As previously reported on CDT, Chinese government regulators have ordered Google to suspend some of its search functions due to the pornographic content available through its search engine. More details from the New York Times:
The Chinese government disabled some search functions on the Chinese-language Web site of Google on Friday, saying the site was linking too often to pornographic and vulgar content.
Government officials met with managers of the Chinese operations of Google on Thursday afternoon to warn them that the company would be punished if it did not remove the offending material from the Web site, according to a report on Friday by Xinhua, the state news agency.
[…]On Friday evening, the associative-word feature of the Web site appeared to have been disabled. That is the function that displays a drop-down menu of words related to a search word that is typed into the search engine. The previous evening, reporters on China Central Television, the state television network, showed how typing in the Chinese word for son, erzi, could pull up associated terms that have lewd connotations.
Additionally, the government has ordered Google to block links to foreign websites from search results on its China Google page. From the Dow Jones Newswires via Total Telecom:
Chinese regulators have ordered Google Inc. to suspend search services for foreign Web sites via its Chinese Web site, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday, a day after the company was warned over pornographic content available through its search engine.
It wasn’t immediately clear if the order applies to all foreign Web sites or just certain sites. Currently, foreign Web sites are still searchable and accessible from Google’s Chinese home page.
Google was also ordered to suspend searches for certain key words when summoned by unspecified regulators Thursday afternoon, the report said.
On June 18, CCTV aired a report on Google’s pornographic content which has drawn swift criticism from Chinese netizens, particularly for a false interview with a supposed ‘college student’ named Gao Ye. (Watch the full CCTV segment, including the Gao Ye interview, on Sina.com.) EastSouthNorthWest translates a post by Xiao Tian at Oxn.in (Chinese) summarizing netizen skepticism:
On the same day, netizens began to question quickly. Search engines frequently offer likely search terms because these are popular with other users. As such, the search engines are not responsible because they are only reporting what users are “voting” on with their searches. Thus, when Google.cn proposes certain relevant search terms, they are merely informing you what other netizens are most commonly searching for. They are reflecting the facts of life, and it shows that Google.cn is being fair and objective. Rather than blaming the search engines, we should be blaming people for wanting to look up pornography which proliferate on the Chinese Internet.
Similarly, other search engines such as Baidu and Bing contain the same kinds of pornographic information, but CCTV completely ignores them. Netizens made screen captures to show that Baidu is no less vulgar than Google.cn …
Soon after this CCTV segment aired, the Southern Metropolis Daily (Chinese) reported that the interviewed university student Gao Ye was in fact a CCTV intern. Netizens have launched the human flesh search engine. Again translated by EastSouthNorthWest:
Yesterday morning, a netizen discovered that there was a user named “Gao Ye” at the social networking site Xiaonei. Based upon the photos, this is the same Gao Ye who appeared the day before on <Focus Interview>. According to a conversation with a friend on June 17, Gao Ye is presently an intern with the CCTV program <Focus Interview>. Also, other netizens found Gao Ye and his friends’ Sina.com blogs which said that he was going to become an intern at CCTV. This information was later posted at Cat898 Forum, Tianya Form and other websites. The reporter confirmed with a worker at CCTV’s <Focus Interview> program group that Gao Ye is indeed an intern there.
The human flesh search quickly located and published Gao Ye’s school, QQ number, mobile phone number and other personal information. His Xiaonei page was flooded with scornful comments. Not satisfied with direct personal attacks, some netizens began a human flesh search on his girlfriend. Her blog, Xiaonei page, QQ number and other information were published. Her photos with Gao Ye were posted all over the place alongside personal attacks.
Faced with the pressure from the powerful human flesh search, Gao Ye and his girlfriend deleted their blogs. Gao Ye’s Xiaonei space now only has the message: “Account canceled by the user.”
ChinaSMACK has translations of netizen reactions to the CCTV report and also a translation of a sarcastic letter to the ‘university student’ Gao Ye from Hudong Baike (Chinese):
A Letter To Gao Ye
Schoolmate Gao Ye, hello: You probably do not know me, but I know you from Focus Interview. I attentively listened to you talk about the “Google China using yellow pictures [pornography] and vulgar content to poison your schoolmate” thing, and was deeply touched and learned a lot. Whether or not that schoolmate is really yourself is not important, but I hope to give you some sincere advice.
One, you must not look at pornography and vulgar content too much, Schoolmate Gao Ye. I do not know if you with your schoolmate have reached pornography and vulgar content through links on Google China, but as a big brother who has matured from youth, let me say to you that normally you must not watch too much A片 and avoid vulgar content. These are bad for your skin. These past two days, did you stay up all night going online to find 毛片 [“hand films”, pornography films] look at pornography doing your homework in preparation for the CCTV interview? Look at yourself, just two days and you no longer look human: slackened eyes; wrinkles on your forward; gaping mouth. That’s why big brother is offering you a piece of advice: look at less porn and go outside more, wouldn’t that be good? Another thing, there are always at least a few girls in your classes, right? Occasionally molesting them a little is definitely more exciting than porn.
Two, you must not accept interviews from CCTV about vulgar content, Schoolmate Gao Ye. It is not that I am jealous of you getting on CCTV, really. It is because after 60 years of studying CCTV’s programs I have discovered that every schoolmate that has gone on CCTV to interview about vulgar content always eventually has a bad fate. Let us use schoolmate Zhang Shufan from the year before last as an example. Just days before Teacher Edison Chen’s photo exhibition, CCTV’s “Xin Wen Lian Bo” broadcast “Schoolmate Zhang Shufan’s interview about pornography and vulgar content”. At the time, Schoolmate Zhang Shufan only said “very yellow, very violent” these few words, but do you know what happened to her? There were even more wretched/perverted pictures but I will not post them here. You as a good young lad currently studying in university should know what accepting this kind of interview will do for your future prospects.