Why Chinese Censors Banned 'Ferrari' From Internet SearchS

Reports are coming in of a fatal crash in Beijing involving a Ferrari 458 Italia Spyder with three inside. The car's driver, who may be the son of one of China's leading Communist Party members, was killed. Now the government is apparently trying to hush it up, going so far as to ban the word "Ferrari" from online searches. UPDATE!

Yes, you read that right. Three injuries from a two-person car. The incident happened yesterday and involved a driver in a black Ferrari 458 with two women in the car with him, according to a report from NTD.

NTD also says Chinese censors are restricting access to this story and speculate it's because the driver is the illegitimate son of Politburo Standing Committee Member Jia Qinglin. Sure enough, there are reports from slightly more credible sources that details of the crash are being deleted from the web and the word "Ferrari" is being censored from online searches. It sort of looks bad for the son of a civil servant to have that much money.

Perhaps most intriguingly of all, as The Atlantic's James Fallows points out, is that a story about a possible cover-up appeared in an official Chinese state publication meant for U.S. consumption.

It is like Fox News undertaking an expose of Bush v. Gore or the business interests of Clarence Thomas's wife. This is at face value brave, possibly reckless, and without doubt extremely interesting.

Whoever the driver was, other reports confirm there were three in the car and photos show just how mangled the car is. All passengers were ejected and the young driver of the Ferrari was apparently killed instantly while the passengers were seriously injured.

Apparently, Chinese censors and Ferrari PR have a lot in common.

UPDATE Chinese censors are known to change search terms that are banned, here's a spreadsheet of banned terms from China Digital Times showing "Ferrari" and other related terms that were deleted during that period from at least one popular Chinese web portal. As commenters note, the terms don't appear to be blocked anymore.

(Hat tip to G.Goo!)

Photo Credit: CPB