• August 6th, 2012
  • Robert Zak

For the uninitiated, Baidu is China’s equivalent to Google, set up after Google refused to comply with the country’s restrictive rules on internet censorship. Since then, Baidu has become China’s most popular search engine.

Now, however, the company is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons as it announced today that four of its employees have taken bribes to delete posts from its website. A Baidu spokeswoman confirmed to Dow Jones that three employees have been arrested for accepting large sums of money to manipulate the forums.

“Baidu has always firmly cracked down on the illegal behavior of online posts deletion for payment,” the Ms. Tian wrote in an email.

According to Baidu, illegally deleting online content is a major problem in China, with it being commonplace for people and companies to be paid off to remove posts that have content which sparks controversy or goes against the site’s views and image.

China remains one of the most tightly-censored countries in the world regarding internet, and the government has an extremely tight grip over what users can and can’t look at. In a recent talk, however, Michael Anti pointed out that, despite all the censorship, freedom of online expression has come a long way in the country, painting an unusually optimistic picture of the internet’s future in China.