Chinese Culture Blog
From Lisa Chiu, for
.The Human Flesh Search Engine phenomenon in China
Tuesday October 27, 2009

The renrou (“ren row”, 人肉) or human flesh search engine has been at it again.
人肉搜索(“ren rou”,人肉)或者人肉搜索引擎再兴波浪.
Today the Shanghai Daily reported that after angry netizens (wangmin or 网民) viewed a video posted of a girl beating up another girl at school, 300 of them descended on the school demanding the girl be punished.
今天上海日报报道了一起事件,愤怒的网民(wangmin or 网民)在看到某帖子上一名女生在学校殴打另一名女生的视频后,有300人聚集到该校,要求惩罚打人的女生.

After the video was posted online, angry viewers figured out who the perpetrator was and then posted her personal information including her home address and her father’s cell phone number.
The crowd dispersed from the school after speaking to the principal.
School authorities are looking into the beating “before deciding on punishment”.

It’s frightening to think what an angry mob could do if a video were doctored or folks target the wrong person in their search for justice.
But this cyber posse phenomenon, dubbed in Chinese “the human flesh search engine”, can also be used for good purposes.
Interested netizens help people find lost relatives and kidnapped children.
I posted a story in August about an adopted boy in the US whose adoptive mother used the internet and the help of Chinese netizens to find her son’s birth family.