Screenshot of Baidu Tieba.
(ECNS) -- Beijing police have detained at least 10 people, including employees at Baidu, the leading Chinese-language Internet search provider, over allegations of abusing their positions to delete online posts in return for money, the Beijing News reports.
The newspaper cited several cases since 2012 by the city's police bureau, which has exposed a profit chain connected to a web censor at the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau.
Xu Ning, an administrator at Baidu Tieba, an online community bound tightly to Baidu's Internet search services, was found to have taken 67,400 yuan ($10,856) for deleting more than 300 posts in collaboration with Lv Longwei, who once worked at Baidu.
A PR company has also profited from deleted posts. It was launched in 2010 by a former Baidu employee surnamed Gu.
His staff searched for unfavorable posts about enterprises and government departments, then charged hundreds of yuan to delete the posts.
From 2010 to 2012, Gu deleted 2,000 posts on Baidu, 500 on the news website Sohu and 20 posts on qianlong.com. More than two million yuan was involved.
The posts covered a wide range of issues, including forced demolitions, pollution problems, extramarital affairs and bribery by officials, as well as product quality and companies in financial crises, according to Gu.
An Internet policeman (web censor) surnamed Liu at the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau was also dragged into the mire. He was found to have accepted 770,000 yuan from Gu and 150,000 yuan from others for deleting posts.