China’s Search Engine Baidu Reveals What Chinese Netizens Think of Other Countries

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Internet Search and Trends of Thought

Google is indisputably the most widely used search engine in the world, but unfortunately, it’s blocked in China. For most Chinese, however, it doesn’t seem to be a big problem, because they use Baidu, also a powerful search engine, which can even be regarded as China’s equivalent of Google in some way.

A popular trend on Google nowadays is that people use its autocomplete function to get a sense of how people perceive a country, region or person. Not only does it show people’s interests, but also it reveals their biases. By autocomplete, it means that a search engine will suggest one or more questions for you when you just type the first few words of a question, such as “why is (country)…”, “why did (person)…” and “why is (region) so…”.

Since auto-suggested questions are created through an algorithm based on data about the popular ways that people phrase queries on a certain topic, they definitely give you an idea about how people perceive many things.

Baidu’s “Autocomplete Search” Discloses Chinese Interests

As Baidu is a search engine very similar to Google and is widely used in China, we may be able to find out how Chinese people look at certain things by using the autocomplete function on Baidu. And we came up with some really interesting results about what some countries, regions and even people look like in the eyes of Chinese people.

When we entered “why is US…,” the top question that Baidu suggested is “why did the U.S. (president) visit Cuba?”, which does make sense as President Obama just made a historical visit to Cuba recently, drawing attention throughout the world.

When it comes to the auto-suggested questions about Britain, things got a bit funnier. One of the questions is: “Why is Britain called Rotten Country?” It sounds pretty weird, doesn’t it? What is a rotten country, anyway? But if you think about it from a historical perspective, it also makes sense. The United Kingdom was used to be called “the empire on which the sun never sets” because of its many colonies throughout the world. Now such a glory has long gone, so in a way, Britain is “rotting.”

Through autocomplete, we may also see whether any place, region, person or issue is really of interest to people. Baidu has no trouble coming up with questions about the United States, Brazil, Russia or even Donald Trump, but for Colombia, Peru and California, the search engine just returned one question for each of three places, and for the U.S. Navy and Texas, it did not even autosuggest one single question. So maybe we can conclude that the Chinese have little interest in South American countries except Brazil, and are much more interested in the U.S. as a whole than its different states. Of course, it’s possible that we will have more returned results if we phrase the questions a little bit differently.

From the following screenshots, you can see what kind of questions Chinese people are most likely to ask about certain countries, regions as well as Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Why did the US…..?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.17.29 AM

Why did the U.S. (President) visit Cuba?

Why did the U.S. increase interest? (Rates)

Why doesn’t the U.S. attack North Korea?

Why did the U.S. strike Iraq?

Why does Britain….?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.19.48 AM

Why does Britain want to withdraw from the European Union?

Why is Britain called Rotten Country?

Why didn’t Britain join the Eurozone?

Why doesn’t Britain use the Euro?

Why is Mexico….?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.20.57 AM

Why is Mexico so chaotic?

Why is Mexico so poor?

Why do Mexican people speak Spanish?

Why is Canada…?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.59.33 AM

Why is Canadian population so small?

Why isn’t Canada afraid of a U.S. invasion?

Why do Canadians emigrate?

Why do Canadians speak French?

Why is Italy….?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.03.49 PM

Why didn’t Italy annex Vatican city?

Why is there no Starbucks in Italy?

Why does Italy hate Korea?

Why did Germany….?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.26.24 AM

Why did Germany want to kill Jews?

Why is Germany so strong?

Why did Germany attack the Soviet Union?

Why did Germany start World War II?

Why did Europe…..?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.08.51 PM

Why did Europe become the target of terrorist attacks?

Why wasn’t Europe unified?

Why does Europe accept refugees?

Why can’t Europe be unified?

Why is Brazil….?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.27.28 AM

Why did Brazil move its capital to another place?

Why do Brazilians speak Portuguese?

Why did Brazil lose by such a big margin? (World Cup)

Why is urbanization high in Brazil?

Why is Colombia…?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.28.33 AM

Why are things so expensive in Colombia?

Why did Cuba….?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.19.11 PM

Why doesn’t Cuba get along with the United States?

Why didn’t Cuba take back Guantanamo?

Why is Cuba a socialist country?

Why did Cuba make war with the United States?

Why did Russia…?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.29.55 AM

Why did Russia withdraw its troops from Syria?

Why is Russia called a fighting nation?

Why is Russia so big?

Why did Russia suddenly withdraw its troops from Syria?

Why is Peru….?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.31.05 AM

Why is Peru pronounced as bi-lu (in Chinese)?

Why is Donald Trump…?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.31.50 AM

Why is Donald Trump called “Chuan-pu” (in Chinese)?

Why is Trump stigmatized?

Why is Trump so popular?

Why is Trump supported?

Why Does Hillary Clinton….?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.32.24 AM

Why didn’t Hillary divorce?

Why didn’t Hillary give up running for U.S. presidency?

Why does Hillary hate China?

Why is Hillary hostile to China?

Why is Japan…?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.30.07 PM

Why do so many pretty girls in Japan work as actresses in adult videos?

Why does Japan kill whales?

Why did Japan suddenly attack Pearl Harbor?

Why did Japan invade China?

Why is Korea….?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.31.52 PM

Why is Korea called Stick?

Why must Koreans join the service?

Why is Korea called Country of Sticks?

Why is Korea more advanced than North Korea?

Why is North Korea….?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.34.01 PM

Why did North Korea test solid rockets?

Why is North Korea short of grains?

Why can’t North Korea have nuclear weapons?

Why is North Korea so backward?

Why is New York…..?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.36.33 AM

Why is New York called Big Apple?

Why is New York called the City of Big Apple?

Why isn’t New York the capital of the United States?

Why is California…..?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.36.00 AM

Why is California called Golden State?

Why is Australia…?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 12.41.28 PM

Why did Australia join the Asian Soccer Federation?

Why is Australia targeting China?

Why does Australia have a small population?

Why is Australia called Ao Zhou (Au Continent)?

Why Does Saudi Arabia…..?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.38.41 AM

Why does Saudi Arabia have so much money?

Why are there green balls on the map of Saudi Arabia?

Why don’t Saudi Arabians eat sugar?

Why didn’t Saudi Arabia become a republic?

Why is Israel….?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.39.20 AM

Why is Israel so friendly to Chinese?

Why is Israel so strong?

Why is Israel so advanced?

Why doesn’t Israel attack ISIS?

Why is Iran…..?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.40.26 AM

Why isn’t Iran an Arab country?

Why is Iran sanctioned?

Why isn’t Iran afraid of the United States?

Why is Iran against the United States?

Why is India…..?

Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 11.41.13 AM

Why are there so many rape cases in India? 

Why is India called A-san?

Why is India so poor?

Why are there rapists in India?

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