The Chinese regime has taken the country’s largest web portal to task for not doing enough to stamp out Internet content it wants blacklisted.
On April 10, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) held a meeting with Sina’s executives over the enormous number of supposed public complaints made against the company since the start of the year, according to a statement on the government Internet authority’s website.
Chinese web users had complained about Sina the most among the other big companies—the Chinese authorities received 6,038 since the start of the year; 1,227 alone were made in the first eight days of April, the authorities say.
Sina, which operates a Web portal and the Twitter-like microblogging service Sina Weibo, was found to have “spread illegal information” relating to pornography, violent terrorism, and obscenity, and had also “distorted news facts, violated morality and engaged in media hype.”
Sina executives were further chided for “undermining the public’s interest” by spreading “false news” that got past “lax auditing.”
Should Sina fail to meet censorship standards, CAC says, it will be severely disciplined, and its online news service could be suspended.
Chinese netizens expressed skepticism that Sina is being censored for spreading smut and violence and suggest instead further ideological control on the part of the Communist Party.
A Beijing netizen using the handle “Xiu Cai Jiang Hu” wrote: “When the Party says ‘pornography,’ they really mean criticisms of the government… they are trying to conflate what is ‘illegal’ with the truth.”
“Xiu Cai Jiang Hu” and many netizens also suspect that April’s spike in complaints had to do with the censoring of China Central Television anchor Bi Fujian for mocking former Chinese leader Mao Zedong. The Party’s Internet authority is actually angry because many people expressed their support for Bi using Sina’s services, netizens theorize.
The Cyberspace Administration of China is helmed by Lu Wei, the deputy head of the Central Propaganda Department. Under Lu’s leadership, the Chinese regime’s web apparatus has blocked Gmail, censored Instagram pictures of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, and developed a powerful, new web weapon dubbed the Great Cannon. Lu reports directly to Chinese leader Xi Jinping, according to Internet freedom organization GreatFire.org.