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Human Flesh Search Engine

The word “Human Flesh Search Engine” or “Renrou Search Engine” (人肉搜索), an online searching method with the help of numerous other netizens, was coined in China to distinguish from the traditional computer search engine, like Google and Baidu.

Basically, this type of searching is conducted in a Post a Question Online and Wait for Answers way. It has never been more prosperous in China among the huge 404 million Chinese netizens in recent years. Google even created a website titled as Google Renrou Search Engine to appeal the growing demand and interests in the Chinese market. As a result of its nature, it is not necessarily as fast as a computer-based searching engine, by which you can get the relative materials about the keyword you typed in within 0.0001 second. However, based on our former frustrating experiences, computer just cannot interpret the natural language of human beings as the way we want. Differently, you can raise a question in a casual format of language, without worries about any grammar or typing errors. And the extraordinary population never fails you. Besides from the contribution of the population, I guess the explanations for the incredible popularity of renrou search engine in China is the deficiency in the transparency of the government operations, the over control of the official media from the powers and the insecurity sense of the citizens (Though it is worth exploring. It is not the topics today. Sorry… ).

Unsurprisingly, this could develop and has already developed as an efficient way to probe into the personal information of others. The concerns started from an event on Feb 28, 2006. After several pictures, which shows a young woman torturing a baby cat to death with her high heels, were put on the Internet, thousands of people resolute to dig this person out. Within only 6 days, which was faster than the efficiency of any police departments, all the critical information, ranging from the home address and the friends of this woman were posted on the Internet. The flourishing condemnations cause a disaster to the woman in the end.

Similar events happened now and then, I was stunned to know that even the police departments began to use this method to search criminals wanted. So did the lawyers for collecting information. No laws have been enacted to regulate this type of acts. It is said that the legislature is now contemplating seriously about it.

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