What does Self-Censorship mean?

All websites hosted in China are required to exercise self-censorship. This takes many forms and is more complex to track than censorship of foreign websites. Some websites admit to self-censorship by displaying a certain message when searching for certain keywords. One example is Baidu, as shown above, which presents the following message for particularly sensitive searches:


This roughly translates to:

In accordance with relevant laws, regulations and policies, some search results were not displayed.

However, this does not mean that searches without this message are not censored. A more realistic interpretation is probably that the search is particularly sensitive and perhaps subject to a higher level of censorship than other searches.

Our system concludes that a website is subject to Self-Censorship if:

  1. The URL is a Baidu search result page, and
  2. The result page contains the following text: 根据相关法律法规和政策,部分搜索结果未予显示。

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