Baidu Includes Its Own "Baike" in Whitelist of "Trusted Websites" for Politically Sensitive Searches

For some time now Baidu, along with most other China-based search engines, has restricted search results for the names of senior PRC political figures to about a dozen websites under the direct control of the central government and the Communist Party:

State Run News Outlets

The China Daily (chinadaily.com.cn)
The Economic Daily (www.ce.cn)
The People's Daily (people.com.cn)
The Guang Ming Daily (gmw.cn)
Xinhua (xinhuanet.com)
China News Service (chinanews.com.cn)

State Run Broadcasters

China Radio International (cri.cn)
China Central Television (cctv.com and cntv.com)

Government Agencies

Communist Party Youth League (youth.cn)
Central Government (www.gov.cn)
State Council Information Office (china.com.cn)
State Council Taiwan Affairs Office(chinataiwan.org)

I've recently been noticing, however, that there seems to be a new addition to the whitelist of websites that Baidu will return for searches for the names of senior political figures: Baidu's own Baike (their version of Wikipedia).

Screenshot #1 shows a side-by-side comparison of searches for "Jiang Zemin" (江泽民) on Baidu on July 6, 2011 and February 15, 2012. There was no Baike result last July, but now its the second result.

I'm not sure when Baidu began doing this, but I'd guess it was some time recently, and in any event it was most likely some time since September 2011. At that time I noted that a search or "Li Changchun site:baidu.com" (李长春) returned no results. But as screenshot #2 shows, the same search now returns over 200,000 results - all of them apparently from Baidu's Baike (since searches restricted to other Baidu properties like Tieba forums or Zhidao Q&As return no results).

As screenshot #3 shows, Baidu does not return any results for ostensible competitors for its Baike product - searches for "Li Changchun site:hudong.com" and "Li Changchun site:wikipedia.org" return no results, just a notice saying "Search results may not comply with local laws, regulations, and policies, and have not been displayed." (搜索结果可能不符合相关法律法规和政策,未予显示。) This despite the fact that both of these websites have entries for Li Changchun (see screenshot #4):

http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%9D%8E%E9%95%BF%E6%98%A5
http://www.hudong.com/wiki/%E6%9D%8E%E9%95%BF%E6%98%A5%5B%E4%B8%AD%E5%A4%AE%E6%94%BF%E6%B2%BB%E5%B1%80%E5%B8%B8%E5%A7%94%5D

My original Li Changchun Post: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106378980111121757454/posts/RSDF1YkHRgn
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