Updated: In Google, What Words Bring Up Censors Results in China?

Philipp wondered. His research shows a very large list of English queries. Some seem innocuous, and I wonder why they are on the list… (note: updated for clarity)…

Chinawords

Philipp wondered. His research shows a very large list of English queries. Some seem innocuous, and I wonder why they are on the list…

(note: updated for clarity)

Author: John Battelle

A founder of NewCo (current CEO), sovrn (Chair), Federated Media, Web 2 Summit, The Industry Standard, Wired. Author, investor, board member (Acxiom, Sovrn, NewCo), bike rider, yoga practitioner.

8 thoughts on “Updated: In Google, What Words Bring Up Censors Results in China?”

  1. This seems whacky. I was just there for about a month. Ocassionally Google wouldnt even come up, Wikipedia is blocked wholesale (seemingly). When Google did come up I found it pretty easy to search for things like Tinamen square and so on… i would be shocked if that list is truely real.

    When I did get blocked results I was able to use a workaround. About 5 lines of code to write my own web surfing proxy which worked pretty well. So the filtering seems super coarse grained.

    I’ve never understood all the fuss here. China likes to control media, they just banned the Da Vinci Code. So its their right. Google or any other US company should feel free to do biz there as they please – of course on the Chinese Govt’s terms. So whats big deal…???

  2. >>Google or any other US company should feel free to do biz there as they please

    Liberty is somewhat very valuable, which to each human assign become should. Whether the censorship in the interest of the population takes place remains doubtfuly and according to my opinion serves this rather the government

  3. Just to clarify, Google doesn’t censor words, but domains and sub-domains from results which appear when you search for these words. So the effect is a little more indirect.

  4. I changed my post’s title to make it more clear what’s happening.

    “Edit: I saw this post being slightly misunderstood in several places so I’m changing the title to clarify the distinction between a word being censored, and the search result for a word being censored. I am changing the title from “Google Censorship Word List” to the more descriptive “Words Returning Censored Google Results”. (In the original post, I made this distinction clear in the introductory paragraph, the footnote and the comments, but I think it wasn’t too clear in the original title.)”

  5. Hey Gang… I really dont know crap about how China’s stuff works. All I can say is that when I was there I was able to surf most things and seemed to encounter very little actual filtering which is why the list seems misleading and it would be a surprise if it had substance. I was using English while as noted, the locals seemed to use Mandarin.

    The filtering was rediculously easy to get around as I previously noted which is perhaps my only real contribution to the discussion.

    While I share Jonathon’s sentiment about Liberty (big fan of the stuff) I dont think its a US corporations responsibility to impart US values into a given Country. China’s Communist govt is arguably the best its had in years (talking in the hundreds here) though Im not a Chinese history expert. The main point is that Liberty cuts both ways… who am I to tell any company who to do business with just because I dont approve of how a certain gov’t applies information control.

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