Baidu Website Apologizes for Pornography Charge
China’s most popular search engine Baidu apologized Wednesday for hosting links to pornographic content after it was criticized by the government, saying it was sorry for the negative impact on society.
The Chinese government blocks access to many Web sites it considers subversive or too political, and Internet companies regularly self-censor to keep from running afoul of the authorities.
Baidu and Google were among 19 Web sites criticized Monday for carrying vulgar or pornographic content, as seven government agencies launched a one-month campaign to clean up China’s Internet content.
The two companies had failed to take “efficient” measures after receiving notices from the country’s Internet watchdog, the government said.
“Besides deleting the obscene content and links concerned, we have improved our regulatory system,” Baidu said in a notice on its Web site. “We apologize to the netizens at large for the negative impacts we brought upon the society.”
Google could not immediately be reached for comment. A note in Chinese on its Google China blog late Tuesday said it fixed links that contained “vulgar content.” It was trying to limit bad content without reducing the effectiveness of its search engine, it said.
China has the world’s largest population of Internet users with more than 250 million.
Popular Chinese Web portal Sohu, and Tencent, the company that owns China’s most popular instant messaging system, QQ, as well as an internet portal, apologized separately late Tuesday.
While distributing pornography is punishable under China’s law and banned i the country, with foreign pornographic Web sites blocked, distribution of “vulgar” materials is not so clearly defined.
Wang Qiang, a staff member of the Beijing Internet management office, which is responsible for punishing violators, told the China Daily newspaper Wednesday they were working on punishment schemes for the more vague charge of spreading vulgar images. ♦ thejakartapost