China: Censorship pressure from the private sector

It is well known that online content providers in China have to follow censorship instructions from various government authorities. However, with the rise of private public relation company, there is an increasing censorship pressure from the private sector. Some of them pay the websites to delete content, some retreat to hacking.

On January 26 2011, Bokee.com published an open letter to its users informing them that the website was hacked after they had refused to delete an article. The hacker contacted Bokee.com via QQ chat on 25 of January and demanded the website to delete an open letter posted on August 16 2006 written by two professors from Xiamen University Accounting Department accusing the department head, Chen Hanwen, for academic corruption. Below is a translation of conversation in the QQ chat room:

Judge 12:22:46
So you can't delete the post for me, right?
Bokee Service 12:23:52
I am sorry, I can't help you.
Judge 12:24:54
My only choice is to create a shield.
Bokee Service: 12:25:41
?
Judge: 12:25:36
If your website has function problem, contact me.
Judge: 12:33:44
I have created a shield for data transfer. It will probably affect your website's function. If you delete the article for me, I will remove the shield.

Judge 13:51:07
http://www.blogchina.com/authorEdit/articleCommentAll.php?id=168142 Help me to delete this article and everything will be OK.
Judge 13:54:14
I have built the shield around bokee.
Bokee Service 13:54:55
Hi, can you explain why you and your client Mr Chen need to remove this article so urgently?
Judge 13:54:54
Remove it first and we can talk about it.

Judge 17:20:35
Am here
Bokee Service 17:22:31
The attack is still going on?
Bokee Service 17:26:56
Please stop the attack on bokee.com and blogchina.com. Such behavior is illegal. We have recorded your attack. If you don't stop, we will announce the date and your client and report to the police and government security department.
Judge 17:27:55
You can insist not deleting
Judge 17:28:08
Am busy.
Bokee Service17:32:39
If you don't stop, we will report on Chen Hanwen and your hacking
Judge 17:33:01
Ha Ha
Judge 17:33:23
I know that you will do this, and fortunately I have prepared for it.
Judge 17:33:38
Announce it as you like
Judge 17:34:38
Busy, Offline

The attack went on from 1pm to 6pm on 25 of January. It is a mixture of DDos and SYN attack with fake IPs. BlogChina has reported the case to local police.

According to Baidu search result, the article has been circulated in many websites, but most of the posts have been deleted. Bokee.com and XYS.org remain the only two exceptions for keeping the content online.

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