Chinese Social Media Douban Receives Its 20th Fine This Year

By Li Jing
Li Jing
Li Jing
December 3, 2021 Updated: December 3, 2021

China’s social media Douban received its most recent fine from a network watchdog. It’s Douban’s 20th fine this year over the release of unlawful information, adding up to a total of 9 million yuan ($1.4 million).

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced on Dec. 2 that it summoned and fined the company on Dec. 1 and ordered immediate rectification from the company.

Corresponding with the fine, Douban announced its decision to suspend the reply function and feature videos on its platform until Dec. 17.

The most recent and relevant sensitive issue displayed on the platform would be Chinese netizens’ heated debate on the sex scandal involving Zhang Gaoli—the country’s former vice premier—an allegation made by Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai on Nov. 2.

The Women’s Tennis Association has since suspended all tournaments in mainland China and Hong Kong due to concerns over Beijing’s treatment of tennis star Peng Shuai.

“In good conscience, I don’t see how I can ask our athletes to compete there when Peng Shuai is not allowed to communicate freely and has seemingly been pressured to contradict her allegation of sexual assault,” WTA Chairman and CEO Steve Simon said in a Dec. 1 statement.

Tightened Censorship

On Aug. 27, the CAC announced “Operation Qinglang” to maintain a clean internet environment by investigating and shutting down allegedly harmful financial independent media accounts that misinterpret economic policies.

Between Aug. 27 and Oct. 26, the campaign targeted accounts that “maliciously cry down the financial market and blackmail” Chinese financial sectors, according to WeChat.

Following the campaign, there were 2,929 independent media accounts closed as of Sept. 8, Chinese media reported.

As of Nov. 26, Douban also claimed to rectify its online fan circle by canceling nearly 5,000 accounts, closing more than 80 chat groups, and deleting more than 420,000 posts deemed unlawful.

Since its launch in 2005, Douban has been known as an online social platform for young generations sharing lives, experiences, and views on books, movies, music, games, and so on. Douban claimed its registered users have reached 230 million as of June 2021.

Eva Fu contributed to this report.

Li Jing