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Google China Blocks Porn Accuser's Name

The Chinese government's condemnation of Google as a purveyor of porn continues.
Chinese bloggers have turned the tables on China's state-controlled media, which last week aired a television report supporting the government's decision to block certain Google.cn search results deemed "unhealthy" or pornographic.

By outing a young man complaining about Google as a government shill, they turned the name of Google's accuser, Gao Ye, into "unhealthy" content -- Google.cn briefly blocked the Chinese symbols for that name, according to Danwei.org, an English-language Chinese news blog based in Hong Kong.

Searches for phrases that contain those two characters, such as "It's no good even if you're tall," were also blocked.

Gao Ye was identified as a college student in an interview on a program called Focus Interview, which aired on China Central Television (CCTV). He spoke about how a classmate became addicted to pornography found through Google.cn.

But Chinese bloggers scoured the Internet and found that Gao Ye was an intern for CCTV, hardly the sort of neutral source demanded by reputable journalism outlets. As news about the sham complainant circulated, searches for Gao Ye's name were blocked, presumably to limit government embarrassment.

It's not immediately clear whether Google.cn's decision to block searches about "Gao Ye" was the result of an order by Chinese authorities or a precautionary step taken by Google China. A spokesperson for Google in the United States was unable to clarify the situation. However, Baidu, Google's main search competitor in China, appears not to have blocked the name.

And neither is Google.cn anymore. Though the Chinese characters for "Gao Ye" produced no results earlier this morning, service now appears to have been restored.

China watchers have said that the Chinese government's condemnation of Google as a purveyor of porn represents an effort to deflect attention from its poorly received mandate that all computers sold in the country include Web-filtering software called Green Dam as of July 1.

The order has been so unpopular in China that a national Internet boycott is being organized. And the English-language China Daily on Wednesday reported that one of the two companies that developed Green Dam, Jinhui Computer System Engineering, has received more than 1,000 death threats since the government's filtering rule was announced earlier this month.


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Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer