News

Chinese Internet Users React to Bo Xilai Scandal

Bo Xilai ( July 2011 file photo)
Bo Xilai ( July 2011 file photo)

Heavy keyword censorship on Chinese microblogs did not stop Chinese Internet users from hotly debating the deepening scandal surrounding former high-profile politician Bo Xilai, whose wife is under investigation for the murder of a British businessman.

Wednesday, searches for those involved in the case produced no results on China's most widely used microblog service, Sina Weibo.  Related searches, such as for Chongqing, the city where Bo had been party secretary, prompted the response: “According to Chinese rules and regulations, the following results are not being shown.”

Users circumvented the blocks by referring to the political scandal as “the major news.”  A Sina Weibo list of the 10 most debated topics on Wednesday, widely reposted online, included three Bo Xilai-related phrases.

The founder of Chinese media monitoring website Danwei.org, Jeremy Goldkorn, says even sophisticated government attempts to censor the Internet will not be able to completely prevent information from spreading.

“If people put together a bunch of words that are normally fine, it is just much more difficult to track," Goldkorn explained, "because you can not use filtering or software to track them. If they do not mention somebody's name [or] they do not mention any of the 'bad words,' [then] the speed of Weibo does allow these things to spread."

Many comments on Weibo focused on the lack of public information in China about what is really happening inside the ruling Communist Party.

“The major news is only told by officials," user "Reserved Cold" wrote on his blog stream. "Who can tell me what the real situation is like?”

Some expressed concern about making public comments on the matter. “In the beginning I wanted to say something about the major news. I have braced my nerve but still I can't find the courage,” a user from Beijing wrote, “I am not afraid of the character limitation. I am not afraid that they close my blog. What I am really afraid of is that for a word too much I will be detained.”

As the political scandal surrounding Bo has widened, Chinese authorities have increased efforts to suppress online rumors, but some Internet users express their thanks for information they gather online.  Beijing University economist Xia Yeliang said, “If it were not for these rumors, how can people hope to get real news from the official media?”

Kaiser Kuo, director of international communication for Baidu.com, China's most used search engine, says Chinese Internet firms serve two masters - the government and consumers.

“None of these Internet companies labors under the illusion that people prefer censored search results, but at the same time, we are multiple stakeholder companies," Kuo said. "We are obliged to obey the law in China, and we are also sort of compelled to explore the elasticity of our boundaries.  So, it is tough.”

Kuo says the developing Internet in China represents two opposing forces to him.

“On the one hand, you have this ratcheting up of controls, but in the same period essentially, you've seen the Internet develop into a full-fledged, or mostly fully-fledged, public sphere in Chinese life. This is unprecedented. There's never been a time in China's history where there's been a comparably large and impactful public sphere,” Kuo said.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: An Ordinary Chinese
April 18, 2012 3:21 AM
So it is with Bo Xilai, however, what is true is that he is the least and most trivial comparing to those who are stably sitting on the throne of the CP. And that is the real truth needlessly to mention for any ordinary Chinese.

by: An Ordinary Chinese
April 18, 2012 3:18 AM
All these things are to be answered for -- the plot behind the scenario of Bo Xilai Scandal. By the way, corruption is fairly a common phenomenon on this blue plannet. This is specially common to those politicians of all countries under different civilization background and especially to the Chinese ones.

by: somebody
April 18, 2012 2:06 AM
i don't know the whole story, but i think it's a good thing, confliction promote the development of society structure.i hope China can step into civilized country quicker.

by: adk
April 16, 2012 8:11 PM
I'm not so clear of the whole story but maybe Bo was trying to find a solution to solve china's bribery & coruption! apparently China's current system can do nothing on the social conduct.

by: gaga
April 16, 2012 12:00 AM
It was a big plot....I stand by bo...IN china ,we can't do this comment in the internet.....

by: a common Chinese
April 13, 2012 11:06 PM
Bo Xilai is a very nice guy.He have done so much for Chinese people,especially for the poorer.Maybe,At the same time ,he offended many people.I hope he will be OK.I don't want him to be the second Zu Rongji.Waiting for the truth.

by: kk
April 13, 2012 6:40 PM
waiting for the truth.

by: Wangchuk
April 13, 2012 6:33 AM
Bo Xilai's removel wasn't for corruption as nearly all CCP leaders are corrupt. His crime was allowing the political scandal to be public & failing to control his lackeys like Wang LiJun. Plus Hu & Wen were getting jealous of Bo's popularity in Chongqing.

by: CcyY
April 12, 2012 12:07 AM
The best way to refute rumors is to reveal truth in public

by: Xe Xi Xo
April 11, 2012 10:47 PM
Well Bo Xilai is a playing card in the poker deck of Most Wanted Chinese. Literally. He is only a 3 of Hearts though... perhaps he's more important than that? http://mostwantedchineseplayingcards.com/card-gallery/
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs