“Shangpu”, “Jieyang” unblocked, official verdict on incident released. Tracking results and analysis [UPDATE - SEE BELOW]
Anybody notice that “Shangpu” is “over”? I haven’t seen any english-language articles following up on the Shangpu incident in Guangdong yet, but as far as local officials are concerned, all issues were “resolved” days ago, according to the prefecture government website.
I was recently notified through our new keyword tracking widget that several key terms, including “Shangpu” (the village in question) and “Jieyang” (prefecture) were unblocked on Sina Weibo. I did a quick check on the development of the situation; here’s some of what I found.
This includes both the land dispute, which was apparently resolved by March 14th, and the capture of the supposed ringleader behind the mob of “outsiders” that clashed with villagers, who was apparently apprehended on the 17th. Both of these stories were released during the Weibo blackout on the issue.
The stories are interesting, but no time to report on them now. For example, the headlines report that all the villagers “clapped” in approval now that the ringleader was caught…
Our weibo keyword tracking widget recorded the initial blocking of the event on March 11th and the initial unblocking on March 20th [March 21st China time].
Here are some results from our widget:
The word 上浦 is unblocked. Time UTC: 5 Mar 2013 08:03:24AM
The word 上浦 is blocked. Time UTC: 6 Mar 2013 19:03:37PM
The word 上浦 is unblocked. Time UTC: 20 Mar 2013 23:03:39PM [SEE UPDATE BELOW!]
The word 揭阳 is unblocked. Time UTC: 10 Mar 2013 19:03:14PM [tracking begins]
The word 揭阳 is blocked. Time UTC: 11 Mar 2013 04:03:13AM
The word 揭阳 is unblocked. Time UTC: 20 Mar 2013 23:03:56PM [SEE UPDATE BELOW!]
The word 棉湖镇 is blocked. Time UTC: 6 Mar 2013 22:03:50PM
NOTE!! All the keywords are checked every 5 hours, so the times are not exact, but at this point, they’re still close enough to be significant, I believe.
Interestingly, 棉湖镇 is still blocked. My guess is that it just slipped past the censors. I believe that the unblockings are done in accordance with the party statement, i.e. what shows up on the party website, and/or whatever circulates through party propaganda arms. “Shanghu” and “Jieyang” were the key terms in question, the former where the incident occurred and the latter the primary government level responsible for handling the event. 棉湖镇 may have been blocked incidentally at first, and then forgotten during this unblocking - this is a mere conjecture though.
Sorry - no time for further analysis today. I’ve collected lots of data and news stories so far. Hopefully more observations and analysis to come.
This has turned out to be a great way to track sensitive issues, and I expect some really great results in the future! Again, please contact me if you’d like to get involved with expanding our keyword tracking efforts. We’re assembling a small team of interested people, and we’ll hopefully begin larger operations very soon!
[UPDATE] After checking with our programmer, we learned that the widget we are using had crashed sometime over the last few days and was rebooted yesterday. We’re going to work out when the crash occurred to try to get a window of when the unblocking may have actually occurred, but for now, the times for the latest unblocking could have been significantly earlier, even by a few days. New updates when we have them!