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Baidu fires four for deleting posts

By Cao Yin (China Daily)

08:29, August 08, 2012

Beijing police have detained three people working at Baidu Inc, the leading Chinese language Internet search provider, over allegations that they abused their positions and deleted forum posts in return for money.

The company confirmed that it had sacked the accused employees, along with a fourth person, who has not been included in the police investigation.

Baidu's professional ethics committee sent an e-mail to more than 16,000 staff members on Aug 1, saying four workers had made money by deleting posts on online forums under requests from other corporations.

Li Guoxun, a publicity officer for Baidu, said the four disobeyed a company rule requiring staff members not to delete posts or deal with netizens' complaints for money.

"Some clues were found by our professional ethics committee, while some were revealed by a channel provided for netizens and our employees," Li said, adding that the company often taught employees how to delete posts in line with the rules.

"We've always fought against post elimination for money and will report the matter to the police if we find similar cases," he said.

"Baidu will not hide such kinds of bribes and hopes the public can supervise our work," he said.

Police in the capital's Haidian district, which is handling the case, declined to give more details on Tuesday, but said someone who takes large bribes will face criminal punishment.

The Criminal Law states that staff members at private enterprises face up to five years in detention if the bribes are not very big. If the bribes are huge, they will be confiscated, and the person will be sentenced to more than five years in jail.

A Baidu insider, who has worked in the company for about a year and did not want to be identified, said bribes ranged from 6,000 yuan ($940) to tens of thousands of yuan.

"Under our rules, if an employee earns money or receives gifts by helping others delete posts without permission from the company, he or she will be criticized or fired," he said, adding that the four in the latest case received the severest punishment from the company.

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