It seems like just yesterday when we wrote about how a number of Chinese anti-corruption bribery reporting websites were back online after having been granted internet licenses by authorities. And in fact, it almost was just yesterday, that news broke only two days ago. But there are now signs that things are headed in the opposite direction.
This Sina Tech story reports that another anti-Corruption site called “I Bribed (woxinghuile.info)” (not one of the four “I bribed” sites we wrote about on Tuesday) was granted a license on July 20th, but the license was cancelled on August 9th and the site’s owner announced on Sina Weibo that it was dead for good. This was despite the fact that the site had been toned down somewhat since it’s initial June debut. Its motto was changed from “Uncover the true faces of corrupt government officials” to “Reveal the harmfulness of corruption” and a disclaimer had been added stating that the site did not accept any form of official report and that users should not interfere in the personal business of others. Apparently, these changes were not enough.
Another site, titled “I Bribed Official Chinese Site”, which we did mention in our report on Tuesday but did not link to, was shut down just a few hours after the media (us included) announced it had been reopened. That site had also made significant revisions and had been renamed “Transparent China”, but it lost its new license just a day after it had received it.
Things certainly are looking grim, as it appears these closures are not a coincidence. Though no news outlet has yet reported it, it appears that “I Bribed (wohuilule.com”, another one of the sites we reported had been reopened on Tuesday, is now down. For the time being, we can’t confirm that this is an official closure, so it could certainly be that they’re just having server trouble or something. But with two freshly-licensed anti-corruption sites having bitten the dust in the past two days, that’s looking increasingly unlikely.
Moreover, if the fate of woxinghuile.info is any indication, this is not another temporary problem. The site’s owner said on his Weibo that the site was “never” coming back.
So much for “transparent China.”