Well, this had to happen sometime. In the fallout to the video of US Ambassador Jon Huntsman spotted at the “Jasmine Revolution” protests in Beijing, Chinese internet censors have taken to filtering search results for the Chinese name of the ambassador.
Searching for “洪博培” on Sina Weibo, China’s largest microblog portal, now yields the error message, “According to relevant laws and regulations, the search results may not be shown.” Curiously, search results for “Jon Huntsman” in English appears to remain unfiltered. Similar behaviour on QQ Weibo has been observed by Shanghaiist.
The US Embassy’s official microblogs on QQ Weibo (with 318,000 followers) and Sina Weibo (with 49,000 followers) have remained silent on Huntsman’s embarrassing Jasmine Revolution episode, but a few commenters have been seen heckling them for a response.
Jon Huntsman now joins Hillary Clinton in the pantheon of sensitive search terms on the Chinese internet. Search results for Hillary Clinton were filtered soon after the US Secretary of State said that China and other countries like Syria face the “dictator’s dilemma” in their censorship of the internet, and that the US would help fund projects to help people evade government internet controls.
Back home in the US, a political action committee has launched a presidential ‘campaign in waiting’ for to lay the groundwork for a White House run by Huntsman.