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Weibo, WeChat, Baidu under Investigation For “Violating Internet Laws”

China’s tech giants Tencent, Sina Weibo and Baidu are being investigated by China’s Office for Cyberspace Administration for “violating internet laws.” Chinese netizens respond with cynicism: “Just close them down and let’s all read the People’s Daily.”

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China’s WeChat, Sina Weibo, and Baidu are being investigated by China’s Office for Cyberspace Administration for “violating internet laws.” Chinese netizens respond with cynicism: “Just close them down and let’s all read People’s Daily.”

On the morning of August 11, the Cyberspace Administration of China issued a notice saying that Tencent’s Wechat, Sina Weibo, and Baidu’s Tieba (the online forum platform) are all under investigation for violating China’s “Internet Security Laws” (网络安全法).

Several state media, including Xinhua, reported that users of the social media platforms have filed reports for the spread of “violent terrorism” (暴力恐怖), false rumors and obscenities, allegedly forming a threat to China’s national security, public safety, and social order.

Baidu responded to the allegations on Friday with apologies, saying it will actively cooperate with the relevant government departments to rectify its wrongdoings and further increase its efforts to shut out bad information, Sohu News reported.

Out of the three, it is Baidu that is most criticized by Weibo’s netizens. China’s tech giant has repeatedly caused controversy over the past two years. In May of 2016, the Baidu search engine was under fire after the death of a 21-year-old cancer patient who paid a lot of money for ineffective treatments advertised through Baidu’s paid search results.

Just last month, Baidu Maps was criticized for directing people to the wrong hospital when searching for Shenzhen’s children’s hospital. The hospital people were instead directed to, is one that is privately owned by the Putian Medical Group – which also happens to be Baidu’s important advertiser.

Now it is Baidu Tieba, its online web forum network, that is targeted by authorities, along with messaging and social media platforms Weibo and WeChat. Due to overall contempt for Baidu, many netizens agree with a tighter control on Baidu’s forums: “They should’ve been closed a long time ago,” some say.

But overall, the investigation of the platforms triggered much cynicism on Weibo, where some said: “Just close down everything and let’s watch CCTV every day,” or “I totally agree [with this investigation], it’s enough for us to read People’s Daily and watch state television.”

Others wrote: “Down with the Three Evil Tyrants of the Internet!”

“We already can’t say anything, why would they need to investigate?”, some wonder.

Following the news about a further investigation into China’s three tech giants, China’s financial newspaper Caijing reported that the stocks of all three companies went down on Friday.

Over the past few month, authorities have strengthened control on online and popular media in various ways. In late June, new rules regarding the content of online videos banned, among others, “displays of homosexuality.” Earlier this week, regulators issued a notification that television channels were discouraged from broadcasting entertainment shows during prime time.

The strengthening of content control is often extra noticeable before big political events. China’s 19th Party Congress will take place this fall.

By Manya Koetse

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©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Manya Koetse is the editor-in-chief of www.whatsonweibo.com. She is a writer and consultant (Sinologist, MPhil) on social trends in China, with a focus on social media and digital developments, Sino-Japanese relations and gender issues. Contact at manya@whatsonweibo.com, or follow on Twitter.

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China Comic & Games

China’s Latest Online Viral Game Makes You Clap for Xi Jinping

Smart propaganda – now clapping for Xi Jinping has become a competition.

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In a new online game that has come out during the 19th National Congress in Beijing, Chinese netizens can compete in applauding for Xi Jinping. The game has become an online hit.

The major 19th CPC National Congress started on Wednesday in Beijing with a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping that took nearly 3,5 hours.

The speech, that focused on China’s future and its rise in the world today, was repeatedly paused for the appropriate applause from the party members in the audience.

With the introduction of a new game by Tencent, people can now also clap along to Xi Jinping’s speech from their own living room. The game became an online hit on October 18. It was already played over 400 million times by 9 pm Beijing time.

The mobile game can be opened through a link that takes you to a short segment of the lengthy speech by Xi Jinping. In the short segment, President Xi mentions that it is the mission of the Communist Party of China to strive for the happiness and the rise of the Chinese people.

The app then allows you “clap” for Xi by tapping the screen of your phone as many times as you can within a time frame of 18 seconds. After completing, you can invite your friends to play along and compete with them.

The game has become especially popular on WeChat, where some users boast that they have scored a ‘clap rate’ of 1695.

If you’re up to it, you can try to clap as much as you can for Xi Jinping here.

By Manya Koetse and Diandian Guo

Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Digital

This Digital Device Now Helps Chinese Police Catch Traffic Violators

After RoboCop, here’s Guardrail Drone: this high-tech device makes it easier and safer for Chinese police to catch traffic violators.

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A new digital device makes it easier and safer for Chinese police to catch traffic violators. A local experiment with the police gadget proved successful earlier this year.

From now on, it might no longer be the police that warns drivers to drive slowly through construction zones or to get off the emergency lane. A new digital device can now help Chinese traffic police to send out warnings or to catch people violating traffic rules.

The automated device can be placed on the guardrail and is directly connected to the smartphone of the police officer controlling it. Through the camera on the device, the police can see when someone is driving on the emergency lane and can send out police warning signs and sounds through the speakers on the device.

On Chinese social media, a video on how the device works has been making its rounds over the past few days. Some netizens say the new device is just “awesome,” and others warn drivers not to use the traffic lane; the chances of getting caught are now bigger because of the police’s new helper.

The device was first successfully tested locally in May of this year at a Zhejiang Expressway, NetEase’s Huang Weicheng (黄唯诚) reported in July of this year.

Earlier in 2017, police also experimented with a new police robot, jokingly called ‘Robocop’ by netizens, to help police catching fugitives and answer questions from people at the train station.

In our latest Weivlog we will tell you all about this ‘guardrail drone’; how it works and where it has been implemented:

By Manya Koetse

NB: Please attribute What’s on Weibo when quoting from this article.
Spotted a mistake or want to add something? Please let us know in comments below or email us.

©2017 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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