China’s Memory Hole: The Images Erased From Sina Weibo

ProPublica has been collecting images that have been deleted by censors from Sina Weibo, "China’s Twitter," since May. We gathered a team of people proficient in Mandarin to read and interpret 527 deleted images collected during a two-week window this summer. The images provide a window into the Chinese elite’s self-image and its fears, as well as a lens through which to understand China’s vast system of censorship. If you work as a Weibo censor and are willing to speak to ProPublica about your experiences, please contact at weibo@propublica.org (PGP key). Related Story | Methodology | Further Resources

Bo Xilai 薄熙来

Son of one of the People's Republic of China's founding fathers, Bo Xilai was a prominent and rising politician in China until last year, when he was accused of taking bribes and his wife was named as the chief suspect in the murder of a British businessman. The accusations and later courtroom drama triggered Bo's spectacular and public downfall.

Official news of Bo's indictment broke during our two-week sample. The Chinese government caused Weibo's parent company, Sina, to go into what one Singaporean journalist called "censorship overdrive," rapidly deleting any posts related to Bo.

Over our two-week sample period, 10 percent of all censored photos were images of Bo Xilai himself or symbols that represent him or the scandal.

Image of Bo Xilai and his son Bo Guagua.
Some Chinese Weibo users compare Bo Xilai to Yue Fei and Wen Jiabao to Qin Hui, two historic figures serving the royal court more than 900 years ago. Yue defended China from invaders and has been widely considered a patriotic hero. In contrast, Qin was a disloyal minister, and framed Yue in order to persuade the emperor to sentence him to death. The Weibo comment condemns Qin and his conspirators, while the image shows tourists visiting statues of both figures in the eastern city of Hangzhou.
A screenshot of a report from Hong Kong Commercial Daily stating Bo Xilai's three crimes: soliciting bribes over 20 million yuan, corruption with an estimated value of 5 million yuan, and abuse of power.
The image contains the headline in green that Bo Xilai's trial will be held in Jinan, Shandong Province.
A news article with the headline "Bo Xilai Trial to Take Place in Jinan."
The screenshot of an iPhone interface states that Bo Xilai will be on trial, held in Jinan, the capital of Shandong Province.
The book in this photograph is about fortune telling through reading someone's appearance. The Weibo comment reads, "Do you understand? Liu Zhijun's death penalty pardon was meant to help set a precedent for Ping Xiwang." Ping Xiwang is a nickname for Bo Xilai. Liu Zhijun is another official that has fallen from party favor.
Image of Bo Xilai. The Weibo comment says that his trial will take place in Jinan, the capital city of Shandong Province.
Image of Bo Xilai, with the Weibo user stating that the trial is to be held in Jinan, the capital city of Shandong Province.
Image of Bo Xilai, with the accompanying Weibo text emphasizing the location of his trial in Jinan, the capital city of Shandong Province.
Some Chinese Weibo users compare Bo Xilai to Yue Fei and Wen Jiabao to Qin Hui, two historic figures serving the royal court more than 900 years ago. Yue defended China from invaders and has been widely considered a patriotic hero. In contrast, Qin was a disloyal minister, and framed Yue in order to persuade the emperor to sentence him to death. The image is a graphic rendering of Yue.
The plaque says “Without me," which can also be interpreted as "The self does not exist." The Weibo user critiques an unidentified individual in his comment for betraying Bo Xilai.
The headline of the news brief in the image states Bo Xilai's crimes: corruption, bribery and abuse of power. It also states that he is to be put on trial in Jinan, the capital city of Shandong Province.
An image of Bo Xilai, with the accompanying Weibo comment stating that his trial would be held in Jinan, the capital city of Shandong province.
The Weibo comment calls for the Bo Xilai trial to be broadcast live, so that people can hear for themselves how corrupt Bo is.
The image embeds an opinion from the state-owned Xinhua News Agency. It stresses the importance of taking Bo Xilai to court and bringing him to trial.
Image of Bo Xilai, with the accompanying Weibo text reporting that his trial is to be held in Jinan, the capital city of Shandong province.
The text in the image says that Bo Xilai is pretending to be insane and starving himself in prison. The photoshopped costume and pose is a sarcastic reproduction of a well-known Chinese revolutionary drama called "Du Juan Shan".
Archival footage of Bo Xilai and his wife Gu Kailai during their move to Chongqing in 2007, when Bo was announced as the Communist Party chief of the city.
This poem in the image reflects persistent support to an unspecified recipient. No name has been mentioned, but the work may be a tribute to Bo Xilai.
The compiled photographs show the scene that greeted Bo Xilai as he visited the Chongqing Department of Commerce in 2007.
Image of Bo Xilai. The Weibo user states "if the most revolutionary and 'red' of them all ended up so corrupt, who else can I believe in?"
The compiled photographs show the scene that greeted Bo Xilai as he visited the Chongqing Department of Commerce in 2007.
Image of Bo Xilai and a high-profile couple whose son was recently involved in a gang rape case.
Image of Bo Xilai receiving a visit from former U.S. National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger.
The user criticizes the pictured Weibo post written by the People's Daily, which compares 11 Weibo posts about Bo Xilai and lists how frequently they were reposted and the number of comments they received. In the comment that accompanied this image, the user scoffs at how these numbers cannot be verified.
Image of Bo Xilai.
Image of Bo Xilai.
The text included with this post claims the image is of the lawyer representing Bo Xilai in his upcoming trial.
The image contains a series of Weibo posts related to Bo Xilai, with one containing 89 comments and another reposted more than 7,000 times. The comment accompanying this image criticizes a Weibo post written by the People's Daily(http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/) that apparently has 500 comments.
Image of Bo Xilai. The Weibo user comments that he "and all ordinary Chinese citizens will forgive you."
Photograph of a local newspaper's front page, with the main headline referring to the Bo Xilai scandal, and a subtitle stating that the corruption highlighted by his case is not exceptional. Also in the top right corner is a reference to Wu Hongfei, the singer who posted an online comment about wanting to blow up government buildings after wheelchair-bound man detonated a handmade bomb in the Beijing airport. The accompanying Weibo comment mentions the mass volumes of photographs and video clips obtained by media groups that allowed them to make the groundbreaking discovery of Bo's scandal, and the involvement of figures like Wang Lijun.
Bo Xilai on vacation with his wife, Gu Kailai, and son, Bo Guagua.
Some Chinese Weibo users compare Bo Xilai to Yue Fei and Wen Jiabao to Qin Hui, two historic figures serving the royal court more than 900 years ago. Yue defended China from invaders and has been widely considered a patriotic hero. In contrast, Qin was a disloyal minister, and framed Yue in order to persuade the emperor to sentence him to death. The image is a graphic rendering of Yue.
A photo of Bo Guagua, the son of Bo Xilai.
The image is from Hong Kong-based tabloid newspaper "Apple Daily," featuring Bo Xilai with various female public figures, including actress Zhang Ziyi on the far right. The caption suggests that Bo was romantically involved with these women.
An update on "Next week's trial involving Bo Xilai, Gu Kailai, and Wang Lijun."
A news alert at the bottom of the image lists the crimes Bo Xilai is being charged with.
A legal document regarding the Bo Xilai case.
Image of Bo Xilai greeting supporters.
A legal document regarding the Bo Xilai case.
An image of Bo Xilai in chains, with the Weibo text saying, "The show is over?"
A legal document regarding the Bo Xilai case.
A photo of Bo Xilai. The Weibo user asks why the public has not heard any open statement from Bo himself.

Long Weibo 长微博

Like Twitter, Weibo posts have a 140-character limit. Because in written Chinese a single ideograph represents an entire word, the 140-character limit is the equivalent of a 140-word limit, so the length of messages on Weibo is much longer.

But for many, 140 words still isn't enough, and services have sprung up that help verbose writers get around the limit. Chinese websites such as Chang Weibo — literally meaning "Long Weibo" — allow users to convert any length of text into a single image file. A side effect of this is that it renders inoperable the automatic filters that might monitor the use of forbidden words in a text post. Long Weibo posts that contain words or ideas that are objectionable to the government are deleted after they're posted by a cadre of human censors.

Twenty-four percent, or 134, of our censored images are Long Weibo. They include politically charged essays, signed petitions calling for the release of activists, and transcripts of interviews. Interview transcripts include high-profile officials making controversial remarks about Chinese society, or experts referencing taboo topics in China's history.

The title of this article says "Testimony of Google's Support for Tibetan Autonomy."
This image describes work by a journalist who exposed the misconduct of China Resources, a state-owned conglomeration of businesses.
This image describes work by a journalist who exposed the misconduct of China Resources, a state-owned conglomeration of businesses.
The image is an article written by a journalist to expose the corruption of the Deputy Director of State Administration for Industry and Commerce.
The text in the image discusses a journalist's report of the corruption of the Deputy Director of State Administration for Industry and Commerce, as well as similar cases exposed on Weibo.
A manifesto protesting the detainment of human rights activist Xu Zhiyong.
Alleged conversation between police and Xu Zhiyong before his arrest.
A point-by-point essay addressing online rumors about Li Heng, the daughter of Hu Yaobang, who was a former leader in the Communist Party.
Essay describing President Xi Jinping visiting and interacting with top officials, establishing a military force whose primary responsibility is to "ensure the security of the capital Beijing." At the end the user notes that this development sets an uneasy precedent for the future, and could cause panic and instability.
An essay reflecting on the undesirable state of affairs in China and describing the state of democracy in America.
This essay is allegedly by the group of 150 female traffic police officers who protested in the city of Chongqing. They accuse Bo Xilai of deceiving them into joining the police when he had no established power, and criticize Bo and his poor governance of Chongqing.
Reposting previously deleted content that mentions censorship.
The title of this news story is "Gansu Province Earthquake Truth -- A Human Disaster of a Rescue Effort."
An updated petition with additional names calling for the release of dissident Xu Zhiyong. The Weibo user ardently calls for continued reposting.
Feng Ming, the former Deputy Secretary General of Wenzhou, describes how he confessed to false charges under torture.
An essay titled "My friend Xu Zhiyong." An effort is also made to hide the textual mention of Xu in the accompnaying Weibo comment, in order to elude the automatic censorship filters.
This essay argues that "even after more than twenty years of the so-called 'revolutionary struggle to open China to the world,' the Chinese people have still not been granted the circumstances for a safe and prosperous livelihood."
This article strongly criticizes the People's Daily, a newspaper that is an organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The title says: "People's Daily, you have already been disorderly for so many years."
Photos of the arrest of a group of female traffic police officers for protesting in the city of Chongqing. They accused Bo Xilai of deceiving them into joining the police when he had no established power and promising that they would be able to join the civil service. The Weibo comment blames Bo and his poor governance while running Chongqing.
The title of the article in this screenshot says "Xinhua News Criticizes Public Intellectuals for Inciting the Populace to Hate the Government."
The title of the article in the image says "South China Morning Post: State Council Information Office Gives Orders to Criticize Weibo's Public Intellectuals" -- who are viewed as rabble-rousing, socially destabilizing forces by the Chinese government. The Weibo user dedicates his post to Chinese users "unable to scale the Great Firewall of China."
Essay by journalist and activist Xiao Shu.
Image is a screenshot of excerpts of two essays. The first is by Weibo user 'Wang Xiaoshi' who wrote an article about the tragedy of the Soviet Union, arguing that if China continues bemoaning its societal troubles and inequities, it will suffer a worse fate than the USSR did. The second article was a story written earlier, stating the opposite -- that despite its post-1989 troubles, Russia did quite well as a nation.
The text in the image and the Weibo comment claim that a 20-year-old woman died in police custody. According to the author of the essay, the police concluded she died of drug abuse but her father was not convinced, because he saw bruises and wounds on her body. The validity of the story cannot be confirmed.
The text in the image and the Weibo comment claim that a 20-year-old woman died in police custody. According to the author of the essay, the police concluded she died of drug abuse but her father was not convinced because he saw bruises and wounds on her body. The validity of the story cannot be confirmed.
Image is of an essay titled "China's Black Leadership is the Most Shameless Community."
This article refutes an essay written by Wang Xiaoshi, an online name for Li Shenming, Deputy Secretary at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. His work focused on the tragedy of the Soviet Union in the 1990's after its dissolution, and argued that if China continues bemoaning its societal troubles and inequities, it will suffer a worse fate than the USSR did.
This essay refers to an article written by online user 'Wang Xiaoshi', who wrote that if China continues bemoaning its social troubles and inequities, it will suffer a worse fate than the USSR did. This censored image is titled "Ninety Percent of Wang's Article is Based on Rumor." The remainder of the text then proceeds to dispute the numbers Wang used in his argument.
This article refers to an essay written by Wang Xiaoshi, an online name for Li Shenming, Deputy Secretary at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. His work focused on the tragedy of the Soviet Union in the 1990's after its dissolution, and argued that if China continues bemoaning its societal troubles and inequities, it will suffer a worse fate than the USSR did. This pictured article starts with "Many Chinese Weibo users have pointed out that over ninety percent of the numbers in Wang's article are rumors."
This screenshot of a text message alleges that Chinese journalist Xiao Shu was approached by a national security officer. The officer told Xiao to leave Beijing, or he'll make him "disappear." Xiao refused, saying that he was helping his friend and dissident Xu Zhiyong in a time of difficulty. Now he has disappeared.
Essay by Chinese journalist Xiao Shu.
An updated petition with additional names calling for the release of dissident Xu Zhiyong. The Weibo user ardently calls for continued reposting.
State-owned Xinhua News Agency published an op-ed under the name "Wang Xiaoshi" titled "An unstable China will end up more tragic than the Soviet Union after its 1991 collapse." 'Wang' made his point by quoting economic indicators of Russia. This Weibo user emphasized how most of the cited figures are inaccurate.
State-owned Xinhua News Agency published an op-ed under the name "Wang Xiaoshi" titled "An unstable China will end up more tragic than the Soviet Union after its collapse." This poster claims to have found the clue in confirming that "Wang Xiaoshi" is actually the pen name of Li Shenming, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The title of this essay is as follows: "Chinese Weibo: Amazingly, the one laughing because another's pants fly is down has forgotten that his own buttocks are exposed." The article goes on to document how online user 'Wang Xiaoshi' published an essay about the tragedy of the Soviet Union in its downfall -- implying that if China continues bemoaning its societal troubles and inequities, it will suffer a worse fate than the USSR did. The essay highlighted the strong criticism the author has received from the online community as a result.
This screenshot contains purported quotes from Chinese president Xi Jinping admitting how some problems have originated from within the party.
The Weibo user introduces the new account name of Zhang Xuezhong, whose former Weibo account was deleted. The user attributed it to the censorship of Zhang's article, which questions a party-owned army and advocates for a national one.
A translated talk on human rights given by Uzra Zeya, the U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
The text in the image says the Washington Post reported that every piece of criticism from 590 million Chinese Internet users goes through surveillance. The Weibo user expresses sympathy for the young men recruited to be censors, lamenting how they are wasting their best years on a job that they can't do forever.
An essay titled "A command from my conscience" regarding dissident Xu Zhiyong. The author touches on various topics that are critical of the current regime, such as the lack of due process and the army of government-employed censors.
Image is a statement by Xiao Shu calling for the release of activist Xu Zhiyong.
Image is a statement by Xiao Shu calling for the release of activist Xu Zhiyong.
Image is a statement by Xiao Shu calling for the release of activist Xu Zhiyong.
An essay titled "A command from my conscience" regarding dissident Xu Zhiyong. The author touches on various topics that are critical of the current regime, such as the lack of due process and the army of government-employed censors.
Image is a statement by Xiao Shu calling for the release of activist Xu Zhiyong.
This essay says what a significant struggle capitalism has been for China, suggesting that after 30 years of forced uphill battle, the country is gasping for breath, and has not even reached the place it originally wanted to be.
A translated talk on human rights given by Uzra Zeya, the U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
The image is a transcribed interview "between me and a Chinese Weibo user" -- with questions that include "Besides Chairman Mao and Stalin, who else do you respect the most?" The Weibo comment questions why Chairman Mao was unwilling to protect his loyal followers and believers, and why he abandoned those on the left.
Image is a statement by Xiao Shu calling for the release of activist Xu Zhiyong.
Image is a statement by Xiao Shu calling for the release of activist Xu Zhiyong. .
This image is a compilation of excerpts from an essay written by Wang Xiaoshi, the pseudonym for Li Shenming, Deputy Secretary at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and a series of rebuttals from the online community. Wang's essay focused on the tragedy of the Soviet Union in the 1990's after its dissolution, and argued that if China continues bemoaning its societal troubles and inequities, it will suffer a worse fate than the USSR did. Attached to Wang's article are responses from Weibo users, who point to works, figures and tables that refute his essay.
An essay detailing three self-criticisms of former Chinese President Deng Xiaoping, who led the country after Mao Zedong's death in the late 1970s. This essay dates back to the beginning of the Cultural Revolution.
The image is of a letter to Party Secretary of Jiang Su province written by a factory worker in Nanjing, whose name and personal details are blanked out. The worker details his recent release from detainment by the propaganda department because of his participation in annual protests regarding crucial paperwork that his superiors failed to properly administer, and criticizes the government for frequently "locking up this poor man of more than sixty years of age, and separating him from his severely mentally ill partner."
The image is of a letter to Party Secretary of Jiang Su province written by a factory worker in Nanjing, whose name and personal details are blanked out. The worker details his recent detainment by the propaganda department because of his participation in annual protests regarding crucial paperwork that his superiors failed to properly administer, and criticizes the government for frequently "locking up this poor man of more than sixty years of age, and separating him from his severely mentally ill partner."
The screenshot is of a Radio Free Asia article, with the title "Op-Ed Contributor Liang Jing: Bo Xilai's case puts Xi Jinping's political management to the test."
The image is the opinion page for People's Daily, a newspaper that is an organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The central story is on Wang Lin with the title: "Who made Wang Lin so big and popular?" The following photographs are of Wang performing or with famous figures. The Weibo comment argues that the essay exhibits a bureaucratic performance and fabrication of an event for the public: "This offers a glimpse into the avarice-laden interior of officialdom, a mirror to its spiritual ugliness."
The beginning of an essay by online user "Wang Xiaoshi" about the tragedy of the Soviet Union in its downfall -- implying that if China continues bemoaning its societal troubles and inequities, it will suffer a worse fate than the USSR did.
An iPhone screenshot of a Hong Kong newspaper reporting how Beijing websites are coming together to fight against online rumor-mongering. The Weibo user asserts that those who want to fight rumor-mongering are actually those initiating the rumors.
A translated talk on human rights given by Uzra Zeya, the U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
This essay questions the official account of the role of the Communist Party in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45), prompting the Weibo user to note how ever since the advent of the Internet in China, this official narrative has spread at a staggering rate.
The Weibo comment and the image both discuss the luxurious treatment of ministers in the Chinese government, which include a 220 square meter (722 square feet) house, a 54 square meter (177 square feet) office, a 450,000 yuan (74,000 dollars) car, and many other benefits after retirement.
The Weibo comment and the image both discuss the luxurious treatment of ministers in the Chinese government, which include a 220 square meter (722 square feet) house, a 54 square meter (177 square feet) office, a 450,000 yuan (74,000 dollars) car, and many other benefits after retirement.
The article discusses one man who has begun to investigate the municipal government and past corruption in failed projects.
Image is a screenshot of a Weibo comment directly addressing Chinese President Xi Jinping: "In order for the Party to prepare for progressive reforms and address past instability, it needs to acknowledge that the root causes to certain problems lay within itself." The comment includes the original user lamenting that "such words of mine cannot be publicly broadcast by state-run media."
The title says "What Jack Ma Said that is Unsuitable for Other People's Ears?" The caption for the picture of the former CEO of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba says that in an interview with Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post, Ma emphasized that success comes to those who independently walk their own road. He also made comments on the June 4th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, along with Google's 2010 withdrawal of its search engine services from China. The subsequent screenshots show censorship machinery at work, such as the Weibo screenshot of a user who claims to be the manager of the Morning Post's English-language website, saying that the Chinese version of the article containing the interview with Ma "is undergoing corrections and will be back up shortly."
A statement protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong. In the statement, Xiao Shu and Wang Gongquan call for the public's awareness of civil law and further support for the "New Citizen's Movement".
A statement protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong. In the statement, Xiao Shu and Wang Gongquan call for the public's awareness of civil law and further support for the "New Citizen's Movement".
Weibo user Wang Wusi (Weibo ID) criticizes Wang Gongquan and Xiao Shu's statement on Xu Zhiyong's criminal detention for its unclear logic and omission of other New Citizen's Movement activists who are also in detention.
A manifesto protesting the detainment of activist Xu Zhiyong.
Alleged conversation between police and Xu Zhiyong before his arrest. The Weibo user asks others to spread this post like wildfire.
Strongly worded essay detailing how the arrest of Xu Zhiyong reflects a severe problem with China's political and social health.
Alleged conversation between police and Xu Zhiyong before his arrest.
Alleged conversation between police and Xu Zhiyong before his arrest.
An essay criticizing the government's treatment of Xu Zhiyong.
Alleged conversation between police and Xu Zhiyong before his arrest.
A manifesto protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong, written by well-known Chinese economist Mao Yushi, Wang Gongquan, Chinese activist Xiao Shu, New Citizen's Movement activist Yang Zili, and Hangzhou lawyer Wang Cheng.
Comments on the arrest of Xu Zhiyong.
A compilation of quotations from the Chinese language version of The Wall Street Journal and Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post. Both stories include interviews with Jack Ma, founder and former CEO of e-commerce company Alibaba Group. Ma compares his position in the company to that of Deng Xiaoping when the former Chinese president decided to crack down on the Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989. Ma describes Deng's decision as "not perfect but definitely right." The words "Tiananmen" and "Six Four," referring to June 4th and the massacre, are redacted in the image.
A manifesto protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong, written by well-known Chinese economist Mao Yushi, Wang Gongquan, Chinese activist Xiao Shu, New Citizen's Movement activist Yang Zili, and Hangzhou lawyer Wang Cheng.
A discussion of Jack Ma, founder and former CEO of e-commerce company Alibaba Group, and if he supported the violent crackdown of Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989. The tape recording Alibaba provided to the Wall Street Journal showed that Ma said that the government's decision was "not perfect but definitely right."
A manifesto protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong, written by well-known Chinese economist Mao Yushi, Wang Gongquan, Chinese activist Xiao Shu, New Citizen's Movement activist Yang Zili, and Hangzhou lawyer Wang Cheng.
This compilation of articles describes a journalist from Xinhua News Agency, who is arguing against allegations that his expose of high-level officials being bribed with human break milk is false. In a statement, the journalist says he will sue Sohu.com for reporting untrue news if they don't take down the article. The cartoon at the top of the image is a woman holding a sign saying "Wet Nurse: Adult Service Only."
A public appeal by a friend of jailed pro-democracy activist Zhang Lin, to help his 10-year-old daughter Zhang Anni. In February, Anni was taken from her school in Anhui Province and detained by police.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo, documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo, documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo, documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
This essay argues that Li Kaifu, an outspoken entrepreneur and the former head of Google's Beijing office, uses social media to vilify the Chinese government and incite hatred in society.
Essay penned by a Taiwanese writer that evokes Zhang Sizhi, a Chinese human rights lawyer.
A screenshot of a report from Hong Kong Commercial Daily stating Bo Xilai's three crimes: soliciting bribes over 20 million yuan, corruption with an estimated value of 5 million yuan, and abuse of power.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
The Weibo user describes how people from Huadu, a northern suburb of the city of Guangzhou, were detained without reason, and that people should be against government plans to build a garbage incineration plant in the city.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
The headline of the news brief in the image states Bo Xilai's crimes: corruption, bribery and abuse of power. It also states that he is to be put on trial in Jinan, the capital city of Shandong Province.
An open letter to Yuan Chunqing, the Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Committee in Shanxi Province, regarding the case of a Shanxi businessman, Li Yongyun. Li was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009 for the crime of swindling, but was then set free in 2012. The Weibo comment calls for the release of truthful information regarding the corruption of Shanxi party officials.
The Weibo comment calls for the Bo Xilai trial to be broadcast live, so that people can hear for themselves how corrupt Bo is.
Both the text in the image and the Weibo comment accuse those in power of corruption, criticizing them for living a luxurious life at the expense of the common people.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
The headline says that after someone used a knife to injure others in a supermarket in Beijing, many supermarkets took knives off the shelf. The Weibo user mocks the article.
A user displays an image of a previously censored Weibo post criticizing Bo Xilai, and comments with mock surprise that it was deleted.
After reading the linked article, a Weibo user asks questions about the government and Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that is critical of Chinese authorities and is outlawed in mainland China.
This poem in the image reflects persistent support to an unspecified recipient. No name has been mentioned, but the work may be a tribute to Bo Xilai.
The user criticizes the pictured Weibo post written by the People's Daily, which compares 11 Weibo posts about Bo Xilai and lists how frequently they were reposted and the number of comments they received. In the comment that accompanied this image, the user scoffs at how these numbers cannot be verified.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
The iPhone screenshot shows the sharing of an image of singer Wu Hongfei and her original blog post to bomb government buildings. The user in the image sharing the post states that the rapid security response to Wu's online post that resulted in her immediate detention for "causing trouble" was typical police procedure that really had to stop.
A written biography of Ji Zhongxing, who bombed the Beijing airport in July 2013. The image shows Ji injured after he was beaten and paralyzed by "chengguan," who act as city security guards, in 2005, which led him to stage the airport bombing earlier this year.
A petition to free Xu Zhiyong, asking all those who agree to add their names.
The image contains a series of Weibo posts related to Bo Xilai, with one containing 89 comments and another reposted more than 7,000 times. The comment accompanying this image criticizes a Weibo post written by the People's Daily(http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/) that apparently has 500 comments.
An open letter addressed to Xu Zhiyong, expressing support for him while he is imprisoned.
This post touches upon the Bo Xilai incident, specifically highlighting the great numbers of Chinese who "will steadfastly support him" and the "corrupt triad society" that characterizes the "Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao revolution." .
The text in the image explains five features of a series of public hearings that took place in major Chinese cities such as Chongqing, Hefei and Chengdu, most likely in reference to Bo Xilai's upcoming trial.
Comments on the arrest of Xu Zhiyong.
Though a series of images and captions, the Weibo user alleges that the Director of Security at Sinopec, a state-owned petroleum and petrochemical investment organization, ordered for him and another protestor to be beaten.
A petition to free Xu Zhiyong, asking all those who agree to add their names.
An essay written by Chinese dissident Xu Zhiyong titled "These Ten Years."
According to the Hong Kong-based newspaper Ta Kung Pao, a journalist at the mainland Chinese state-owned Xinhua News Agency reported that a high-level Chinese official invited businessmen to a dinner event where they were invited to drink the breast milk of naked lactating women. The Weibo text says "This was censored so quickly. The original statement looked so much like official propaganda, and yet it still got removed so quickly? This is essentially the verification we need!"
An angry statement by a journalist at the state-owned Xinhua News Agency, reporting that a high-level official invited businessmen to a dinner banquet, where breast milk from naked lactating women was offered as one entree.
An angry statement by a journalist at the state-owned Xinhua News Agency, reporting that a high-level official invited businessmen to a dinner banquet, where breast milk from naked lactating women was offered as one entree.
Smartphone screenshot of a news article, claiming that the Hong Kong-based newspaper Ta Kung Pao wrote a story about a journalist at the mainland Chinese state-owned Xinhua News Agency. The journalist reported that a Chinese high- level official invited businessmen for dinner, where breast milk from naked lactating women was offered as one entree.
An angry statement by a journalist at the state-owned Xinhua News Agency, reporting that a high-level official invited businessmen to a dinner banquet, where breast milk from naked lactating women was offered as one entree.
According to the newspaper Ta Kung Pao, a journalist at the state-owned Xinhua News Agency reported that a high-level official invited businessmen for a dinner where breast milk from naked lactating women was offered as one entree.
Smartphone screenshot of Weibo user directly addressing the censor or censors responsible for freezing his account, threatening that "If this account gets shut down again, I will use all my social contacts to dig up your salary and all other personal details, and publish on all media outlets that I am in touch with."
A statement protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong. In the statement, Xiao Shu and Wang Gongquan call for the public's awareness of civil law and further support for the "New Citizen's Movement".
A statement protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong. In the statemen,t Xiao Shu and Wang Gongquan call for the public's awareness of civil law and further support for the "New Citizen's Movement".
A statement protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong. In the statement, Xiao Shu and Wang Gongquan call for the public's awareness of civil law and further support for the "New Citizen's Movement".
A statement protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong. In the statement, Xiao Shu and Wang Gongquan call for the public's awareness of civil law and further support for the "New Citizen's Movement".
The image embeds an opinion from the state-owned Xinhua News Agency. It stresses the importance of taking Bo Xilai to court and bringing him to trial.
Smartphone screenshot of a news article, claiming that the Hong Kong-based newspaper Ta Kung Pao wrote a story about a journalist at the mainland Chinese state-owned Xinhua News Agency. The journalist reported that a Chinese high-level official invited businessmen for dinner, offering them breast milk from naked lactating women as one entree.

Wang Lin 王林

Chinese media began reporting on investigations into a celebrity faith healer named Wang Lin starting in late July, a few days before our observation period began. Lin is a qigong practitioner who was famous for his alleged healing power and other supernatural abilities, including the (later debunked) ability to conjure snakes from an empty pot and (also later debunked) ability to make wine magically appear in empty glasses.

What makes Wang an inconvenience worth censoring is his high-level public friendships with members of the Chinese elite, and the immense wealth he's managed to accumulate. Photographs deleted from Weibo show Wang with actors Jet Li and Jackie Chan, Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang, and many more.

Wang has left China and is now in Hong Kong. Photos of Wang, often in long strips, posing with well-known Chinese public figures, make up 7 percent of our deleted images.

Photo montage of Wang Lin with a series of public figures, including entrepreneur Jack Ma, and actresses Zhao Wei and Li Bingbing.
Photo montage of Wang Lin taking photographs with founder and former CEO of Chinese e-commerce group Alibaba Group Jack Ma, along with celebrities such as actresses Zhao Wei and Fan Bingbing.
Photo montage of Wang Lin with a series of public figures, including entrepreneur Jack Ma and actresses Zhao Wei and Li Bingbing.
Photo montage of Wang Lin performing his snake-conjuring act and posing with various public and political figures, including the younger sister of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin (in the second photo), Wang Lijun (in the ninth photo), and Chinese actress Fan Bingbing (in the twelfth photograph).
Photo montage of Wang Lin performing his snake-conjuring act and posing with various public and political figures, including the younger sister of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin (in the second photo), disgraced former railroad minister Li Zhijun (in the ninth photo), and Chinese actress Li Bingbing (in the thirteenth photograph).
Photo montage of Wang Lin performing his snake-conjuring act and posing with various public and political figures, including the younger sister of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin (in the second photo), disgraced former railroad minister Li Zhijun (in the ninth photo), and Chinese actress Li Bingbing (in the thirteenth photograph).
Photo montage of Wang Lin performing his snake-conjuring act and posing with various public and political figures, including the younger sister of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin (in the second photo), disgraced former railroad minister Li Zhijun (in the ninth photo), and Chinese actress Li Bingbing (in the thirteenth photograph).
Photo montage of Wang Lin performing his snake-conjuring act and posing with various public and political figures, including the younger sister of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin (in the second photo), disgraced former railroad minister Li Zhijun (in the ninth photo), and Chinese actress Li Bingbing (in the thirteenth photograph).
Photo montage of Wang Lin performing his snake-conjuring act and posing with various public and political figures, including the younger sister of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin (in the second photo), disgraced former railroad minister Li Zhijun (in the ninth photo), and Chinese actress Li Bingbing (in the thirteenth photograph).
Photo montage of Wang Lin performing his snake-conjuring act and posing with various public and political figures, including the younger sister of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin (in the second photo), disgraced former railroad minister Li Zhijun (in the ninth photo), and Chinese actress Li Bingbing (in the thirteenth photograph).
Photo montage of Wang Lin performing his snake-conjuring act and posing with various public and political figures, including the younger sister of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin (in the second photo), disgraced former railroad minister Li Zhijun (in the ninth photo), and Chinese actress Li Bingbing (in the thirteenth photograph).
Wang Lin poses with politicians and celebrities.
Photo montage of Wang Lin with a series of public figures, including entrepreneur Jack Ma and actresses Zhao Wei and Li Bingbing.
Photo montage of Wang Lin performing his snake-conjuring act and posing with various public and political figures, including the younger sister of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin (in the second photo), disgraced former railroad minister Li Zhijun (in the ninth photo), and Chinese actress Li Bingbing (in the thirteenth photograph).
Photo montage of Wang Lin performing his snake-conjuring act and posing with various public and political figures, including the younger sister of former Chinese President Jiang Zemin (in the second photo), disgraced former railroad minister Li Zhijun (in the ninth photo), and Chinese actress Li Bingbing (in the thirteenth photograph).
Photo montage of Wang Lin.
The image is the opinion page for People's Daily, a newspaper that is an organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The central story is on Wang Lin with the title: "Who made Wang Lin so big and popular?" The following photographs are of Wang performing or with famous figures. The Weibo comment argues that the essay exhibits a bureaucratic performance and fabrication of an event for the public: "This offers a glimpse into the avarice-laden interior of officialdom, a mirror to its spiritual ugliness."
Photo montage of Wang Lin with a series of public figures, including entrepreneur Jack Ma and actresses Zhao Wei and Li Bingbing.
Photo montage of Wang Lin, including the lavish housing he lives in.

Dissidents 异见人士

This category includes images of well-known Chinese dissidents, their political essays, petitions for their release from jail and updates on their detainment or whereabouts. These dissidents include:

Xu Zhiyong (许志永), a well-known Chinese lawyer and rights activist who was arrested during our observation period in late July 2013. Xu is one of the co-founders of the New Citizens Movement, which calls for democracy in China. Many deleted posts are photos of Xu or Long Weibo petitions or essays calling for his release.

Xiao Shu (笑蜀), a journalist who campaigned for Xu's release, was taken away by police a few days after Xu was arrested. Censors deleted photos of him, as well as his public statement calling for Xu's release.

Alleged conversation between police and Xu Zhiyong before his arrest. The Weibo user asks others to spread this post like wildfire.
A statement protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong. In the statement, Xiao Shu and Wang Gongquan call for the public's awareness of civil law and further support for the "New Citizen's Movement".
A statement protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong. In the statement, Xiao Shu and Wang Gongquan call for the public's awareness of civil law and further support for the "New Citizen's Movement".
A statement protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong. In the statement, Xiao Shu and Wang Gongquan call for the public's awareness of civil law and further support for the "New Citizen's Movement".
Alleged conversation between police and Xu Zhiyong before his arrest.
A statement protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong. In the statemen,t Xiao Shu and Wang Gongquan call for the public's awareness of civil law and further support for the "New Citizen's Movement".
Weibo user Wang Wusi (Weibo ID) criticizes Wang Gongquan and Xiao Shu's statement on Xu Zhiyong's criminal detention for its unclear logic and omission of other New Citizen's Movement activists who are also in detention.
A statement protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong. In the statement, Xiao Shu and Wang Gongquan call for the public's awareness of civil law and further support for the "New Citizen's Movement".
Chinese-language version of the BBC website, with the headline "America Demands that China Immediately Release Human Rights Activist Xu Zhiyong."
A manifesto protesting the detainment of activist Xu Zhiyong.
Alleged conversation between police and Xu Zhiyong before his arrest.
A statement protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong. In the statement, Xiao Shu and Wang Gongquan call for the public's awareness of civil law and further support for the "New Citizen's Movement".
Strongly worded essay detailing how the arrest of Xu Zhiyong reflects a severe problem with China's political and social health.
An essay criticizing the government's treatment of Xu Zhiyong.
Alleged conversation between police and Xu Zhiyong before his arrest.
Alleged conversation between police and Xu Zhiyong before his arrest.
Portrait of dissident Xu Zhiyong.
A manifesto protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong, written by well-known Chinese economist Mao Yushi, Wang Gongquan, Chinese activist Xiao Shu, New Citizen's Movement activist Yang Zili, and Hangzhou lawyer Wang Cheng.
Comments on the arrest of Xu Zhiyong.
According to the South China Morning Post, this photo is of Xu Zhiyong and his best friends Teng Biao and Yu Jiang on their graduation day. The Weibo user writes as if speaking with the three in the photo, saying that 10 years ago all of "you" were free, and now the one on the left is captured, and the one on the right is in jail.
A manifesto protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong, written by well-known Chinese economist Mao Yushi, Wang Gongquan, Chinese activist Xiao Shu, New Citizen's Movement activist Yang Zili, and Hangzhou lawyer Wang Cheng.
A manifesto protesting the criminal detention of Xu Zhiyong, written by well-known Chinese economist Mao Yushi, Wang Gongquan, Chinese activist Xiao Shu, New Citizen's Movement activist Yang Zili, and Hangzhou lawyer Wang Cheng.
An essay written by Chinese dissident Xu Zhiyong titled "These Ten Years."
A public appeal by a friend of jailed pro-democracy activist Zhang Lin, to help his 10-year-old daughter Zhang Anni. In February, Anni was taken from her school in Anhui Province and detained by police.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo, documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo, documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo, documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An image of dissident Xu Zhiyong. The Weibo comment includes quotes from Xu, as well as intentional typos of his name in an attempt to bypass the Internet filters that would automatically catch any textual mention of the dissident.
Image of Xu Zhiyong. The Weibo user lists his contributions, including the dissident's persistent calls for average Chinese to be more assertive with their rights as citizens, and urges the government to release him from imprisonment.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
Image contains the text for "rising red sun" that could be construed as a reference to Japan. The Weibo comment references dissident Xu Zhiyong, with symbols in between the textual characters in order to elude automatic censorship filters, and arrested lawyer Chen Yongfu.
Eight letters are being mailed out regarding the detainment of lawyers who visited Xu Zhiyong.
A photo of Hu Jia, a Chinese dissident who was detained in 2007 and later jailed on suspicion of subversion. Jia was released in 2011. The Weibo post celebrates Hu's 40th birthday and claims that Hu "is the model we should follow".
Image of Xu Zhiyong behind bars. In the Weibo comment, his name was spelled with intended errors in order to elude the automatic censorship filters.
Image of Xu Zhiyong behind bars.
Xu Zhiyong was visited behind bars. In the post, his name was spelled with intended errors to bypass automatic censorship filters.
Image of Xu Zhiyong behind bars. The Weibo user angrily curses the dissident's captors and calls them "cowardly scoundrels" for locking up someone who is only doing good for their country.
Image of Xu Zhiyong behind bars.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
Image of Xu Zhiyong behind bars.
Allegedly the person on the right is dissident Hu Jia, and the Weibo user claims that he, alongside the young girl in this picture, have been detained by the authorities.
Image of Xu Zhiyong behind bars. The Weibo comment states that he has been held in the Third Detention House in Beijing, starting from July 24, 2013.
The image is of a Twitter post from human rights activist and lawyer Teng Biao, who says that all 18 of those who gathered to celebrate the 40th birthday of well-known dissident Hu Jia were detained.
Image of Xu Zhiyong behind bars.
An open letter to the government by lawyer Liu Weiguo documenting his detainment by police when he went to a precinct to visit his client, the jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
A petition to free Xu Zhiyong, asking all those who agree to add their names.
An open letter addressed to Xu Zhiyong, expressing support for him while he is imprisoned.
Screenshot shows the "special thanks" section with a number of recognizable activists and pro-democracy social critics, along with 1,200 others who signed the petition for the release of dissident Xu Zhiyong. The Weibo comment repeats many of the names listed in the image.
Comments on the arrest of Xu Zhiyong.
The Weibo user encourages readers to repost in order to support and release activist and dissident Zhang Lin, pictured here. Zhang had been imprisoned multiple times in the past for his human rights work.
A petition to free Xu Zhiyong, asking all those who agree to add their names.
Chinese-language version of the BBC news website, with the headline "America Demands that China Immediately Release Human Rights Activist Xu Zhiyong."
The man's shirt reads, "Xu Zhiyong, Mom is calling you home to eat a meal," which is a reference to a post catchphrase that once trended in the Chinese online sphere.
A manifesto protesting the detainment of human rights activist Xu Zhiyong.
An updated petition with additional names calling for the release of dissident Xu Zhiyong. The Weibo user ardently calls for continued reposting.
An essay titled "My friend Xu Zhiyong." An effort is also made to hide the textual mention of Xu in the accompnaying Weibo comment, in order to elude the automatic censorship filters.
Image of Xu Zhiyong. The Weibo user lists his contributions -- including the dissident's persistent calls for average Chinese to be more assertive with their rights as citizens -- and urges the government to release him from imprisonment.
Essay by journalist and activist Xiao Shu.
This screenshot of a text message alleges that Chinese journalist Xiao Shu was approached by a national security officer. The officer told Xiao to leave Beijing, or he'll make him "disappear." Xiao refused, saying that he was helping his friend and dissident Xu Zhiyong in a time of difficulty. Now he has disappeared.
A photo of Chinese journalist Xiao Shu posing next to a sculpture of Mao Zedong. The Weibo text reads, "Silly kid. Still believes that China can be reformed, and that the system can become aware of its mistakes. Will he awake from his dream this time?" The Weibo user alleges that today at 2 p.m., Xiao was “taken away."
A photo of Chinese journalist Xiao Shu. The post writes that Xiao has finally arrived been "taken away" and made to "disappear," because at 12:40 today he spoke with two national security officers. He has been missing ever since.
The Weibo user writes that artist Dai Hua, pictured in the first photo, published a series of cartoons online and was later taken by the police and the user hasn't heard from Dai since. He does not know what the cartoons were about, but he's worried for Dai's safety. It is implied that the remaining photos are of Dai's work.
Essay by Chinese journalist Xiao Shu.
An updated petition with additional names calling for the release of dissident Xu Zhiyong. The Weibo user ardently calls for continued reposting.
Image of imprisoned journalist Xiao Shu.
Image of imprisoned journalist Xiao Shu.
A translated talk on human rights given by Uzra Zeya, the U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
A translated talk on human rights given by Uzra Zeya, the U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
A translated talk on human rights given by Uzra Zeya, the U.S. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
The Weibo user writes "Dai Hua goes home." Dai, an artist, is pictured in the first photo, and published a series of cartoons online before being taken away by the police.
The screenshot explains that on Aug. 2, at 10:25 p.m, "I made contact with Xiao Shu." Xiao, a Chinese journalist, says that (1) Beijing's national security officers lied to him, saying they'd meet for tea, but instead forced him out of the city back to Guangzhou. (2) Beijing transferred him to Guangzhou. He's still in custody, but there have been no human rights violations. (3) His captors have no warrant and have committed the equivalent of kidnapping. (4) The person responsible for the killings of the New Citizen's Movement is the newly promoted Bo Zhihua, now Deputy Minister of Public Security.
A photo of Chinese journalist Xiao Shu. The Weibo post says that he has been captured by the government and detained for 48 hours. The user demands Xiao's immediate release.
Image is a statement by Xiao Shu calling for the release of activist Xu Zhiyong. .
Image of imprisoned journalist Xiao Shu.
An essay titled "A command from my conscience" regarding dissident Xu Zhiyong. The author touches on various topics that are critical of the current regime, such as the lack of due process and the army of government-employed censors.
An essay titled "A command from my conscience" regarding dissident Xu Zhiyong. The author touches on various topics that are critical of the current regime, such as the lack of due process and the army of government-employed censors.
Image is a statement by Xiao Shu calling for the release of activist Xu Zhiyong.
Image is a statement by Xiao Shu calling for the release of activist Xu Zhiyong.
Image is a statement by Xiao Shu calling for the release of activist Xu Zhiyong.
Image is a statement by Xiao Shu calling for the release of activist Xu Zhiyong.
A BBC News exclusive interview with dissident Xiao Shu.

Cartoons and Humor 漫画和幽默

Among the deleted images is a small collection of political cartoons and humorous images. They include caricatures of disgraced politician Bo Xilai, portraits of famous dissidents, and cartoons critical of government corruption and incompetence.

Two cartoons make fun of the "50-cent Party" (五毛党), a name given to the estimated hundreds of thousands of government employees whose primary responsibility is to post comments onto online forums and websites to promote the government's interests. In an interview conducted by Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, one employee said that they would often play multiple roles, arguing for and against the government, to manipulate the conversation to a predetermined goal.

They are nicknamed the "50-cent" party because they are rumored to be paid 0.5 yuan ($0.08) for each post.

Cartoon indicating hierarchy, with the written caption: "The people express unhappiness with the capture of Xu Zhiyong."
The Weibo comment accompanying this image of U.S. President George W. Bush says: "Let me tell you why I got fired by the hospital. One stormy summer day, a group of wounded were being sent to the ER from a couple traffic accidents. The hospital director called us for emergency operations. Meanwhile, I was sent out of the hospital to stand in the middle of the road and greet passersby while holding an umbrella. After getting soaked, I went back to the operating room, only to find the director extremely angry with me: 'Can't you see people are dying here? Who needs your pretentious gestures?" The post then ends with profanity.
The image puts Mao Zedong's well-known handwritten text "Serve the people" behind a wolf wearing a badge that flashes "perverted wolf," which is also a phrase meaning simply "pervert" in Chinese. The three wristwatches on the wolf's arm makes reference to a public outrage concerning officials and their obsession with luxury brands. The Weibo comment highlights the inconsistency between official government words and actions.
Satirical portrait of rich official, rendered as a wolf, which usually implies ruthlessness or corruption, using a stack of money as a bed.
The man in the cartoon is shouting "Growing horns is prohibited!" The Weibo comment says "In a country with so much miscarriage of justice, the law is already broken; in a country with so much poisonous food products, the moral system is already broken; in a country with so much corruption, all self-constraint is broken; in a country with so many ignorant masses, the cultural system is broken; in a country with so many unemployed, the economy is broken; in a country with so many poor people, the political system is broken."
An adaptation of the well-known Chinese cartoon "Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf", where in this case the goat symbolizes jailed activist Xu Zhiyong.
The Weibo comment reports that a lawyer involved with the Xu Zhiyong case was being questioned by police and asked him for a follow-up. The illustration has a caption reading "Welcoming government scrutiny of the people." The two figures, representing a lawyer and a journalist, are being silenced by the shadow figure, most likely representing the government. The Weibo comment argues that it is the darkest age for Chinese lawyers because several have been recently arrested.
An adaptation of the well-known Chinese cartoon "Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf", to tell the story of jailed activist Xu Zhiyong. Xu is presented as the lamb and the government is presented as the wolf.
This Weibo user criticizes the Red Cross for offering no monetary compensation to migrant workers and college students that comprise the majority of blood donors in China.
The Weibo post condemns members of the 50-Cent Party, Internet commentators who are hired by the authorities to promote pro-government opinions.
The Weibo comment contains words to a folk song condemning politicians.
The image uses a conversation between Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson to refer to the Chinese government. The conversation suggests that people should consider establishing new political parties if the existing ones are corrupt.
This cartoon utilizes two Chinese pictograms in the word "fart." The Weibo user in the comment ridicules a Mao Zedong quotation about a moral and prosperous future.
The image shows an official busting through a wall of "Regulation and Control," driving a vehicle titled "Privileged Car." The Weibo text notes that a Western official interviewing a Chinese counterpart complained that "you officials are far too lucky; they do as they wish and eat and drink and pick up girls, buy foreign-brand luxury cars, and leave the bill for taxpayers. Meanwhile the media praises the government daily. You officials drive down to the countryside for your investigations, shake the hands of ordinary citizens, who energetically just want to kneel at your knees. Such good citizens, nowhere else to be found on this earth, and yet you don't even know to appreciate them!"
The text in the cartoon says: "So entangled." The Weibo text details a list of problems that China faces: "Media: it usually neglects the people's livelihood; Schools: they usually neglect the children; hospitals: they usually neglect patients; national defense ministers: they usually overlook the consequences of war; food products: they usually lack safety regulations; professionals: they usually overlook the importance of personal dignity; government officials: they usually neglect the people; national leaders: they usually overlook shamelessness; high-speed railway system: it usually neglects any concern with accidents; law: it usually does not go after government officials! What is this?"
The man in the cartoon says "Bill all health care costs for the dog to my name." The Weibo post criticizes the Chinese health care system for being ineffective and corrupt.
The first column of text on the left reads, "Chinese soldiers forced to fight on behalf of the Soviet Union." The cartoon is labeled as the Soviet Union (left) pushing the Chinese Communist Party (middle) who is then pushing Chinese soldiers (right) into the fire of the Korean War.
Photo of military official named Dai Jiuri on television show, with text announcing that "Dai is a good comrade!" .
Image is of a state official yawning while reading a newspaper during what appears to be a conference. The Weibo comment says that Xinhua News published online criticism of public intellectuals, blaming them for trying to instigate societal disorder. The user then mocks such logic: "Did the intellectuals incite official bullies to kill a melon seller? Did the intellectuals cause the poor-quality air pollution of 2.5 pm?"
A cartoon that seems to describe North Korea as plotting to bomb the United States, but also as a country that is afraid of what's underneath it's bed. The last image displays North Korea as China's dog, urinating on former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Censorship 审查制度

The users we monitored, aware that their posts are being censored by Weibo, often repost deleted posts repeatedly in protest, and encourage their followers to do the same. Others have posted a screenshot of the automated messages they've received, informing the user that his or her message has been "marked as private" because it is "not suitable for the general public."

Recent studies conclude that censors have a strong tendency to target online discussion of censorship.

In this way, the censors appear to be pretty thin skinned. Harvard researcher Gary King noted that censors are particularly diligent about deleting criticism of their own work. Relatively speaking, the censors "offer freedom to the Chinese people to criticize every political leader except for themselves, every policy except the one they implement, and every program except the one they run."

An article from a Chinese news agency: "Myanmar Lifts Ban on Facebook, which Only Remains Closed in Four Countries."
The title says "What Jack Ma Said that is Unsuitable for Other People's Ears?" The caption for the picture of the former CEO of Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba says that in an interview with Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post, Ma emphasized that success comes to those who independently walk their own road. He also made comments on the June 4th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre, along with Google's 2010 withdrawal of its search engine services from China. The subsequent screenshots show censorship machinery at work, such as the Weibo screenshot of a user who claims to be the manager of the Morning Post's English-language website, saying that the Chinese version of the article containing the interview with Ma "is undergoing corrections and will be back up shortly."
The user writes that no matter how many times this post is deleted, it won't matter. The Weibo post in this screenshot criticizes Mao Zedong, accusing him of inflicting irreparable damage to the spirit of China, and emphasizing how the Chairman "essentially extinguished the independence and autonomy of his people."
Smartphone screenshot of Weibo user directly addressing the censor or censors responsible for freezing his account, threatening that "If this account gets shut down again, I will use all my social contacts to dig up your salary and all other personal details, and publish on all media outlets that I am in touch with."
A screenshot of one Weibo system administrator's message to a user, announcing that two of his/her messages have been deleted. The screenshot also includes the user's original post that portrays the deleterious effects of pollution in China.
A screenshot of a message from a Weibo censor, informing the user that his or her post has been marked as private, and is not appropriate for public consumption. The Weibo user writes that any post about water pollution news gets censored.
Images from a Greenpeace campaign capturing the severe state of environmental degradation in China. The Weibo comment warns readers of censorship apparatus that would soon delete the image, and encouraged readers to download the catalog and spread the news.
This compilation of images from Bo Xilai's 2007 inauguration as Chongqing Party Secretary includes a notification to a Weibo user, which states that the post has been marked by the social media system administrators as private and therefore is no longer viewable by the general public.
A user displays an image of a previously censored Weibo post criticizing Bo Xilai, and comments with mock surprise that it was deleted.
The Weibo comment begins, "Was deleted, Repost Again!" The screenshot has a photo of Lian Chengmin, a party official. The Weibo user writes that Lian killed petitioners and raped students, and asks who can hold him accountable for his actions.
The original Weibo post from the Beijing Daily reads "A dragon will be teased by a shrimp in a shallow water; a tiger will be bullied by a dog on a treeless plain." This well-known Chinese quote describes how even the most powerful have no power if they are out of their element. The comment accompanying this image reads, "Beijing Daily deleted the post this quickly?"
The words held up by the soldiers say "Building a harmonious society," a frequently used government slogan. The Weibo user writes that these are sensitive keywords that have been blocked online.
The words held up by the soldiers say "Building a harmonious society," a frequently used government slogan. The Weibo user writes that these are keywords that have been blocked online.
The Weibo user name handle displayed in the picture is a play on the name of current Chinese President Xi Jinping. The post describes a conversation the user had with a friend who had registered for a Weibo account under the pictured Xi Yuanping, only to quickly realize that every post he made was deleted.
A screenshot of a Weibo post that addresses how online content is censored without reason, with the user arguing for freedom and democracy.
Reposting previously deleted content that mentions censorship.
The title of the article in the image says "South China Morning Post: State Council Information Office Gives Orders to Criticize Weibo's Public Intellectuals" -- who are viewed as rabble-rousing, socially destabilizing forces by the Chinese government. The Weibo user dedicates his post to Chinese users "unable to scale the Great Firewall of China."
A screenshot of a BBC interview with well-known Chinese novelist Murong Xuecun, who strongly criticizes the use of censorship.
The Weibo user introduces the new account name of Zhang Xuezhong, whose former Weibo account was deleted. The user attributed it to the censorship of Zhang's article, which questions a party-owned army and advocates for a national one.
Image of Russian President Vladamir Putin. The Weibo user references "Wang Xiaoshi", the supposed online pseudonym for Li Shenming, Deputy Secretary at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. 'Wang' published an essay online arguing that China's rabble-rousing public intellectuals would eventually force the country to experience a more tragic downfall than what the USSR went through during the 1990's. The Weibo user refutes Wang's assessment of the Soviet Union's economic deterioration, and adds that whereas after two days all mentions of his essay disappeared off the web, Putin did not lash out against any specific nations.
The user asks why this post was deleted. The post itself, from the People's Daily, says that only 30 percent of people can write the three Chinese characters for toad.
The text in the image says the Washington Post reported that every piece of criticism from 590 million Chinese Internet users goes through surveillance. The Weibo user expresses sympathy for the young men recruited to be censors, lamenting how they are wasting their best years on a job that they can't do forever.

Protests 抗议

During our observation period, images surfaced of a group of female traffic police officers demonstrating in the city of Chongqing, where Bo Xilai presided as mayor from 2007 to 2012. The officers were fired because of their association with Bo, who initially hired them.

Collective action is a cause of particular concern to the censors. A recent study by Gary King, a political scientist at Harvard University, calls the suppression of collective action the most important and ultimate goal of all censorship of user-generated content in China. "Looking bad does not threaten [the Chinese government's] hold on power," King wrote, "so long as they manage to eliminate discussions associated with events that have collective action potential." Moreover, he noted, "With respect to this type of speech, the Chinese people are individually free but collectively in chains."

Imagery of protests represents about 8 percent of the images we captured.

According to the user, more than 10,000 people demonstrated on the streets of Guangzhou to protest government plans to build a garbage incineration plant. The march ended outside of a district government building. After a confrontation, many were injured.
The Weibo user writes that after police shot and killed a teenager, his mother went to the police station to demand an explanation and yelled her grievances to the public.
The Weibo text says that a college student died after working long hours during a heat wave in Wuhan, which led his father and others to publicly protest. Armed police violently suppressed the demonstration, killing the father on the spot. The banner on the image says "incapable government, useless police, and unfair society" -- the image may or may not have been taken during this protest.
The image shows parked taxicabs along both sides of the street. The Weibo post alleges that "yesterday evening a taxi driver was hit by the passenger" and such incidents have become a regular occurence since Bo Xilai left. The post continues to say that taxi drivers have gathered to denounce the police and their inactivity.
The Weibo user claims that a demonstration in Guangzhou protesting the government's plans to build a garbage incineration plant ended with one person killed and five injured.
Protesters holding banners that say "Persistent disapproval."
The news story in this photo reports that "over ten thousand people" protested government plans to build a garbage incineration plant, which led to violence and bloodshed.
The Weibo user reports that a riot happened in Wuxi, a southern city in Jiangsu province, and every mainland Chinese news agency was prohibited from publishing stories on the incident. The images show local city security officers, called "chengguan," and an injured woman.
The characters in the image are for "Protest." The Weibo user also put textual symbols between the characters Xu Zhiyong in the comment to elude automatic censorship filters.
An article with photos reporting that when villagers in the southern region of Guangxi protested against the government, thousands of police units were mobilized to end the demonstration. The Weibo comment alleges that one villager had been killed, with many others injured or captured.
This letter of appeal was signed and fingerprinted by an entire village in Hubei province in early July 2013. They are protesting the seizure of their land by China Co-op Group director Feng Guozhi, and are outraged that he is only concerned with making a profit by selling land that never belonged to him in the first place. The villagers insist they will not back down from this "life or death scenario."
Though a series of images and captions, the Weibo user alleges that the Director of Security at Sinopec, a state-owned petroleum and petrochemical investment organization, ordered for him and another protestor to be beaten.
Image of public protests. The Weibo comment lists the numerous cities where similar demonstrations are taking place, all of which demand that demobilized soldiers receive proper attention and treatment, particularly regarding benefits and salary, for having served their country.
Through a series of images and captions, the Weibo user alleges that the Director of Security at Sinopec(http://www.sinopecgroup.com/english/Pages/guanyu_gsjs.aspx), a state-owned petroleum and petrochemical investment organization, ordered for him and another protestor to be beaten.
Protesters assembling outside a government building in the southern Chinese city of Changsha. In the comment, the Weibo user describes the local citizens angrily demonstrating against a range of injustices, including the recent death of a melon seller who was beaten by "chengguan" security personnel. The user says the incident occurred on July 29, 2013.
The Weibo user writes that the photo is of a group of female police officers standing together in the middle of the street. The user mentions that bystanders were speculating that the officers were “making trouble."
The Weibo text describes an incident in Chongqing where more than ten police officers were standing together in the middle of the street, causing a massive traffic jam. The user writes that soon after, the protest was heavily suppressed by local police forces.
This essay is allegedly by the group of 150 female traffic police officers who protested in the city of Chongqing. They accuse Bo Xilai of deceiving them into joining the police when he had no established power, and criticize Bo and his poor governance of Chongqing.
The Weibo user describes this photo of police as the result of Bo Xilai and his poor governance of the city of Chongqing. The photo was allegedly taken when a group of female traffic officers were protesting their termination.
The Weibo user claims that these photos are of a group of female traffic police officers protesting in the city of Chongqing, who were then beaten and pushed into cars.
This iPhone screenshot describes how a group of female traffic police officers were protesting in the city of Chongqing. They accused Bo Xilai of deceiving them into joining the police when he had no established power. The Weibo comment blames Bo and his poor governance while in charge of Chongqing.
The Weibo comment says that earlier that afternoon, witnesses saw a group of police officers gathering on the street and stopping traffic in Chongqing. The protesters were all female traffic police officers hired during Bo Xilai's term as deputy mayor of the city. After his fall, the women faced termination from the police force.
The Weibo comment says that earlier that afternoon, witnesses saw a group of police officers gathering on the street and stopping traffic in Chongqing. The women who protested were all traffic police officers hired during Bo Xilai's term as deputy mayor of the city. After his fall, the women faced termination from the police force.
The photo on the left documents the capture of a group of female traffic police officers for protesting in the city of Chongqing. They accused Bo Xilai of deceiving them into joining the police when he had no established power and promising that they would be able to join the civil service. The image on the right shows the female officers at a public ceremony. The Weibo comment blames Bo and his poor governance while running Chongqing.
The photo on the left documents the capture of a group of female traffic police officers for protesting in the city of Chongqing. They accused Bo Xilai of deceiving them into joining the police when he had no established power and promising that they would be able to join the civil service. The image on the right shows the female officers at a public ceremony. The Weibo comment blames Bo and his poor governance while running Chongqing.
The image shows a group of female traffic police officers protesting in the city of Chongqing being "maintained for stability" by their male co-workers. The women who protested were all traffic police officers hired during Bo Xilai's term as deputy mayor of the city. After his fall, the women faced termination from the police force.
The image shows a group of female traffic police officers protesting in the city of Chongqing and being "maintained for stability" by their male co-workers. The women who protested were traffic police officers hired during Bo Xilai's term as deputy mayor of the city. After his fall, the women faced termination from the police force.
The image shows a group of female traffic police officers protesting in the city of Chongqing and being "maintained for stability" by their male co-workers. The women who protested were traffic police officers hired during Bo Xilai's term as deputy mayor of the city. After his fall, the women faced termination from the police force.
Photos of a group of female traffic police officers protesting in the city of Chongqing. They accused Bo Xilai of deceiving them into joining the police when he had no established power and promising that they would be able to join the civil service. The Weibo comment blames Bo and his poor governance running Chongqing.
Photos of the arrest of a group of female traffic police officers for protesting in the city of Chongqing. They accused Bo Xilai of deceiving them into joining the police when he had no established power and promising that they would be able to join the civil service. The Weibo comment blames Bo and his poor governance while running Chongqing.
A sceenshot taken from WeChat, a popular texting app in China, of one user describing a conversation he had with the police. The user describes having just received a call from a police officer, who questioned whether his reporting of the date and time of a protest revealed his role as a riot organizer. The journalist responded that he was a reporter and merely relaying the information back to his colleague in the newsroom. The police did a background check, which verified that the user was a journalist, and told him that he was checked on because he was the first to report the date and time of the protest.
The banner reads, "Bo Xilai you're too tired. Dalian misses you everyday." The former politician used to be mayor of Dalian.
The banner reads, "Bo Xilai you're too tired. Dalian misses you everyday." The former politician used to be mayor of Dalian.
A series of photos of Tiananmen Square, with what looks like a group of protestors throwing fliers through the air.
A series of photos of Tiananmen Square, with what looks like a group of protestors throwing fliers through the air.
The TV banner reads, "200,000 citizens yell out in support, help the Hung family." The protest is in regards to the recent death of Hung Chung-chiu, a 24-year-old Taiwanese corporal who died three days short of completing his military service in Taiwan. He was allegedly put "in solitary confinement for bringing a mobile phone with a camera into his military base." Read more.

Political Speech 政治言论

Political speech is our largest category of censored images. We captured 156 images that explicitly criticized the Chinese government, questioned official accounts of historical events, or called out social injustices. This category encompassed anything that portrayed the government or the Communist Party in a negative light.

"Maybe there's political speech, that even if it doesn't imply collective action, the government could see it leading to offline action," said Anne Henochowicz, translation coordinator at the China Digital Times. Started in 2003, CDT is a bilingual site which surfaces content that has been censored or blocked in China, which often includes leaked government orders to censor various types of content.

"For example, people who are pro-Bo Xilai, their stuff will get deleted quite quickly, not because there's a huge on-the-ground Bo Xilai movement, but because [the government] doesn't want that kind of stuff to get off the ground in the first place."

A written biography of Ji Zhongxing, who bombed the Beijing airport in July 2013. The image shows Ji injured after he was beaten and paralyzed by "chengguan," who act as city security guards, in 2005, which led him to stage the airport bombing earlier this year.
The caption beneath this image quotes a Beijing US embassy secretary as noting that thousands of Chinese people are suffering from unjust treatment in China, and that they live a life worse than what the lowest class in America experiences.
The text ridicules the political slogan "let the China Dream fly," claiming that the promise of the government has been downgraded from "liberation of the entire human being" to "a big dream." The banner in the image says "let the China Dream fly."
The Weibo user writes that Liu Zhimei, a former Tsinghua University student, was expelled from school because she refused to give up her religious beliefs. Liu was arrested in 2001 and tortured during her detention. To prevent her from exposing the extent of her suffering in jail, her captors "poisoned" her, altering her mental state, before setting her free in 2008.
A photo of Wei Lin, the vice president of the Fudan University Department of Economics. The Weibo post quotes him saying, "If financial policies are not focused on the people, the people have no path to life!" The user then writes about how the United States spends a significant amount of its budget on health care, and China, with all its tax income, does not spend nearly enough on services for the common people.
A screenshot of an article from the People's Daily, a newspaper that is considered an organ of the Chinese Communist Party, titled: "Policy Goal of Maintaining Societal Stability Is Fundamentally Centered On the People." The Weibo comment mocks this claim and says that the policy goal of maintaining social stability actually means to crush and suppress the people, while only protecting vested interests.
The Weibo comment accompanying this image says: "Let me tell you why I got fired by the hospital. One stormy summer day, a group of injured were being sent to the ER from a couple traffic accidents. The hospital director called us for emergency operations. Meanwhile, I was sent out of the hospital to stand in the middle of the road and greet passersby while holding an umbrella. After getting soaked, I went back to the operating room, only to find the director extremely angry with me: 'Can't you see people are dying here? Who needs your pretentious gestures?" The post then ends with profanity.
This photoshopped image seems to be daring a group of "chengguan," who act as local city security guards, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, to "Come if you dare," as is written on the wall. The Weibo user writes in the post that "I know the entire truth, come if you dare."
A photoshopped image of journalist Li Chengpeng with his mouth taped shut, and holding up a sign saying "Injustice," being buried underneath a coffin labeled with "8,970,000." The Weibo post writes that without tens of thousands of Internet users, there would be no communication between Chinese citizens and the government.
The Weibo user writes that this is a regulation announced in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region in Northwest China. The policy stated that locals ought to report to the authorities and apply for permission for the following events: hosting or attending a dinner, weddings, funerals, Ramadan Iftar dinner feast, etc.
In the Weibo comment, the user claims to be a journalist, and while he or she was conducting interviews, the photographed policeman injured his hand. The user is asking for an explanation, and tagged the Weibo account of the Beijing Xicheng Government Information office.
A compilation of quotations from the Chinese language version of The Wall Street Journal and Hong Kong-based newspaper South China Morning Post. Both stories include interviews with Jack Ma, founder and former CEO of e-commerce company Alibaba Group. Ma compares his position in the company to that of Deng Xiaoping when the former Chinese president decided to crack down on the Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989. Ma describes Deng's decision as "not perfect but definitely right." The words "Tiananmen" and "Six Four," referring to June 4th and the massacre, are redacted in the image.
A collection of photos taken during the Cultural Revolution.
A warning about a second "Ji Zhongxing," the Beijing International Airport bomber. The Weibo comment argues that this person was judged unjustly because of perjury by a policeman in Linyi, Shandong. He threatens to cause two explosions on New Year's eve, 2014, and to die with the corrupt officials.
Smartphone photograph captures the collapse of "Communism Bridge" in He Nan province while under construction.
A discussion of Jack Ma, founder and former CEO of e-commerce company Alibaba Group, and if he supported the violent crackdown of Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989. The tape recording Alibaba provided to the Wall Street Journal showed that Ma said that the government's decision was "not perfect but definitely right."
The image is of well-known Hong Kong-based economist Lang Xianping, known for his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government. In the Weibo comment, the user describes Lang accusing the Chinese authorities of falsifying public data, while criticizing state-owned newsrooms that cannot publish anything with a slightly negative tone. The user then laments how the general public in China cannot enjoy the positive result of 30 years of economic revolution, but must still suffer the negative outcomes.
The Weibo comment argues that it is scandalous for a court to secretly execute a prisoner, a businessman named Zeng Chengjie who had been arrested on dubious grounds, and questions why the judge has not been impeached for this case. The image is of Zeng's daughter with the words "Hunger strike! Rescue my father!" on the gauze around her forehead, hoping to generate online sympathy and pressure the authorities to release her father.
The Weibo user describes how people from Huadu, a northern suburb of the city of Guangzhou, were detained without reason, and that people should be against government plans to build a garbage incineration plant in the city.
This essay argues that Li Kaifu, an outspoken entrepreneur and the former head of Google's Beijing office, uses social media to vilify the Chinese government and incite hatred in society.
This essay questions the official account of the role of the Communist Party in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45), prompting the Weibo user to note how ever since the advent of the Internet in China, this official narrative has spread at a staggering rate.
An unidentified man. The post reads, "In this country, every person is a victim." The user continues that everyone should pass this quote on to those next to them.
After reading the linked article, a Weibo user asks questions about the government and Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that is critical of Chinese authorities and is outlawed in mainland China.
The headline says that after someone used a knife to injure others in a supermarket in Beijing, many supermarkets took knives off the shelf. The Weibo user mocks the article.
This Facebook post lists what problems each of China's historical dynasties have had, and states that all of the aforementioned problems apply to the current era.
An open letter to Yuan Chunqing, the Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Committee in Shanxi Province, regarding the case of a Shanxi businessman, Li Yongyun. Li was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2009 for the crime of swindling, but was then set free in 2012. The Weibo comment calls for the release of truthful information regarding the corruption of Shanxi party officials.
This compilation of screenshots is from a documentary film titled Mao's Great Famine. These screenshots are of an interview with Yang Jisheng, reporter and author of Tombstone (2012). The book documented the Great Chinese Famine of 1958-1961, and is banned in mainland China. The Weibo comment stresses that if officials at the time had been more willing to acknowledge the human error that contributed significantly to the disaster, there would have been far fewer casualties.
The image is of a man who suffered beatings from "chengguan," or local city security officers. The Weibo comment angrily reports the location and details of the brutal attack. The user concludes with a suggestion to the nation: "Swiftly cut off the malignant tumor that is the chengguan!"
Both the text in the image and the Weibo comment accuse those in power of corruption, criticizing them for living a luxurious life at the expense of the common people.
The Weibo user in the accompanying comment protests the government's demolition of her residence in Nanjing, where she lives with her 66-year-old mother. It is unclear where the marks shown in the image came from.
This image shows an article with the headline, "No Hong Kong student over 18 self-identifies as Chinese." The user also claims that his/her earlier post with similar content was shut down by Weibo system administrators.
An article on Voice of America's Chinese website: "Detained Anhui Province pro-democracy activist Zhang Lin meets with lawyer." The user calls for the release of Zhang.
The image is the Chinese character for the color black. The Weibo user calls for the complete disclosure of the wealth and assets of all members of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China.
A man in Jiangsu Province is detained for wearing a hat that says, "Citizen," indicating support for the New Citizen's Movement and its imprisoned founder, activist Xu Zhiyong. Xu released a video message from his prison cell in August 2013 calling for people to add the word "citizen" in front of their names as a way of asserting their rights under the Chinese constitution.
The text in the image says "the speed of demolition equals the speed of our development" and "it is of little consequence if eight or ten people die." According to the Weibo comment, these words are from Sun Xiangguo, the municipal party secretary in Panjin, a major city in Liaoning province.
The text in the image explains five features of a series of public hearings that took place in major Chinese cities such as Chongqing, Hefei and Chengdu, most likely in reference to Bo Xilai's upcoming trial.
The iPhone screenshot shows the sharing of an image of singer Wu Hongfei and her original blog post to bomb government buildings. The user in the image sharing the post states that the rapid security response to Wu's online post that resulted in her immediate detention for "causing trouble" was typical police procedure that really had to stop.
This smartphone screenshot includes a Weibo post disclosing the financial and property assets of former Guangdong province governor Huang Huahua. The post also includes figures for other government officials, including an official's family that owns more than 3,270 businesses.
Image contains Chinese actor and comedian Chen Peisi. In the text he exclaims how happy he is to see significant changes for the better in Chinese society, including fewer boycotts of Japanese products, less official corruption, less anti-U.S. sentiment, more policies to hold the government accountable, and fewer "Fifty Cent Party" members who are paid 0.5 yuan for every pro-government post they submit. "I appreciate the national changes brought about by the Internet and free speech, and have great hopes for a better tomorrow!"
Image of Weibo users sharing original post of Chinese singer Wu Hongfei, who, after a wheelchair-bound man detonated a homemade bomb in Beijing Airport on July 22, joked that she wanted to blow up Beijing's official government department responsible for managing construction work. In her post, Wu strongly expresses her distaste for the government office by referring to it by a variety of vulgar names. She was subsequently arrested by the government on the grounds of "picking a quarrel and starting a fight." The text accompanying this image warns readers to be careful about what they say, as vulgar expressions can be misconstrued as being far more serious than they originally intended.
The title of this article says "Testimony of Google's Support for Tibetan Autonomy."
The text in the image calls for justice for the pictured woman, an elementary school teacher in Hong Kong. She allegedly used coarse language to address police officers when she saw them interrupting Falun Gong members' peaceful activities on the street. Her controversial behavior has caused heated debates in Hong Kong and mainland China.
Image contains the phrase "We revile the President," using the homonym "horse" to stand in for the word "revile."
In the Weibo comment, the user claims that representatives from the U.S. State Department met with Chinese officials in the city of Kunming on July 30-31, 2013, to discuss human rights issues. The user then claims that the U.S. called for China to release any political prisoners it had taken into custody.
This image is of a post that discusses current president Xi Jinping's political ascension and shrewd calculus. The text makes parallels to Mao Zedong's own method of purging his ranks and the suffering of his close associates Deng Xiaoping and Liu Shaoqi under Mao's hand. The post also references high-ranking politicians of the previous Politburo cabinet, Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, and suggests that their investigation into Bo Xilai is a purge reminiscent of the Mao era.
The words in the image say "Breaking News." The Weibo user talks about his/her plans to bomb various major cities because of rampant corruption, saying that there are already bombs in major cities including Tokyo, New York City, London and Sydney.
This post touches upon the Bo Xilai incident, specifically highlighting the great numbers of Chinese who "will steadfastly support him" and the "corrupt triad society" that characterizes the "Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao revolution." .
The Weibo comment details security personnel at Nanjing Olympic Sports Center Gymnasium, who cordoned off its southern entrance from a man who repeatedly said he wanted to detonate a bomb because "society had not treated him equally."
The image is of an advertisement on the highway that says "The Nanjing Government secretly demolishes homes; when will they return mine?" The Weibo comment asks if others have seen this billboard, emphasizing that "the people have advertised the defense of their legal rights! And on a highway billboard too!"
The caption describes China People's University law professor Xiao Han as saying, "I've paid attention to petitioners for many years, I can't help anymore. I only have one suggestion: Once you've wiped away your tears, packed up and gone home, stop petitioning. If you can't swallow your anger, take refuge in religion, and use your spirit to forgive those who have wronged you. If you can't accomplish this, then just take revenge. This type of revenge in any social system is allowed: it has a certain sense of justice."
Advertisement on highway that says "The Nanjing Government secretly demolishes homes; when will they return mine?" The Weibo comment asks if others have seen this billboard, gleefully emphasizing that "the people have advertised the defense of their legal rights! And on a highway billboard too!"
The image is a cover of Shanghai-based Chinese magazine Xinmin Weekly. The title says "Zeng Chengjie: His Secretive Death Sentence." The Weibo text says a number of politically provocative things, including a claim that the "most barbarous and uncivilized act in the world is brutally destroying the homes of the people," which is a reference to the widespread government-authorized demolition of residential housing in order to seize land.
Picture of Datong Train Station, in China's northwestern Shanxi Province. In the comment the Weibo user marvels at how, after traveling to so many of China's train stations, Datong remains the only one that is not covered with "ugly Party inscriptions" and its typically "characterless typeface."
A screenshot of a Weibo post by Guizhou vice-governor Chen Mingming, telling Chinese online users who curse their own country to leave China, and to ensure they hide their Chinese identity when arriving in another country.
"Protect my homeland." The Weibo post claims that two families are standing outside of their residences with gas tanks and lighters. The city planning office requested that the families demolish the houses, or they will be forcibly demolished.
Both the image title and Weibo comment discuss pension funds in China, with the latter describing how the system is being managed by corrupt officials.
The words held up by the soldiers say "Building a harmonious society," a frequently used government slogan. The Weibo user posted only the emoticon for being scared.
Image of Jack Ma, Chinese entrepreneur and former CEO of e-commerce company Alibaba. The Weibo user references an interview where Ma was asked about the Tiananmen massacre and whether the government decision to send in tanks was correct. The user calls Ma a "bandit" for responding that although the decision "was not perfect, it was the right one."
A banner asking local Chinese governments to pay more attention to HIV patients and treatments.
Image of Weibo user sharing another user's post, which states: "I've been held under 'twenty-four hour supervision' for seven days now, and am unsure when it will end. It looks very serious to me: six personnel guard my front door at all times."
The article discusses one man who has begun to investigate the municipal government and past corruption in failed projects.
The captions for the images in the montage read as follows: "1) Enormous spending (the picture is of an official defending his money and wealth from the cameras, saying "Too many secrets; I cannot disclose them to the public!"); 2) State-owned business monopoly, causing citizen dissatisfaction; 3) Expensive housing requires two decades of income to own; 4) Environmental degradation costing you your health and keeps the poor in poverty; 5) Artificial foodstuffs reaching an extreme point and costing us money and our health; 6) Medical treatment is tough to access and very expensive; 7) Devaluing credit — shrinking savings; 8) Stock market trepidation; 9) High cost of children's education; 10) The incessant increase of consumable item prices (in the picture the snake is asking the man to hand over his savings).
The image is a photograph on Weibo with user Liu Jialing commenting "48 years, I've finally arrived! The Red East, The Sun of my Heart!" The accompanying Weibo text with the image describes how Liu and her photograph were heavily criticized by the People's Daily newspaper, on the grounds that her choice of words "should be more prudent and cautious." The user directly addresses People's Daily: "Please tell me, how should Liu Jialing speak 'more prudently and cautiously'? People's Daily is becoming more and more unreliable!"
Image is of a provincial official defending what appears to be the actions of government figures like Chen Mingming, the vice-governor of Guizhou province. Chen caused an uproar in early August 2013 after calling Chinese critics a "bunch of degenerates." The Weibo comment describes the pictured vice-governor being castigated by members of the Weibo community, who describe the official as "ignorant, senseless, and shameless."
The words "Freedom" and "Liberty leading the people" are written on top of the iconic painting by the same name portraying the French revolution. In the Weibo post, the user intersperses symbols in between the characters for Xu Zhiyong in order to bypass the automatic censorship filters.
Essay describing President Xi Jinping visiting and interacting with top officials, establishing a military force whose primary responsibility is to "ensure the security of the capital Beijing." At the end the user notes that this development sets an uneasy precedent for the future, and could cause panic and instability.
This image is a table that compares various eras in modern Chinese history, from the turn of the 20th century under Empress Dowager Cixi, to the eras under rulers Yuan Shikai and Sun Yatsen in the pre-1949 years, to the days after the People's Republic of China was formally established. The columns illustrate what types of speech were possible, such as the capacity to criticize the leadership, independently gather news information, and the extent of censorship in the media. In the final row, which is labeled as the current version of China as run by the PRC government, all the variables fare poorly and are the exact opposite of what had been true for other eras; strict censorship policies; no ability to criticize the government; and mandatory eulogizing of the regime by the people.
An essay reflecting on the undesirable state of affairs in China and describing the state of democracy in America.
The Weibo post references the many temples destroyed in the past, referencing the 1967-1976 Cultural Revolution where, amidst national disarray and upheaval, anything that evoked earlier traditions was to be destroyed. As a result, many religious buildings and figures were smashed. The Weibo user hopes that by advocating for the protection of any remaining temples, he won't get assaulted for being "anti-patriotic."
An image contrasting Obama casually bumping fists with a janitor in greeting, versus a Chinese official posing for a picture with a group of women behind him. The Weibo text reads: "One photo comments on civil society versus people's society."
The banner reads: "Wherever there is a Communist party member, there is disaster." The Weibo user wonders if this photo was photoshopped, and sarcastically exclaims "That would be too horrible."
This image is a table that compares various eras in modern Chinese history, from the turn of the 20th century under Empress Dowanger Cixi, to the eras under various rulers Yuan Shikai and Sun Yatsen in the pre-1949 years, to the days after the People's Republic of China was formally established. The various columns illustrate what types of speech were possible, such as the capacity to criticize the leadership, independently gather news information, and the extent of censorship in the media. In the final row, which is labeled as the current version of China as run by the PRC government, all the variables fare poorly and are the exact opposite of what had been true for other eras; strict censorship policies; no ability to criticize the government; and mandatory eulogizing of the regime by the people.
It is unclear who the person in the image is. The Weibo user mentions a new Chinese memoir, whose author describes childhood during the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Weibo user continues to outline the author's coming of age in an era of turbulent tragedy, social upheaval, and Mao Zedong's policies and purges.
This essay argues that "even after more than twenty years of the so-called 'revolutionary struggle to open China to the world,' the Chinese people have still not been granted the circumstances for a safe and prosperous livelihood."
The banner reads: “Punish the culprits of the Cultural Revolution. Clearly account for all of Mao Zedong's crimes against humanity." The Weibo text asks if a banner like this is illegal and if the people in the photo will be sent to a labor camp.
This article strongly criticizes the People's Daily, a newspaper that is an organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. The title says: "People's Daily, you have already been disorderly for so many years."
The Weibo user argues that the image is of a 1966 massacre that occurred during the context of the Cultural Revolution. The slogan "Uproot" was used to describe the massacre, which did not even spare infants and children.
This image is of an online user-generated notice titled "Please Ask the Central Government." The text outlines how Li Xiaopeng and Li Xiaolin, two sons of former Premier of China Li Peng, were placed into high-ranking positions in Shanxi province, questioning whether it was their ability or their bloodline that was the deciding factor. The user continues to ask whether nepotism can continue to operate in modern government, as it is stifling the people.
Images of people gathered around police officers. The Weibo post says, "Look, the people are waiting to get their name called, to get in the car."
A man in Jiangsu Province is detained for wearing a hat that says, "Citizen," indicating support for the New Citizen's Movement and its imprisoned founder, activist Xu Zhiyong. Xu released a video message from his prison cell in August 2013 calling for people to add the word "citizen" in front of their names as a way of asserting their rights under the Chinese constitution.
On a hashtag created to celebrate Mao Zedong's 120th birthday, one user posted an infographic showing the results of a poll that proposed two scenarios: if after rejecting Mao Zedong, China would plunge into chaos (red), or if after rejecting Mao Zedong, China would have a brighter future (blue).
The Weibo user claims to be from Xinjiang, and details in the comment that his/her parents went to visit relatives in Shandong Province. At the motel pictured here, the employees, upon realizing the group was from Xinjiang, said they had no rooms available. This incident prompted the Weibo user to angrily lament that people from Shandong do not welcome those from Xinjiang, and questions whether Uighurs are still people too in China.
This post asks in the title, "The USSR: A Tragedy?" It goes on to question the premise that the current social situation in China is unstable, even more than what brought the Soviet Union down. This post directly refutes an essay written by Wang Xiaoshi, an online name for Li Shenming, Deputy Secretary at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. His work focused on the tragedy of the Soviet Union in the 1990's after its dissolution and argued that if China continues bemoaning its societal troubles and inequities, it will suffer a worse fate than the USSR did.
The image is an article from a volume titled "The History of the Chinese Communist Party: 1949-1978." The Weibo user has circled the figures of reported deaths during the Great Famine of the late 1950's (over 37 million deaths). The red text asserts that the number is much lower than what Western media outlets have reported, and the real number should be nearly 50 million deaths.
The Weibo comment and the image both discuss the luxurious treatment of ministers in the Chinese government, which include a 220 square meter (722 square feet) house, a 54 square meter (177 square feet) office, a 450,000 yuan (74,000 dollars) car, and many other benefits after retirement.
In the comment, the Weibo user talks about a particular week receiving frequent calls from local police personnel. They talk about the location of Bo Xilai's trial, saying that if one goes the other must also attend. The Weibo user refuses to go, citing singer Wu Hongfei's recent online bomb joke that security personnel harshly cracked down on. The Weibo user then asks whether the police officer knew anyone involved with Wu's arrest.
The headline reads "The truth behind one car crash." The man in the interview says, "I just feel that either way I'm a little unsatisfied with the government." The Weibo text alleges that this man wrote a post detailing the total number of fatalities from car crashes in China, but because the number he described was higher than the "real" national number, he was forced to apologize on television.
Image is a screenshot of excerpts of two essays. The first is by Weibo user 'Wang Xiaoshi' who wrote an article about the tragedy of the Soviet Union, arguing that if China continues bemoaning its societal troubles and inequities, it will suffer a worse fate than the USSR did. The second article was a story written earlier, stating the opposite -- that despite its post-1989 troubles, Russia did quite well as a nation.
The title of the article in this screenshot says "Xinhua News Criticizes Public Intellectuals for Inciting the Populace to Hate the Government."
State-owned Xinhua News Agency published an op-ed under the name "Wang Xiaoshi" titled "An unstable China will end up more tragic than the Soviet Union after its 1991 collapse." 'Wang' made his point by quoting economic indicators of Russia. This Weibo user emphasized how most of the cited figures are inaccurate.
The Weibo comment says, "Who can tell me what to do?" The user describes how his or her mother was beaten to death and no one is investigating the case, and the user will continue to plead for justice. It ends with "return justice to my mother!"
On the woman's chest is an image of Chinese president Xi Jinping, with the words "The Chinese Dream Is Here In My Heart."
The Weibo user writes that recently all Chinese news sites, such as the one pictured, were required to feature an article criticizing those who seek to disturb society by writing long, opinion essays on Weibo.
The Weibo user writes that recently all Chinese news sites, such as the one pictured, were required to feature an article criticizing those who seek to disturb society by writing long, opinion essays on Weibo.
The screenshot is the Weibo page of a Beijing-based stock company. Pictured is the president of the company participating in a military review of the Chinese People's Liberation Army honor guard. To express his appreciation for the president's visit, the head of the honor guard organizes a ceremonial exercise just for his visit.
This is a screenshot of the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based newspaper. The title of the article in the image says "State Council Information Office Gives Orders to Criticize Weibo's Public Intellectuals," who are most likely viewed as rabble-rousing, socially destabilizing forces by the Chinese government. The Weibo comment has the title: "The Glamour of Autonomous Expression."
This image is a compilation of excerpts from an essay written by Wang Xiaoshi, the pseudonym for Li Shenming, Deputy Secretary at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, and a series of rebuttals from the online community. Wang's essay focused on the tragedy of the Soviet Union in the 1990's after its dissolution, and argued that if China continues bemoaning its societal troubles and inequities, it will suffer a worse fate than the USSR did. Attached to Wang's article are responses from Weibo users, who point to works, figures and tables that refute his essay.
The Weibo comment and the image both discuss the luxurious treatment of ministers in the Chinese government, which include a 220 square meter (722 square feet) house, a 54 square meter (177 square feet) office, a 450,000 yuan (74,000 dollars) car, and many other benefits after retirement.
This screenshot is of a Beijing-based stock company's Weibo profile. Pictured is the president of the company participating in a military review of the Chinese People's Liberation Army honor guard. To express his appreciation for the president's visit, the head of the honor guard organizes a ceremonial exercise just for his visit.
This is a screenshot of the South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong-based newspaper. The title of the article in the image says "State Council Information Office Gives Orders to Criticize Weibo's Public Intellectuals," who are most likely viewed as rabble-rousing, socially destabilizing forces by the Chinese government. The Weibo comment has the title: "The Glamour of Autonomous Expression."
This essay refers to an article written by online user 'Wang Xiaoshi', who wrote that if China continues bemoaning its social troubles and inequities, it will suffer a worse fate than the USSR did. This censored image is titled "Ninety Percent of Wang's Article is Based on Rumor." The remainder of the text then proceeds to dispute the numbers Wang used in his argument.
Image is of an essay titled "China's Black Leadership is the Most Shameless Community."
This article refutes an essay written by Wang Xiaoshi, an online name for Li Shenming, Deputy Secretary at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. His work focused on the tragedy of the Soviet Union in the 1990's after its dissolution, and argued that if China continues bemoaning its societal troubles and inequities, it will suffer a worse fate than the USSR did.
The photo is of a famous Chinese dish called "Buddha Jumps the Wall." The Weibo comment links to an article by the People's Daily, a daily newspaper published by the communist party, that has the headline, "The path of the people, following what the people desire." The user writes that this article reminds him of the famous dish in the photograph, and criticizes the article for not aligning with the reality.
Essay by Chinese journalist Xiao Shu.
The user describes the woman in the photo as 58-year-old "Old Miss Tian," who is suspected of spilling paint over a memorial for party leadership, and is therefore attending a court hearing. The user alleges that she may face imprisonment for up to 10 years and tens of thousands of yuan in fines, and comments, "Such systematic evil! It'd be strange if this country doesn't fail!"
This article refers to an essay written by Wang Xiaoshi, an online name for Li Shenming, Deputy Secretary at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. His work focused on the tragedy of the Soviet Union in the 1990's after its dissolution, and argued that if China continues bemoaning its societal troubles and inequities, it will suffer a worse fate than the USSR did. This pictured article starts with "Many Chinese Weibo users have pointed out that over ninety percent of the numbers in Wang's article are rumors."
State-owned Xinhua News Agency published an op-ed under the name "Wang Xiaoshi" titled "An unstable China will end up more tragic than the Soviet Union after its collapse." This poster claims to have found the clue in confirming that "Wang Xiaoshi" is actually the pen name of Li Shenming, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
The Weibo comment references a World Bank proposal for China to undertake economic reforms, especially in its agriculture sector.
The Weibo user's post reads: "What decade are we living in? I just received news that someone is reminding us: Currently, Dalian's situation is very grim. To stay safe, leave Dalian." Dalian is a Chinese city where Bo Xilai formerly presided as mayor from 1993 to 2000. The image's connection to this message is unclear.
The Weibo user describes how a villager in Shandong Province was imprisoned for 10 days for slandering politician Li Xiaopeng, son of former Chinese Premier Li Peng. The incident occurred on July 22 when the villager posted on Weibo that the Shenhua Group, a state-owned mining and energy company in China, is privately owned by Li. The village resident continued encouraging other people on Weibo to scrutinize what other companies Li owned and had established. Upon hearing about this online activity, police immediately detained the villager, holding him for 10 days before releasing him. The pictured image is the arrest warrant for the villager.
Image is a montage of an old Chinese propaganda poster praising the Soviet Union. The title is "Today's Soviet Union is Our Tomorrow." The bottom photograph is of former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The Weibo comment claims that in 1991, former Russian President Boris Yeltsin remarked that "Communism is a beautiful yet stupid utopia; even though some countries continue maintaining this system, I hope the people of these nations will eventually realize this truth."
The Weibo user describes how a villager in Shandong Province was imprisoned for 10 days for slandering politician Li Xiaopeng, son of former Chinese Premier Li Peng. The incident occurred on July 22, when the villager posted on Weibo that the Shenhua Group, a state-owned mining and energy company in China, is privately owned by Li. The village resident continued encouraging other people on Weibo to scrutinize what other companies Li owned and had established. Upon hearing about this online activity, police immediately detained the villager, holding him for 10 days before releasing him. The pictured image is the arrest warrant for the villager.
An old propaganda poster with the caption "Never forget the class struggle!"
Image of a map detailing the boundaries of the Soviet Union. The Weibo comment notes: "Chinese Weibo: Amazingly, the one laughing because another's pants fly is down has forgotten that his own buttocks are exposed."
The screenshot is of a historical drama. The character pictured is Yue Fei, a general during the Southern Song Dynasty, and the words beneath him read, "Those who understand me understand I am worried." The Weibo user says that while watching the drama, he felt that a high-ranking official in China also said these words.