BEIJING, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Internet search
engine Baidu.com was asked by Beijing's Internet self-discipline organization to
make a public apology for spreading Hong Kong star Edison Chen's pornographic
Photos supposedly showing Hong Kong actor and singer Edison Chen and several female stars naked in bed and in
sexual poses became a hot topic among Internet users from late January onwards.
The Beijing Internet news information review council,
initiated by government-sponsored Beijing Association of Online Media, issued a
statement on Monday, criticizing the Nasdaq-listed website as being badly
behaved during this event.
In the statement the association said "we severely
criticize Baidu's behavior".
"'Key-words searching' and 'Tieba', a picture-sharing
section of Baidu.com became a platform to show and spread the obscene pictures
and Baidu failed to block the photos after other Beijing-based websites had
taken actions against the pictures' spreading," said the statement.
A staff member, who refused to reveal her name, at
Baidu's public affairs department said the company was asked to make an apology
yesterday, however, the authorities haven't made decision yet.
"It's not convenient for us to comment at present,"
she told Xinhua.
The statement praised other big Chinese mainland
websites, including Sohu.com, Sina.com and Netease, as they called for Internet
users "not to download, save and spread the photos" and "to prevent the photos
from falling into the hands of children".
"They have shown their conscience and
responsibility," it said.
It also called on all websites in the Chinese
mainland not to provide any excuse and technical support for the spread of
pornographic photos, in a bid to create a clean, healthy, and civilized Internet
The council, composed by government officials,
website staff, experts and netizens, was initiated in 2006 as a
self-disciplinary organization for Beijing websites and online information
A total of 42 Beijing-based websites, including
Baidu.com signed to accept supervision of the council.
China has laws and regulations prohibiting producing,
publicizing, selling and spreading pornographic information through the
internet. The Ministry of Public Security recently started a nationwide campaign
to shut down websites and blogs carrying pornographic information lasting until