The Open Letter to Sina.com from the Lawyer-Bloggers
Please State Your Reasons Publicly! Joint Statement about Sina.com's Censorship of Blogs.
We are registered users of the Sina.com blog service. For a long time, we were grateful to Sina.com for providing a free space for speech. But we do not owe Sina.com anything. When we register to have blogs with Sina.com, we are also satisfying Sina.com's business objectives. Therefore, there exists an equal obligation for Sina.com as well as us to respect each other.
Unfortunately, while Sina.com's business has been growing, it lacks business ethics. While providing the space for our blogs, it has also seriously violated our freedom of speech.
Ever since we registered, our blogs have seen large numbers of posts being willfully deleted by the Sina.com administrators. Since we were understanding, we forgave Sina.com for its violation of our rights over and over again. But we cannot tolerate this anymore, because Sina.com's censorious activities have become more and more unreasonable. Recently, the posts related to the names of Zhang Yihe (章诒) and Cui Yingjie (崔英杰) were barbarously deleted. Many netizens spent a long time to write comments, but they were deleted in a flash without even enough time to retain a copy.
Before Sina.com deletes a blog post, it does not provide any warning. At most, it will leave a system message coming down from the top, usually of the form:
Sorry. Your published essay XXX has been deleted by the system administrator. We deeply express our apologies for causing you this inconvenience. If you have questions, please send us an email. We usually respond to an email within 24 hours. 200x-x-x x:x:x"
When any blogger receives such a notice, he/she must feel that his/her dignity has been offended and that his/her freedom of speech has been violated. When Sina.com deletes something, it should tell us the reason for the deletion. It should not be about whether I have a question! Does your "deep expression" really contain any hint of "apology"?
Sina.com, please tell us: Why did you violate our freedom of speech over and over again?
Sina.com, please tell us: Why did you feel that it is your right to delete blog posts? Or even your power?
Sina.com, please tell us: Why do you feel that you do not need to negotiate with (or even notify) us before you delete a blog post?
Sina.com, please tell us: Why do you even believe that willful deletion corresponds to your commercial interests?
Sina.com, please tell us: On which article of law, or which agreement, or which department's tongue-cutting order are your actions based?
Sina.com, please tell us: How dare you be so barbarous? Please state publicly your reasons for censoring.
He Weifang (贺卫方) (Peking University School of Law professor)
Pu Zhiqiang (浦志强) (Huayi Law Office lawyer)
Xiao Han (萧瀚) (China University of Political Science and Law School of Law associate professor)
Xu Zhiyong (许志永) (Gongmeng Information Consultation Firm researcher)