China: June 4th related system maintenance

As the 20th anniversary of June 4th incident is approaching, university aggregated forums (貼巴) at Baidu (a major search engine and portal site in China), have been suspended. Users cannot create new posts and cannot post comments since May 23th. According to the official notice of Baidu, the reason for the suspension is related to “national regulations” and “forum's term of agreement”.

University aggregated forums suspended

According to Radio France Internationale, Baidu's Beijing University Aggregated Forum, has put up a notice stating that: “Please accept our apology. This forum is now “read-only”, the function of creating new post has been suspended”. It further explained that “it is due to the existence of illegal contents that have violated ‘national regulations’ and the ‘forum's term of agreement’. Forum administration team has to clean up the forum and as a result users can only read, but cannot create new post.

Aggregated forum is a program developed by Baidu. When user type a keyword, the program would generate a new forum for users who are interested with the topic to share their opinion.

Comments have been closed

Apart from suspending university aggregated forums, portal sites are manipulating the public opinion by suspending the comment section.

Netizens are telling each other via twitter and fanfou that the best way to find good post in this sensitive period is to google for “comments have been close”. Joel Martinsen from DANWEI has translated a short list of news stories with closed comment sections:

-Sichuan calculates 5,335 students dead or missing from the Wenchuan Earthquake
-Corruption Prevention Bureau: Some officials are unclear about the problem of taking overseas holidays using public funds
-Foreign Ministry responds to US president's China-related remarks concerning “World Press Freedom Day”
-Deng Yuqiao's mother suddenly dismisses her lawyer

System maintenance

More independent intellectual forums and portal sites are also under pressure. TECN is temporary suspended until June 5 and YenHuang Chunqiu has been shut down since May 23 because of illegal content (according to RFA's report).


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