can post beyond Weibo’s 140-character limit, reports that his Weibo account and API key were shut down in early June. Posts from the service no longer appear. believes Weibo did this to eliminate competition for its own text-to-image feature.
  • Mao Yushi (茅于轼): The famous economist, who caused a stir last April with his essay “Returning Mao Zedong to Human Form,” recently said on Weibo that the Chinese people share responsibility with Mao Zedong for the Cultural Revolution. This sparked an intense online controversy.

Related to Alleged Liaison between Bo Xilai and Zhang Ziyi:

  • boxun: U.S.-based news site reporting on China
  • Boxun (博讯): retest
  • Apple Daily (苹果日报): retest

More sensitive words surrounding the tryst from May 30 and June 9.

Note: 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. To add words, check out the form at the bottom of CDT Chinese’s latest sensitive words post.


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