Chinese news sites go down after reports on gov't scandal

The two popular tech news sites reported on a corrupt deal linked to the Chinese president's son

Two of China's most popular technology news Web sites went offline Tuesday after carrying news reports that linked the son of China's president to a corrupt African deal.

The technology news sections disappeared for several hours from major Chinese portals Sina.com.cn and NetEase.com early Tuesday afternoon, when they started redirecting viewers to general news pages. Both tech sections had carried reports on a state-owned company accused of bribing Namibian officials in the last day, but those reports were missing when the Web pages reappeared.

The suspensions appeared to be a government penalty against the companies for reporting on a sensitive political issue.

"I'm impressed by the bravery of Sina and Netease in attempting to report this at all," said Rebecca MacKinnon, a Hong Kong-based expert on the Internet in China, in an online message.

Information on top leaders' children has always been off-limits in Chinese media, though the Internet has made it more difficult to control discussions on such topics, MacKinnon said.

Chinese police heavily patrol the Internet, and Internet companies run rigorous screening to prevent sensitive information from appearing on user forums or in search results on their sites. Companies can be punished if that process fails to catch certain political or pornographic content.

"This is not particularly surprising or different from long-standing censorship patterns," MacKinnon said.

A story posted on the NetEase tech page the night before its suspension cited English broadcaster BBC as saying that Nuctech, a Chinese company, was suspected of bribery in a deal to provide scanners for airports and ports in Namibia. The BBC report had said Namibian authorities wanted to question Hu Haifeng, the former company president and son of Chinese president Hu Jintao, but did not suspect him in the case.

The NetEase story did not mention Hu, but said Namibia wanted to question "relevant" Nuctech executives.

Sina's tech page carried a similar article the next morning, hours before the sites went down. After the tech sections returned to the portals, visiting the URLs of the scandal reports returned messages that they could not be found or had been deleted.

An employee who answered the phone at NetEase Tuesday said its tech section was down for tests. Sina did not respond to a request for comment.

Nuctech's parent company, Tsinghua Holdings, controls a range of other technology companies including Chinese PC maker Tsinghua Tongfang.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags China

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Owen Fletcher

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2018

With determination and drive, you achieve outstanding performance! Get Bitdefender Total Security 2018 Now!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?