Why Is Mark Zuckerberg in a Chinese Police Film Ad? (Video)

Twitter and Facebook are banned in China; people instead use similar services called Baidu, Tencent and Weibo. So†an appearance — reported in the†website China Smack –†by Facebook CEO Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan in a†commercial for an upcoming documentary about Chinaís police force (and a film presenting the police in what seems to be a positive light) is simply puzzling. A smiling Zuckerberg is shown glancing at two Chinese police personnel and then walking the other way with his wife.†As†Raw Story’s Andrew Jones writes: “The irony of Zuckerbergís two-second appearance in the commercial hasnít been neglected, since Facebook is still banned in China” — and even if Facebook were allowed in China, what kind of rules would Chinese authorities insist that users adhere to?

Weibo has about 300 million users and its parent company, Sina Corp., has just announced a code of conduct that will restrict what can be said in messages, says the BBC. It is a thinly veiled effort to censor what users discuss online; Weibo announced the code after local authorities criticized what they called “unfounded rumors” being posted.

Weibo’s users will now be subjected to a credit-score protocol: All users will start with 80 points. They can gain more by participating in promotions but will lose points if they breach the code. If their score goes below 60 points, a “low credit” warning will appear on their microblog, meaning that their account could be canceled if their point total is zero. “Behaving” for two months means that one’s score can be returned to 80.

The Next Web refers to this†translated version of the rules, which are (as†The Tech in Asia blog notes) based on Chinese law. Members are not allowed to

  • Spread rumours
  • Publish untrue information
  • Attack others with personal insults or libellous comments
  • Oppose the basic principles of China’s constitution
  • Reveal national secrets
  • Threaten China’s honour
  • Promote cults or superstitions
  • Call for illegal protests or mass gatherings

Users are also not allowed to use “oblique expressions or other methods” to get around the rules. For instance, after the former Communist Party’s Chongqing chief, Bo Xilai, was stripped of his Politburo post and his wife, Gu Kailai, was detained on suspicion of being involved in the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood, China’s netizens used

…the hash-tag “important news” for posts on the issue, and “Wood” instead of “Heywood” when discussing the British businessman whose death Bo Xilai’s wife is being questioned about.

Authorities in China have also been been critical of the microblogs for spreading false rumors such as that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had been assassinated and that a military coup to overthrow Chinese President Hu Jintao had been staged.

Writing as I am from the US, I can only think of how many tweets would be censored if Twitter had such a code. Certainly there is plenty of misinformation, rumors and such on Twitter (and on the Internet) but people are (ideally) educated to think critically and discern truth from rumor (easier said than done, it is true).

Chinese authorities are clearly as intent as ever on restricting free expression and the flow of information. The recent, daring escape of dissident Chen Guangcheng from round-the-clock surveillance at his home in Shandong province has suggested that the authoritarian country’s security forces may not be as air-tight as thought. Now in New York, Chen has repeatedly said that he fears for his family’s safety. Chen’s brother, Chen Guangfu, is†reportedly missing after fleeing to Beijing to seek help for his son, Chen Kegui, who faces an attempted murder charge after using knives when local officials broke into his house, the day after his uncle’s escape. Last week, Chen Guangu described how he had been tied to a chair and beaten for three days to reveal how his brother had escaped.

Clearly, discussing the information in the previous paragraph would result in your Weibo account quickly having zero points — if you could mention anything about Chen and his family at all.


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Image from a video uploaded by Heow Horn Sur via YouTube


Janis M.
Janis M4 years ago

Care2: Your "take action now" haven't been large enough to expand for the last several weeks for me to actually sign them anymore.

Thomas M.
Thomas Myers4 years ago

Marianne C. said, "Dear Lord, what would happen to the internet in this country if people were not allowed to spread rumors, publish untrue information, attack others with personal insults or libelous comments, or promote cults and superstitions? Half the sites on the net would fold, and all the Fox News blogs would vanish. *snort*"

You say that like it's a bad thing. In all seriousness though, to outlaw lies is to authorize brainwashing and complete thought control over a population. Why is that so? Because when a government outlaws "lying", they lay the groundwork for defining what is true. Truth is subjective. When a micro-managing organization takes control of the truth, they limit the scope to their personal reality.

Think of religion. Consider what God thinks of lies. The purpose behind the law was well intentioned, but the potential for rulers to abuse that law is just to great to permit such a law to exist. As such, China: one of the biggest human rights violators in the world.

Kathy M.
Kathy M4 years ago

It may be that Zuckerberg and wife just happened to be walking by, and his "smile" was the embarrassed reaction of discovering that he had just walked into a scene being filmed.

Clearly, we don't know what the real story is behind this, so it's irresponsible to jump to conclusions.

Jen Matheson
Past Member 4 years ago

What do you know? Two evils joining forces. Figures.

Alicia N.
Alicia N4 years ago


Judith H.
Judith H4 years ago


Judith H.
Judith H4 years ago


Judith H.
Judith H4 years ago


Judith H.
Judith H4 years ago


Krystyna H.
Krystyna H4 years ago

As usual Kristina Chew has not bothered to research this video or ask further questions, but jumps to wild conclusions based on her own agenda. When I viewed this here my first question was, "did Zuckerberg know this happening?" The second question was, "has anyone asked him why he is in this commercial?" And my third question was, "why, if he endorses the police, is he doing it in such a vague way? Why isn't he doing it upfront in a strong and direct way?" Something about the size ratio of the Zuckerbergs to the police is not right also. After all, it's not like the Chinese police can't use random footage to their own advantage.

Well, a simple return to the origin of this video at Youtube shows me that the uploader left this message along with the video. "Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his then wife-to-be obviously had a stroll on a Shanghai street. Which was shanghaied into a Chinese police documentary @ 00:29. Totally random and unintended."

And what if Z did smile at the police? Isn't that just a normal friendly thing to do when tourists are visiting a foreign country? A friendly smile is not necessarily acceptance of a regime. Does it not occur to anyone that the Chinese police can twist such things to their advantage?

So, if doubts are cast on the meaning of Z's appearance in this video, why does Kristina Chew simply jump to the conclusion that the worst has to be true? Because she always does it, with all of her blog posts. She seems to like makin