Baidu (still) can’t take criticism from average internet users

Society & Culture

It’s 2019, and Baidu, China’s dominant search engine, continues to build a reputation of being too thin-skinned to handle jokes or accept legitimate criticism about a series of mistakes it made years in the past.

The latest casualty of its long-standing antagonistic pose towards critics is a Weibo user named @薇陈释届礼, who was reportedly questioned by the local police (in Chinese) in Nanchang on May 29 after commenting on news regarding Baidu’s CEO Robin Li 李彦宏. According to the woman, she was under investigation due to the remarks she made on Weibo, which were perceived by Baidu as a defamatory comment of bad faith and warranted legal actions against her.

The remarks that landed the woman in trouble were made on May 25. Commenting on a piece of old news that some students from University of Science and Technology of China disrupted Li’s speech at the school in 2016 as a form of protest, @薇陈释届礼 wrote:

“This news was from three years ago. At the time, Robin Li’s speech at USTC was interrupted. And now some university students are singing a song for Robin to him. I don’t know if Robin Li has the balls to visit the school that Wei Zexi attended.”

The song mentioned in the comment was revealed in a recent viral video on the Chinese internet. In the clip, Li can be seen making a speech at Fudan University and watching the performance of a love song dedicated to him. Full of cringe-worthy lyrics, like, “I want to meet you so badly Mr. Robin,” the song caused quite a stir on social media, with many netizens expressing disgust at Li’s narcissistic self-indulgence. Lyrics from the fan-made song are below.

The other part of the offending comment refers to the now three-years-old case of Wèi Zéxī 魏则西, who, then a 21-year-old college student, died of cancer after Baidu’s recommendations in search results led him to a costly and fraudulent hospital that gave him bogus cancer treatment. The death of Wei triggered a massive outcry from the public at the time, which forced Baidu to issue a slew of apologies and promises to improve its services. But in the years that ensued, Baidu has continued to see scandals about inaccurate search results, and has drawn scorn for targeting many  random internet users who talked negatively about it. Last year, Baidu sued a Beijing-based comedian for making a harmless joke about Robin Li’s private life. Earlier this year, it threatened to bring renowned journalist Wáng Zhìān 王志安 to court after he mentioned Baidu’s past scandals in a blog post.

And in case you are wondering how terrible the song is, here is the performance video. Check out the lyrics translated to English below.


Hi,Robin 我听过你 / Hi,Robin I’ve heard about you

传说中的男神就是你 / The legendary Prince Charming is you

Hi,Robin 你在哪里 / Hi,Robin Where are you

可是五环外的西二旗 / Are you at Xi’erqi outside Beijing’s Fifth Ring road?

Hi,Robin 我想见你 / Hi,Robin I want to meet you

很想钻进你的百度世界里 / I am eager to get into your Baidu world

Hi,Robin 忘不了你 / Hi,Robin I can’t forget about you

今天此刻最神奇 / This is a magic moment today


嘿嘿嘿 Mr. Robin / Hey Hey Hey Mr. Robin

嘿嘿嘿 (x3) / Hey Hey Hey (x3)

听过你的故事 / I’ve heard your stories

听过你的声音 / I’ve heard your voice

长得帅气 感觉熟悉 / You look so attractive and familiar

倔强而坚定 / Stubborn and determined

勇敢的心 / Your brave heart

在不断变化的时代里 / In a time that everything constantly changes

保持激情 / Always have the passion


植物的朋友 / Friend of plants

诗人的心 / Heart of a poet

Mr. Robin 好想见你 / Mr. Robin I want to see you so badly

喜欢你亲切温和的笑容 / I like your kind and gentle smile

好想遇见你 Mr. Robin / I want to meet you so badly Mr. Robin


随着纽约的风 去听硅谷的雨  / Ride the wind from New York and listen to the rain in Silicon Valley

感谢上帝 和创业的你 / Grateful for God and you as an entrepreneur

更懂中文 就是更懂世界 / Understanding Chinese more is understanding the world more

在不断变化的时代里 / In a time that everything constantly changes

保持激情 / Always have the passion

改变世界 改变生活 / Change the world Change life

Hi, Robin 坚持自己 / Hi, Robin Stick to yourself

专注是一切成功的秘密 / Concentration is the key to success

好想再见你 / I want to see you again so badly

Hi, Robin / Hi, Robin