A set of internal working documents from the censorship department at Baidu, China’s largest search engine, were recently leaked. These documents are quickly appearing on blogs, forums and across the internet both in China and around the world. A China Digital Times post includes a comprehensive list of the websites that are being censored by Baidu. The documents also include staff names and their performance records, company contacts censorship guidelines, operating instructions, as well as specific lists of topics and even words to be censored. Additional company information is included in the time frame from November 2008 through March 2009.
Some of the blacklisted topics including; information on “defending human rights and appeals,” Falun Gong, the 1989 Tiananmen Square student massacre, information on Chinese Communist Party leaders, ethnic minority issues and the human organ trade. Each topic contains a list of keywords such as “quit the CCP,” “dictatorship,” “suppression,” “China’s human rights” and “brainwashing.”
According to a report published by the University of Toronto last year that compared the transparency of search engines in China, censorship was found to be blocking sites at a rate of more than 26% of the tested websites. Baidu censored the most. In addition western search engines also provided censorship. Yahoo censored 21% of the website and Google 15%.