From the China Compliance Digest (Issue No. 28: August 12, 2012):
Four staffers at Baidu, China's leading search engine, have been arrested for accepting illicit payments from third-party internet manipulators.
Frequently seen in China, these third-party agents take fees of up to 200,000 yuan per year (US $31,522) from corporate clients to get rid of unwanted online content.
These deletion-for-pay services are illegal in China.
A Baidu spokesperson said the employees were paid as much as "tens of thousands of yuan" to delete content from Baidu's online forums.
China law stipulates that private-sector workers found guilty of taking small to moderate bribes can face up to five years in prison. Larger bribes can result in a longer prison sentence.
"Baidu has fired the four. If we discover such cases, we will severely punish staff," a Baidu spokesperson said. Managers of other online forums were quoted in the media as saying that improper post deletion was a common phenomenon in the industry.
Sources: AsiaOne, BBC News, The Global Times
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