Posted by: xindaya | April 17, 2008

The Olympics, The Media and Human Flesh Search Engines

Torch Grab

We here at the Electric Sinophile are interested in all aspects of China, but as you might guess by our title, the new media and ‘electric’ angles are especially interesting. The recent events regarding Tibet and the Olympic Torch and such are really allowing us to see how the internet and other technologies are having very real impacts around the world. Here are a couple of interesting recent examples:

  • Because of the reaction to the Olympic Torch in Paris, an internet movement is gaining ground to boycott the French giant Carrefour, one of the largest and most popular supermarkets in China. (via China Digital Times)
  • The anger felt about a perceived anti-Chinese in western media seems to have been focused on CNN, thanks in particular to some questionable photo cropping and Mr. Cafferty’s ‘goons and thugs’ quote. The website Anti-CNN seems to be have become a locus for this frustration.
  • The term Human Flesh Search Engine (I believe it was first translated thusly by Roland Soong of EastSouthWestNorth), is used to describe physical action brought on by a call to arms in chatrooms and online forums. One of the most recent example is found in the publishing of the personal information of a Chinese national who is a student at Duke university. She was branded a traitor because she was seen to be siding with some pro-Tibetan independence folks. With all her information published, including her national ID and parents address in Qingdao, the Human Flesh Search Engine has come down forcing her parents into hiding. The New York Times has and article here; the Washington Post, here. And here is a posting from the nationalist-leaning Tiexue website (in Chinese).
  • Another Human Flesh Search Engine action has been against the man who tried to grab an unlit torch out on the hands of Jin Jing, one of the torch runners. Many netizens attempted to finds out who he was, to unfortunate degrees of failure. This Baidu search for ‘Jin Jing’ shows a taste of the mood. EastSouthWestNorth has great coverage, as usual (do a CTRL-F search for ‘Chinese Human Flesh Search Engine Goes Global’ on this page). WLBZ news in Bangor, Maine of all places has a further account of mistaken identity.


  1. […] Human flesh search engines April 18, 2008 The term “human flesh search engine” may have first appeared, before translation into what sounds like Chinglish, on this Chinese page (I can’t read it, so I have to trust this blog post). […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: