by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
censorship, china, great firewall, hong kong, sex scandal


Chinese Gov't Scolds Baidu For Not Doing The Impossible

from the you-must-block-all-of-these-pictures dept

Over the last few weeks, there's been a big scandal in Hong Kong concerning photos of certain celebrities caught in various states of undress and various "adult" activities. The police in Hong Kong have had some trouble dealing with this, apparently first claiming that anyone possessing these images was breaking the law and then bungling an investigation into who leaked the images. Now, to top that off, the Chinese government is "censuring" the popular search engine Baidu for allowing people to find these controversial images. It's not entirely clear how the government expects Baidu to simply know that these pictures are illegal and to stop people from finding them, but as we've seen, that's the method by which the Chinese government enforces its censorship -- not by explicitly stating what needs to be banned, but by telling search engines and ISPs that they'll get in trouble if they allow anything "bad" to get through. That leads to aggressively blocking anything that the ISPs or search engines feel might get them in trouble. Of course, to make that work, the government occasionally does need to publicly scold some of the firms for failing, even in doing the impossible, as that gives increased motivation for everyone else to just keep on blocking stuff.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Heidi, Feb 19th, 2008 @ 12:21pm

    The Chinese government should just have an official sitting at every computer with a hand over the users eye to make sure they don't see anything bad.

    I mean come on, there going to see a naked body someday.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    illegalprelude, Feb 19th, 2008 @ 12:39pm

    They should just ask Yahoo how to handle this situation

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    rj, Feb 19th, 2008 @ 12:46pm

    Hey that's pretty clever. Why can't our gov't do that, instead of wasting billions on guards, lawyers, judges, prosecutors, etc. etc. etc.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    manny, Feb 19th, 2008 @ 1:24pm


    thats easy only 4 letters A.C.L.U

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    glass'em, Feb 19th, 2008 @ 3:31pm

    enough with chinese stupidity

    Nuke 'em till they glow.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    james, Feb 19th, 2008 @ 5:05pm

    naked body is not the problem

    There are zillions of live porn sites hosted by Chinese inside China, there is never a problem, even when the government claims to crack down them. The real problem is potential threat and any possible bad impression. I am sure the current "adult" content problem is just a cover up, the real problem is either someone high up got involved and might be exposed or someone high up believes if this goes on and on, government or the 8/8 big game or something might be affected.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Johnkad, Feb 20th, 2008 @ 1:04am

    Shameless Censorship

    This is an outrage. People should be allowed to view any images as long as they do not do harm to other (ie children and minorities). Surely this is part of freedom of expression, albeit an almost unknown concept in China. In any case it will be hard for the software to distinguish "decent" and "indecent" photographs unless the anchor text gives them clues. This is a ludicrous idea by an almost ludicrous regime.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Robert, Feb 20th, 2008 @ 4:49am

    Good Luck

    Well I see this doing little more than harming Baidu's chances at gaining more than just the Chinese market.

    We can discuss politics all you like, but those are the rules the Chinese government put down.

    @ Heidi... you are assuming that they should be so lucky.
    @ Johnkad freedom of expression isn't that free at all, the Chinese are just honest about it.
    @james you might have a point there.

    Good luck to anyone that tries to work the Chinese market. I believe that Baidu have done an amazing job so far. However, the extent of their enforced censorship should be concern for us all because I have no doubt that the rest of the governments will be sure to start enforcing them in the near future - for our own protection ofcourse!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Ted, Feb 21st, 2008 @ 6:29am


    Why do they always have to interfere with everybody?
    It's like when someone may or may not be 100% delighted with the oppressive regime in Russia. They get murdered by the government. If you don't snitch, you get murdered by the government, too. It's like those countries that kill you for not being Muslim, or for not being Muslim enough if you are Muslim. It's crazy that these ego-maniacs don't get assassinated within a few days of starting these unbelievable regimes. They should all have their malibu kens taken away until they learn to play nice. Silly little boys.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Helmut, Feb 22nd, 2008 @ 12:09pm

    Chinese Gov.

    Hello hello. The Chinese are communists they are supposed to tell everybody what to do. You live in China. You do as the government says. That's what it's all about, and United States supports China for many years do give all the business. As long as they don't tell us what to do

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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