CCTV's propaganda campaign against Google.cn

On June 18th, China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre (CIIRC) published a report in its frontage condemning Google.cn for spreading obscene contents.

The report, titled as “Strongly condem google for spreading indecent and obscene information”, said:

互联网违法和不良信息举报中心近日根据公众举报并经核查,“谷歌中国”网站(google.cn)大量传播淫秽色情和低俗信息,严重违反国家有关法律法规,违背社会公德,损害公众利益。

Recently the CIIRC had received and verified public complaint against google.cn for spreading obscene and vulgar information in massive scale. Such act has seriously violated the government's relevant regulations. Moreover, it is against the society's public morale and interest.

Founded on June 10, 2004, (CIIRC) is sponsored by the Internet Society of China and supported by the Ministry of Information Industry, the Ministry of Public Security, and the State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China

Very quickly, CCTV in its evening news highlighted the CIIRC's condeming notice and had a follow-up story in its “focus interview”. The news feature gathered various public opinions from teachers, parents, university students and youth experts against google.cn:

Part One

Part Two

Jason Ng from Kenengba transcribed the university student's interview in the second part of the feature story for analyzing the CCTV propaganda tactics:

我觉得黄色、淫秽信息在网上的毒害特别大,特别是经过像Google的链接,那种毒害特别大。

就我一个同学吧,他以前就是青少年比较好奇这些东西,他就去点那些黄色网站什么的。然后就搞到那段时间心神不宁,然后后来国家打击黄色网站了,他就没上,那段时间就好了。结果后来他又发现通过Google这些用户比较多的搜索引擎可以打开这些网址,然后又进入了这些黄色网站,Google里面的链接特别多,然后就导致他又反复了。

My feeling is that obscene information in the Internet is extremely poisonous, especially that via google.cn's link, the poisoning effect would even be stronger.

For example, I have a classmate. He was like every other youth, very curious about such thing. Therefore, he visited porn site and lost his mind in it. Later, the government clean out the porn sites and he could not visit anymore. He then became better. However, he then discovered that via Google.cn's search engine, he could open these kind of websites again. Google.cn has more that kind of links. Then his condition got worse again.

The blogger pointed out that CCTV was trying to promote Green Dam after all the criticism against the software. Here is his explanation:

要打破各界的舆论质疑,最好的方法不是去封锁这些报道,而是制造另一种报道。…在短时间内如何营造出互联网确实是危险重重、低俗满布、未成年人成长艰难呢?编辑们绞尽脑汁,终于想到了搜索引擎。

因为只针对某一个或几个网站出现低俗内容,那是没有说服力的。搜索引擎就不同了,搜索引擎是互联网的入口之一,有了它,网民可以找到几乎任何信息。

但是,由于百度春晚的时候已经交了4000万的保护费,不能再拿百度开刀了,于是很自然地就想到了拿Google开刀

In order to counter all the criticism, the best way is not to block all the reports and informations, but to create another kind of report… How to create an atmosphere that the Internet is full of danger, obscenity within such a short period of time? The editor finality decided to pinpoint at search engine.

If they only tareget at a number of websites, it won't be convincing. Search engine is different, it is the entrance to the Internet and netizen can get whatever they want via search engine.

However, Baidu had already paid 40 million protection fee (ad contract) to CCTV, they can't pinpoint at it anymore. So google.cn becomes the target.

Another blogger, lyngle, also pointed out that CCTV is not fair towards google.cn and he compared the image search result between google.cn and baidu.com by searching “mm” (standing for girls). Below are the screen captures of his finding:

Google.cn's image search of “mm”
googlemm

Baidu.com's image search of “mm”
baidumm

In the twitter, there are a number of tweets saying that propaganda department has instructed major portal sites to promote the news to the frontpage. There are also speculation that anti-vulgarity is only a means to further censorship:

huyong CCTV fuck Google 再次证明,反低俗是手段,搞审查是目的。

CCTV fuck Google indicated that anti-vulgarity is only a mean, censorship in an end.

wenyunchao 这轮批判谷歌最直接的目的看来是当局不想让谷歌推出可用SSL方式访问的Search服务。

Probably the government doesn't want to see google.cn offering SSL service for its search engine.

The article is also posted in globalvoicesonline.org

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