Tencent Dajia, (also known as We Tencent – 騰訊 大家), a well-known digital medium that publishes high-quality chronicles, suddenly disappeared from Chinese networks after publishing an article entitled “Fifty days of Wuhan pneumonia, Chinese citizens pay the price of the disappearance of the media ”.
After publishing the article, the Tencent Dajia website and its WeChat public account disappeared from the internet. Both Tencent Dajia and WeChat, the famous social networking and messaging application in China, belong to Tencent, the largest Chinese technology giant.
The retreat took place on February 19, the same day that three journalists from the Wall Street Journal were expelled from China in response to the publication of the opinion article in which China was referred to as “the true sick man of Asia.”
The decline of Tencent Dajia is considered a before and after in the worsening of Chinese censorship since the outbreak of the coronavirus in Wuhan. With the support of Tencent, the media has been able to establish itself as a sector leader, and has hired hundreds of prominent writers and journalists from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan since its inception in 2012. Despite censorship and restrictions on freedom of Press in China, We Tencent articles are considered among the best in the sector.
For years, the media has been able to survive strict Chinese censorship thanks to Tencent's protection. Normally the company only removed some articles as soon as the censors notified them or stopped publishing for a while to do a thorough cleaning. On this occasion, the company removed the public account “Daijia” from WeChat and hundreds of articles that they had published in the last seven years disappeared.
This sudden case of censorship has surprised many netizens in social networks. Many believe that the last article published, “Fifty days of Wuhan pneumonia, Chinese citizens pay the price of media death” (武漢 肺炎 50 天 ， 全體 中國 人 都 在 承受 媒體 死亡 的 代價), caused the low
Many people believe that censors use this incident to force the “mother” company, Tencent, to kill their “son” Dajia. This WeChat comment posted by user Tang Min-tao, a human rights lawyer, was disseminated on Twitter:
【腾讯 “大家” 公众 号 被 “腾讯” 注销】 因 一篇 文章 ， 腾讯 自己 的 公众 号 “大家” 被 “自己” 注销 ， 让 自己人 对 自己人 下手 ， 这 事 被 做得 出来？ 这篇 文章谈 的 是 媒体 死亡 ， 最终 ， 导致 了 “大家” 自己 死亡。
(The Tencent public account “We” was deleted by “Tencent”). Due to an article, Tencent deleted its own “We” public account. Who has the power to achieve this? Who makes Tencent eliminate their own product? This article is about censorship of the media, and finally leads to the disappearance of “We.”
The views presented in the article “Fifty days of Wuhan pneumonia” are quite moderate, in fact. The author, a media professional, only said that press freedom is the best vaccine to control an epidemic and that media malfunction or “media censorship” helped the outbreak of coronavirus spread in Wuhan.
According to the observations of the writer, between December 8, 2019 and January 20, 2020, the media functioned as a “pacifier”, since most news indicated that the virus was “under control”, because experts had affirmed that it was not possible to transmit the virus among humans.
After February 20, when the outbreak spread outside China and the authorities took emergency measures to contain it, the media began publishing content with positive messages to “reach the heart” of the Chinese population and motivate them to fight the virus . The writer said that on February 25, the official media of Hubei and Wuhan still pointed out that the news on social networks about the real situation of the city in quarantine were only rumors.
The founder and editor of “We Tencent”, Jia Jia, also believes that the withdrawal of Tencent Diajja is the result of a change in the Government's general strategy:
《大家》 的 slogan 是 我 说 的 六个字 ： 洞见 、 价值 、 美感。 这 是 非常 不 容易 坚持 的 编辑 原则 ， 也是 在 中国 非常 稀缺 的 事务 …… 有 良知 的 文字 ， 会 记录 描述 以及 解释 我们 所的 的 大 问题。 腾讯 《大家》 过去 大 问题 而 生 ， 当然 也是 为 这些 大 问题 而死。
The motto of “We” comes from three words that I use: understanding, courage and beauty. These editorial principles are difficult to sustain and very rare in China … writing being aware implies describing and explaining important issues we face. “We” was created to address these important issues, and their disappearance is also related to this issue.
Large number of groups and users deleted from WeChat
After the shock after the death of Dr. Li Wenliang, Chinese censorship has reached a new level. Since February 6, a notification issued by the public safety authorities circulates on WeChat, which warns not to disseminate information regarding the coronavirus from unofficial sources. According to the notification, if this regulation is not complied with, there is a risk of being permanently eliminated from the group.
In the city of Jining, in Shandong province in northeast China, unverified online claims circulate that WeChat has eliminated all working groups of hospitals, schools, offices of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and other public institutions for prevent these groups from leaking information about coronavirus expansion. The leaders of the labor agencies said that the purpose of the decision was to protect the members of the groups. Although Shandong authorities later pointed out that this news was only a rumor, several Internet users wrote in the comments section that groups to which they belonged had been removed.
Even private groups of families are subject to censorship, as a student from China who lives abroad commented on Matters News:
今天 在 家里 的 微 信 一下 里 的 了 文章 的 的 学术 文章 ， 职业病 发作 ， 简单 给 地 给 姐夫 科普 了 一下 石正丽 的 论文 摘要 ， 居然 在 半 小时 之后 收到 了 微 的 的 推送 小 。。。 。。。
可 我 这 不是 谣言 ， 白纸黑字 的 学术 文章 ， 有 本事 让 杂志 撤回 回国 啊。 打电话 回国 ， 老姐 说 ， 说不定 因为 你 ， 网 警 已经 开始 关注 我们 家 的 小小 家庭 群 了 ， 太 可怕 了。
海外 还有 部分 天真 的 华人 觉得 这次 的 疫情 会让 党 的 政策 有所 松动 ， 这 真是 太 天真 了。
Today I tried an academic article about the laboratory virus of Wuhan. Given my academic experience, I briefly explained the summary of the article written by Shi Zhengli. In half an hour the group received a notification of the rumor about severe measures against the WeChat administrator …
But I have not addressed rumors but a neutral academic article. Why don't you ask the newspaper to delete the article if it's just a rumor? I called my sister in China, and she told me that thanks to me, the virtual police had begun to control the family's WeChat group, this is terrible.
Some citizens of mainland China who are abroad believed that the coronavirus would be out of control due to speeches, but this is, unfortunately, very naive.
even personal accounts have been permanently deleted. A WeChat user told her experience at Matters News on February 11:
我 收到 的 是 “限制 登陆 ， 不可 解封”。
我 申诉 了 ， 可是 看到 帖子 说 基本 是 没有 的 的 的 的 帖子 ， 他 的 的 很 对 ， 感觉 自己 像 一个 幽灵 ， 还能 看见 别人 在 群 里 讨论 你 ， 可是 你却 不能说话 了。
最 不方便 的 是 很多 业务 上 的 朋友 是 通过 微 信 来 保持 的 和 增进 友谊 的。
以后 我 的 灵魂 和 精神 只能 活 在 墙外 感觉 像是 因为 流放 着。 因为 我们 真正 的 的 ， 和 真正 想 覆盖 在 的 观众 在 墙内。
许 章 润 教授 据说 也 被 封号 了 ， 更 严重 的 是 他 失 联 了。 我 不想 失 联。 和 他 同 ， 我 又 ， ， 我 又 有些 害怕。
在 墙内 ， 我 只 乖乖 做 一只 只 知道 赚钱 蝼 蚁 吧。
I received a notification that said “permanent restriction to log in” on WeChat. I appealed but some told me that it is impossible to log in to my account again. A friend who went through the same thing told me that he became a ghost because he could see how others talked about him in the groups but he couldn't answer them.
The biggest drawback is that I have many business contacts in WeChat and I depend on the platform to maintain communications. In the future, my soul and spirit can only survive outside the wall. I feel like I'm an exile because I care what happens behind the walls and I want to share my point of view with the locals.
Dr. Xu Zhangrun's account has also been deleted. The worst part is that he is now incommunicado. I don't want to get to that. Although I am proud that my account has been deleted for the same reason as that of others (who have called for the reform of freedom of expression on social networks), I am also afraid. Inside the wall, you can only live working like an ant that seeks its survival without emitting a single sound.
Don't miss the Global Voices special coverage on the Wuhan coronavirus impact.