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China's New Search Engine Offers Even More Propaganda for User Enlightenment

The Xinhua News Agency, the Chinese government's largest news service, has launched its own search engine, providing China's 450 million Web users with even more party propaganda.

The search engine, called Panguso, was created in partnership with government-owned China Mobile -- the world's largest mobile operator with over 550 million customers. In combining Xinhua's news with China Mobile's vast user base, officials are hoping to create a platform strong enough to challenge Baidu, which currently dominates the country's search engine market.

"We would like to fully exploit the advantage of Xinhua as an official agency having a large collection of news and information, and that of China Mobile in terms of technology, advanced operation principles and strong infrastructure," Xinhua president Li Congjun said in a statement.

Given China's lengthy history of online censorship, it should come as no surprise that Panguso filters out plenty of "objectionable" search results. In fact, according to the AP, the new service is even more discriminating than other Chinese search engines.

On Baidu, for example, users won't be able to find much information on Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese dissident and Nobel Prize laureate; but they'll at least be able to find content that criticizes him. On Panguso, a search for Liu Xiaobo returns absolutely nothing. Search for the Dalai Lama on Panguso, and you'll see a series of Tibetan tourist sites. Scroll down to find (exclusively critical) commentaries about the exiled leader.

Formidable as the joint venture may seem, analysts aren't sure that Panguso will be able to offer much of a challenge to Baidu, which currently commands about 75-percent of China's online search market. Google is still in a distant second-place, with about 19-percent market share, but its business on the mainland has suffered ever since the company butted heads with Chinese authorities last year. The government, as you may recall, wanted Google to be less like Google, and a little more like, well, Panguso.

Tags: censorship, china, ChinaMobile, chinese, government, panguso, politics, propaganda, search, SearchEngines, top, Web, Xinhua