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心神不宁 (xīnshén bùníng): disturbed

Gao Ye tells CCTV reporters about the ills of Google search.
CCAV interview: “My classmate tried several search methods until he discovered that Google's search results made him feel the most ‘disturbed.’” (BZ Cartoon Studio 梆煮动漫工作室)

What a CCTV interviewee is believed to have been instructed to recite in support of the government's position towards Google. In the summer of 2009, Google was threatening to withdraw from China, while China was stepping up its criticism of the company. On June 18, CCTV aired an interview with a “university student” named Gao Ye, who claimed pornographic content in Google’s search results had “disturbed” one of his classmates.

China’s human flesh search engine kicked into high gear. It was discovered that Gao was not a student at all, but an intern for the very program on which he had been interviewed. This is reminiscent of a 2007 CCTV interview with a schoolgirl who complained about an “erotic and violent” website. Both incidents have called into question CCTV’s journalistic integrity.

Many netizens objected that the government was unfairly targeting Google. They also maintained that Chinese search engines produced a similar volume of pornographic search results.

After “disturbed” went viral, Gao Ye’s name became a sensitive word: search results containing “Gao Ye” were heavily filtered by domestic search engines.

In current online usage, the term “disturbed” has become a catchphrase, just like “erotic and violent.” For example, a comment beneath the picture of a scantily clad woman might read, “Wow, this really makes me ‘disturbed.’”

Google left mainland China in March 2010 after an email hack traced to a Chinese server in late 2009.