Saturday, June 25, 2016

Translation: Administrative Provisions for Internet Information Search Services

Administrative Provisions for Internet Information Search Services

Source: Cyberspace Administration of China

Article 1. These Provisions are formulated in accordance with the "Decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Regarding Strengthening Network Information Protection" and the "State Council Notice Regarding Authorizing the State Internet Information Office to Assume Responsibility for the Management of Internet Information Content" in order to regulate online information search services, promote the healthy and orderly development of the information search industry, safeguard the legal interests of citizens, corporations, and other groups.

Article 2. These Provisions shall be applicable to anyone engaged in Internet Information Search Services within the borders of the People's Republic of China.

As used in these Provisions, Internet Information Search Services refers to services that utilize computer technology to engage in the collection and processing of all kinds of information on the Internet for retrieval by users.

Article 3. The State Internet Information Office shall be responsible for law enforcement oversight administration of Internet Information Search Services. Local State Internet Information Offices shall be responsible for law enforcement oversight administration of Internet Information Search Services within their jurisdictions.

Article 4. Internet Information Search Service industry organizations shall establish comprehensive industry self-discipline system and industry standards, guide Internet Information Search Service providers in the establishment of comprehensive service standards, oversee and promote Internet Information Search Service providers to provide services in accordance with the law and accept  public oversight, and improve the professionalism of employees of Internet Information Search Services providers.

Article 5. Internet Information Search Service providers shall obtain  the relevant qualifications provided by laws and regulations.

Article 6. Internet Information Search Service providers shall fulfill their primary responsibilities and establish comprehensive information security administration systems for the screening of information, real-time auditing of public information, handling of emergencies, and the safeguarding of personal information. They shall have secure and controllable protective measures, and provide the required technical support to relevant government agencies in the conduct of their duties.

Article 7. Internet Information Search Service providers may not provide any information with content that is prohibited by law through links, abstracts, caches, associated terms, related searches, related suggestions, or any other form.

Article 8. If in the process of providing Internet Information Search Services an Internet Information Search Service provider discovers any search result that includes information, websites, or programs with content that is clearly prohibited by law it shall cease providing related search results, retain relevant records, and report it to the central or local Internet Information Office.

Article 9. Internet Information Search Service providers and their employees may not seek inappropriate gains through such means as the removal of links from, or the provisions of false information in, search results.

Article 10.  Internet Information Search Service providers shall provide objective, impartial, and authoritative search results, and may not harm the nation's interests, the public interest, or the legal interests of citizens, corporations, or other groups.

Article 11. When providing paid information search services Internet Information Search Service providers shall, in accordance with law, review their clients' relevant qualifications, clearly restrict the total proportion of paid search information on the page and segregate organic search results from paid search information, and delineate paid search information with obvious clear markings.

Internet Information Search Service providers that provide commercial advertising information service shall respect relevant laws and regulations.

Article 12. Internet Information Search Service providers shall establish comprehensive systems for public complaints, reports, and the safeguarding of users' rights and interests, publicize the means to file complaints and reports in an obvious place, proactively accept public oversight, process public complaints and reports in a timely fashion, and bear responsibility in accordance with the law for compensating users for damages caused to their rights and interests.

Article 13. These Provisions shall take effect from August 1, 2016.


第一条 为规范互联网信息搜索服务,促进互联网信息搜索行业健康有序发展,保护公民、法人和其他组织的合法权益,维护国家安全和公共利益,根据《全国人民代表大会常务委员会关于加强网络信息保护的决定》和《国务院关于授权国家互联网信息办公室负责互联网信息内容管理工作的通知》,制定本规定。

第二条 在中华人民共和国境内从事互联网信息搜索服务,适用本规定。
第三条 国家互联网信息办公室负责全国互联网信息搜索服务的监督管理执法工作。地方互联网信息办公室依据职责负责本行政区域内互联网信息搜索服务的监督管理执法工作。
第四条 互联网信息搜索服务行业组织应当建立健全行业自律制度和行业准则,指导互联网信息搜索服务提供者建立健全服务规范,督促互联网信息搜索服务提供者依法提供服务、接受社会监督,提高互联网信息搜索服务从业人员的职业素养。
第五条 互联网信息搜索服务提供者应当取得法律法规规定的相关资质。
第六条 互联网信息搜索服务提供者应当落实主体责任,建立健全信息审核、公共信息实时巡查、应急处置及个人信息保护等信息安全管理制度,具有安全可控的防范措施,为有关部门依法履行职责提供必要的技术支持。
第七条 互联网信息搜索服务提供者不得以链接、摘要、快照、联想词、相关搜索、相关推荐等形式提供含有法律法规禁止的信息内容。
第八条 互联网信息搜索服务提供者提供服务过程中发现搜索结果明显含有法律法规禁止内容的信息、网站及应用,应当停止提供相关搜索结果,保存有关记录,并及时向国家或者地方互联网信息办公室报告。
第九条 互联网信息搜索服务提供者及其从业人员,不得通过断开相关链接或者提供含有虚假信息的搜索结果等手段,牟取不正当利益。
第十条 互联网信息搜索服务提供者应当提供客观、公正、权威的搜索结果,不得损害国家利益、公共利益,以及公民、法人和其他组织的合法权益。
第十一条 互联网信息搜索服务提供者提供付费搜索信息服务,应当依法查验客户有关资质,明确付费搜索信息页面比例上限,醒目区分自然搜索结果与付费搜索信息,对付费搜索信息逐条加注显著标识。
第十二条 互联网信息搜索服务提供者应当建立健全公众投诉、举报和用户权益保护制度,在显著位置公布投诉、举报方式,主动接受公众监督,及时处理公众投诉、举报,依法承担对用户权益造成损害的赔偿责任。
第十三条 本规定自2016年8月1日起施行。

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Baidu and Sina Weibo Censor Search Results About Hong Kong Bookseller Lam Wing-kee

For additional background, see also: Baidu Begins Censoring "Gui Minhai" - Hong Kong Bookseller Detained in China 

Shortly after 3:00 am on June 17, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled "Causeway Bay Bookstore Boss' Retraction' Has Little Factual Content" (铜锣湾店长“翻供”的实质内容不多). Some excerpts:
Lin Rongji (Lam Wing-kee), one of the "disappeared" booksellers of Causeway Bay, held a press conference on the 16th after having returned to Hong Kong. He adopted a posture of "retracting his confession" and created a lot of waves in Hong Kong public opinion.

Lin Rongji related details of how he was detained last year on October 24 at Luowu, Shenzhen, and then transferred by train to a "holding place" in Ningbo. He asserted that Causeway Bay bookshop owner Li Bo (Lee Po ) had been subjected to a "cross-border rendition" and abducted from Hong Kong by mainland Chinese law enforcement officials. This differs from the account provided by Li Bo.

He also said that  his own "televised confession" was "scripted," and he had been forced to cooperate.

Lin said "Mainland China's central government is forcing the people of Hong Kong down a path with no escape," and "The people of Hong Kong must say 'no' to coercion." These two statements were widely quoted, and were thick with emotion.

By noon on June 17 the editorial had been removed.
Screenshot showing the Global Times
editorial before it was deleted.
Original URL:

Later that evening the Global Times published another article about Lam, this time entitled “Shareholder Lee Bo Refutes What Causeway Bay Bookstore Boss Said in Press Conference” (股东李波反驳铜锣湾书店店长记者会说法).

These screenshots show that at the same time Sina Weibo stopped including users posts in search results for Lam’s name, instead only displaying the Global Times’ article refuting his claims.

That article was deleted the following day.

Screenshot showing the Global Times
article before it was deleted.
Original URL:

The screenshots below show that on June 17, Baidu began censoring web search results for "Lam Wing-kee" (林荣基). Although Baidu has stopped notifying users of its censorship, one can see that, prior to 2:30 pm on the 17th, a search for "Lam Wing-kee" returned tens of thousands of results, including results from news websites located outside of mainland China such as:
  • Phoenix (HK)
  • Tsingtao Daily (HK)
  • Takungpao (HK)
  • Tsingtao News Network (HK)
By 11:00 pm the same day, Baidu claimed it could find only 18 results, and they were all from websites operated by agencies of China's central government:
  • (Communist Youth League)
  • Xinhua (China’s Official News Agency)
  • People’s Daily (Official Party Mouthpiece)
  • China News Agency (China’s 2nd Largest State-Owned News Agency)
  • China Daily (China’s Official English Language Newspaper)
  • (Operated by China’s State Council Information Office)
  • (Operated by the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office)

These screenshots show that at the same time Baidu began censoring web search results, it also began claiming it could no longer find any Weibo related search results.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

China's Search Engines (Except One) Stop Notifying Users of Political Censorship

The following screenshots show that, at some time between mid-March and the end of May, 2016, China's three major search engines - Baidu, Sogou, and Qihoo - stopped displaying a censorship notice for the phrase "China's Last Leader" (中国最后领导人). Instead, Baidu and Qihoo tell users they are unable to find any search results, and Sogou returns a blank page.

It is unclear exactly when these search engines stopped displaying their censorship notices, but these screenshots show that, in the case of Baidu, it happened in mid-May.

This screenshot was taken in July 2009, and shows that Baidu had been placing a censorship notice at the top of certain search results for at least 7 years.

These screenshots show that, while Baidu has not always censored terms like "Tiananmen Massacre," it continued to do so in June 2016, and the only thing that has changed is that it is no longer informing users when it does.

This screenshot was taken on June 9, 2016, and shows that the PRC-based version of Microsoft's Bing search engine was still notifying users when it censored search results pursuant to a government order.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Baidu Censors Information About June 4, 1989 In its Forum, Knowledge, and Encyclopedia Services

This screenshot was taken on June 4, 2016, and shows Baidu banned users from establishing a forum about “Tiananmen” (天安门) on its PostBar (贴吧) product.
These screenshots show that on June 4, 2016, Baidu deleted two questions about “What Day is June 4?” from its “Knowledge” (Zhidao 知道) product.

 Here are the deleted questions and answers:
What day is June 4?

Its a day that’s commemorates a movement many years ago. Nowadays there’s not many people who still remember the people or events of that year.



What day is June 4?

Ah, a most ordinary day.
There’s no holiday or anything.
Perhaps its a day that certain people commemorate.


Original URLs:
Here are what Baidu’s Encyclopedia (Baike 百科) article for "1989" says were the only major events on June 4:
June 4 -- Poland holds its first democratic elections, Lech Walesa of the Solidarity Party is elected Premier.
June 4 -- Iranian President Ayatollah Khomeini is chosen as Iran's supreme leader.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Here's What Sina Weibo Was Censoring on June 4, 2016

Here are a few of the terms that Sina Weibo was censoring on June 4, 2016:
  • Tiananmen
  • June 4
  • Tiananmen 1989 (天安门 1989)
  • Victoria Park (维园)

Comparing Baidu and Bing on June 4, 2016

The following screenshots were taken on June 4, 2017. The Bing screenshots of from Bing's global search engine, not its PRC based version.

A web search for "Tiananmen Square Massacre" in English.

An image search for "Tiananmen Square Massacre" in English.

An image search for "Wang Weilin Tank" (王维林 坦克).

A web search for "Tiananmen Mothers" (天安门 母亲).

Searching for Information about June 4, 1989 on Sogou's New English Search Engine

On May 19, 2016, the state sponsored Global Times published an article entitled “Sogou, Microsoft Service.” Some excerpts:
Sogou Inc, a search engine arm under Internet company Inc, teamed up with Microsoft on Thursday by launching an English language search service to further its presence in the country's online search market.

With the aid of the global search technology provided by Microsoft's engine Bing, Sogou said in a statement that it can offer the latest English-language news, information and academic data to users. 
The following screenshots for "Tiananmen," "Massacre," and "June 4, 1989" were taken on June 4, 2016. In each case Sogou returned no results, only a notice saying "Apologies, we cannot find the English search results you are looking for." (抱歉,没有找到你要的英文结果).

Baidu Begins Censoring "Tiananmen 27th Anniversary"

These screenshots show that on June 2, 2016, Baidu began censoring search results for “Tiananmen 27th Anniversary” (天安门 27周年).

These screenshots show that on June 2, 2016, all results from Sina's blogging service disappeared from Baidu's search results for “Tiananmen 27th Anniversary.”
Baidu has imposed similar censorship in past years:

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