We are betting that Panguso, the new search engine in China, won’t be able to bypass government censorship any better than Google could. In fact, it appears to be under a tighter rein than Baidu, the premier search engine based in China. The Associated Press in Beijing reported discrepancies between results produced by Panguso and those produced by Baidu. For example: Panguso found nothing when searching for Liu Xiaobo, jailed Nobel Peace Laureate, whereas Baidu returned only Chinese-language commentaries criticizing the activist.
During a search for another thorn in the side of the Chinese government, the Dalai Lama, Panguso bypassed the search intent and displayed Tibetan tourism information. Farther down the list of offered results was criticism by the state media of the exiled Tibetan religious leader. Use of the Web in China is encouraged in relation to business and education, but is policed for what the government considers to be subversive or pornographic.
Zinhua News Agency President Li Congjun at Panguso launch
Panguso, although available on both Web and mobile phone, isn’t broadening the Chinese people’s view of the world. Google out, Panguso in, hasn’t brought enlightenment to the Chinese people.
Users will be able to get all the news that is the news … from the Chinese government’s point of view. Xinhua News Agency, in partnership with the state owned China Mobile phone carrier, operates the site. Under the guise of fostering choice, Panguso enters the market as competition to some already in place options such as Baidu who garnered 75 percent of the web searches and 34 percent of the mobile phone searches.
Easou.com also offers mobile phone search capabilities to its subscribers. The China Internet Network Information Center reports that 303 million people searched the Web by mobile phone last year. We just wonder if all the results they found having to do with the world beyond the country’s boundaries were whitewashed, slanted, or non-existent.
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