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China: Blogs deleted, barred and officially backed

Categories: East Asia, China, Economics & Business, Freedom of Speech, Governance, Law, Technology

Aspiring citizen reporter [1] and veteran blogger [2] Wen Yunchao continues [3] his NetNews This Week [4] blog column following his first week as the new Blog Editor at Chinese web portal Netease [5], beginning with mention that the Beijing 2008 Olympics blog [6] started by Chinese Sports Illustrated [7] reporter Sohu [8] and Sina blogger [9] Guan Jun (aka Gua Erjia) has been shut down.


NetNews This Week August 16, 2007: Opening and Closing


The “The Beijing Olympics, I don't support them” blog has been deleted


On August 16 Bullog [10] editor Luo Yonghao published a post announcing that Gua Erjia's newly-opened Bullog blog “The Beijing Olympics, I don't support them” had been deleted. In his post Luo Yonghao [11] writes: “no need to go around asking what the reason was; we're all Chinese, not some foreign guests.” Gua Erjia had attempted to use this blog “to let the outside world know that China does not only just have one voice. [6]


Incorruptible Warrior Online hastily dropped

8 月14日上午,《清廉战士》官方网站“中国廉政文化游戏网”突然发布公告:“接有关部门通知,本网站将关闭,相关内容转移到其他网站。”但站方并未公布关站原因。《清廉战士》是由宁波市海曙区纪委、海曙区西门街道党工委等部门联手推出反腐题材网络游戏,在开放注册后,因玩家反映该游戏制作粗糙而沦为网络笑柄,该游戏仅公测一周便早早收场。有网友评论说,网络不是搞政绩工程的地方。

On the morning of August 14, Incorruptible Warrior Online [12]‘s official website ‘The China Anti-Corruption Culture Gaming Net’ suddenly announced: “in accordance with notice from the relevant departments, this website will be shut down, and all related content will be transfered to other websites.” The webmasters, however, did not disclose the reason for the website's closure. Incorruptible Warrior Online is an internet game jointly released by the Chinese Communist Party [13] Disciplinary Committee and Ximen neighborhood Party Working Committee of Haishu district in Ningbo [14] city to promote anti-corruption messages. Following its move to open registration, due to players’ feedback of the game's crude design and making it the butt of many jokes online, the game only lasted a week. Some netizens say that the internet is not a place for achievements in political projects to be flaunted.


AnyP clears up rumors of the website's closure


On August 14, AnyP [15] released an announcement aiming to clarify on rumors of the website [16]‘s imminent closure. The announcement read: “due to individual content found on this blog which violates the relevant laws and regulations, in accordance with superior departments’ demands, a full-scale and thorough investigation into the material will be carried out, during which time external services will be suspended.” Also stated in the announcement was that AnyP “is seeking to restore service by means of a third-party internet service provider as quickly as possible, at the same time working hard to secure restoration of AnyP's services themselves.” On August 9, AnyP founder Zhang Jingjun wrote on his own blog that AnyP's blog service operations were canceled for reasons related to content. A blog service provider for many years already, AnyP ceased service one month ago, giving rise to much speculation throughout the industry on the reason for AnyP's having been shut down.


“Tiger Temple” launches “Grassroots Reporting Trip”

8 月10日,博客写手“老虎庙”骑车从北京奥运“鸟巢”出发,开始了他的4省“草根报道之旅”。他将骑车到达山西、内蒙古、陕北、宁夏,以田野调查的方式,考察乡土民情,并通过博客第一时间记录见闻。“老虎庙”表示,他将把行程中的所见所闻用文字、图片和DV视频等方式发布在博客上,并采用手机绑定博客功能,滚动发送消息。但据网友披露,国家宣传主管部门16日发文要求各新闻媒体不要报道此事,对此类行为的报道也不能冠以“公民记者”、“平民记者”等称谓。

On August 10 blogger “Tiger Temple” [17] set out from the Beijing Olympics [18]‘ “bird's nest [19]” on his bike and began his “grassroots reporting trip” which will take him through four provinces. He plans to ride through Shanxi [20], Inner Mongolia [21], Shanbei [22], Ningxia [23] to carry out a field investigation, observing the opinions of those in the countryside, and through blogging provide live reporting of what he sees and hears. “Tiger Temple” explains that text, photos and video of everything he comes across during the trip will be posted to his blog, as well as live blog updates via cellphone. According to what some netizens have revealed, on the 16th a directive was issued by the Department of Propaganda [24] ordering news media to not report on this, and that any reports that are done are not allowed to make use of terms like “Citizen Reporter”, “Civilian Journalist” etc.


People's Daily editorial calls on officials to face up to the Internet Age


August 14, the People's Daily [25] ran an editorial calling for Party and government officials to face up to and open the door to the internet age [26] which quoted views from Central Party School professor Shen Baoxiang; the editorial stance was that Party and government officials urgently need to refresh their views in the challenge of dealing with the internet age, directly face public opinion and innovate new approaches to their work. From SARS [27] to the Songhua [28] River pollution [29], and then to the “black brick kilns” incident [30], the government approach to crises of closing down, covering up and block can be seen as increasingly ineffective and is even having the opposite effect; only through quickly making information public and leading discussion can the initiative be taken in their work.


“The most expensive blog in history”


The boss of one cultural development corporation in Beijing Yuan Zhiyong [31] plans to spend five million CNY [32] to market his own blog. He is preparing to have a photo of his blog's address set as the desktop image in internet bars of fifty-one mid-size to large cities that will include Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin [33] and others throughout his designated target six regions of the country, as well as having each computer's Home page set to his blog. At present, he's successfully signed over two thousand contracts with various websites and individual net bars, with the value of these cooperations ranging from several thousand to several hundred thousand CNY each. Netizens are calling his blog “the most expensive blog in history”. However, bloggers who have checked out his blog feel the content to be outdated and lacking in quality, and knowing that five million CNY will be spent on promoting it leaves them “quite unconvinced that he's got his senses about him.”


China's first successful lawsuit against malicious software

8 月15日,即奇虎网起诉北京阿里巴巴公司不正当竞争案宣判,法院认为,阿里巴巴旗下的雅虎助手干扰奇虎360的正常运行和安装,并且在用户选择“不删除” 的情况下,违背用户指令强行删除360软件,构成了不正当竞争,为非法行为。法院判令阿里巴巴赔偿原告八万元,并且连续七天在官方网站上向奇虎公司致歉。有媒体称这是中国首个反恶意软件的胜诉案,由于国内相关法律缺失,导致此前几个类似的官司均以失败告终。

On August 15 the verdict [34] was delivered in Qihoo [35]‘s unfair competition case [36] against Alibaba, with the court seeing Alibaba's Yahoo [37] Assistant as hindering Qihoo 360's regular service and installation, and illegally constituting unfair competition in the forced deletion of 360 software through its violation of users’ commands to “not delete” [360]. The court ordered [38] Alibaba to compensate the defendant eighty thousand CNY as well as to post an apology to Qihoo on Alibaba's official website for seven continuous days. Some media are calling this case China's first successful lawsuit against malicious software; due to insufficient related laws in China, several similar lawsuits prior to this one ended in defeat.