The People's Daily Dose of Kinkiness (Continued)
Speaking of reader input, here is a contribution via email from the Sinodrom blogger (from Warsaw, Poland and you should check out the blog to see how well you can decipher Polish!) to add to the post The People's Daily Dose of Porn (Warning: Everything described in this email may be changed dynamically because People's Daily could be monitoring and reacting. But such is the state of affairs at the moment when this post was first published).
First of all - http://english.people.com.cn/topic/ is the main page of the 'Community' section at People's Daily.
The table where the 'sex focused' links were first noticed is a table of 'Recent Posts' (with posts added at the guest book, not the forum). The table lists the newest posts in the following manner: first you have the first words of an entry, then the author. When clicked, the user is directed to the entry. This explains why the kinky links didn't work. They were just the 'preview texts' which directed you to the part of the guest book where they had been published (e.g. such as the section about Work in China).
Currently the obscene entries pictured in your screenshot are gone, but the administrator has left out a whole lot of newer (and older!) ones.
This wasn't a hacker's attack. It was plain spam! The guest book is based on a very, very lousy script and has no moderation whatsoever.
Here's what I think:
1. The sex related entries were added by some sort of a spam robot, which is crawling the web in search of guest books and simple BBSs and adds a more-or-less irrelevant text (usually it's packed full of keywords and links; sometimes it 'pretends' to be more human and has sentences like 'Great website – check out at ...').
2. The links were added manually (which is in my opinion almost impossible – who would bother, if you can do it automatically?). The only reason why this could have been done by human was that there isn't that much on the same subject entries in a row.
I'm actually certain that this was an automated process. A human would easily notice that the guest book strips most of the HTML tags (since making a 'working link' is impossible), and would make another entry without the tags, just typing in the URL. If you take a look at the guest book now, you can see that there are some spam posts that have no links, thus making them useless. That's because the robot doesn't know the tags had been removed.
This basically explains what happened. So to sum up – not a hack-attack, just a plain spam-attack. The links didn't work on the Community main page because the links there direct users to the newest entries (which are listed via a script that writes the first words of a new post, and the author's nickname). The links didn't work at all because the guest book strips HTML tags, and the links that 'managed to survive' (the ones that have the text between <a></a> tags the same as their href value) are 'unclickable', yet visible, thus making some users wonder why they haven't been sent to a porn site.
Currently the 'Recent Post' function isn't active – was it switched off after the 'pornish scandal'?
Anyway, there are still some pornography related entries (example: http://english.people.com.cn/other/book/embedbook.php?offset=0&poffset=0&book_id=6). But I think that the most interesting parts have been left out.
This guest book has a very, very simple script, so people who know something about doing websites have access to a whole lot of interesting posts! A lot of them are not accessible via the community page, because it lists the entires in an IFRAME (this means that one HTML document is included in another one; most users don't know how this works, but with some HTML basics, you can easily notice this and go directly to the 'guest book only' document – for example http://english.people.com.cn/other/book/embedbook.php?book_id=6&title=Eating&link=/topic/topic_6.html).
Once you get out of the iframe, there's a lot to get excited about!
First of all – you can check out what happens when you remove parts of the URL that you are currently at. Let us say you are visiting http://english.people.com.cn/other/book/embedbook.php?book_id=6&title=Eating&link=/topic/topic_6.html (this is where the kinky stuff was supposed to be). Now remove the last part of the address - topic_6.html.
Everything is still OK. Remove &link=/topic/ (since this is a simple php script each part like &thing=itsvalue is a variable which stores information needed by the script, by adding or removing values you can modify the result). So we are now at http://english.people.com.cn/other/book/embedbook.php?book_id=6. No changes so far – you can check this by going the the last post >> each time you delete part of the URL, no post are added and no posts are deleted).
And now the fun part because you actually know how this guest book is organized! Lets make the '6' into a '1'. http://english.people.com.cn/other/book/embedbook.php?book_id=1 - it seems to be a very old thread, perhaps not accessible in any other way. You can check out the threads – most of them are rather chaotic and irrelevant but then again, you can find a lot of single entries that are a bit shocking.
If you go to http://english.people.com.cn/other/book/embedbook.php you'll see a list of all the comments added to the guest book. Basically, there aren't any new threads (books?) over no. 19, but this maybe changing as more posts and subjects appear; some of the threads might as well have 'random' numbers. What is a bit funny is that you can go to an apparently non-existing book, say – 1000 – and post a comment there. This way, you can actually have huge amount of threads inaccessible to unaware users!
People's Daily doesn't seem to refer to this link, but you maybe interested in knowing that it exists -- http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/other/book/guestbook.php - it seems to have the same effect as http://english.people.com.cn/other/book/embedbook.php. The difference is that you can freely add comments using embedbook.php, whereas guestbook.php doesn't let you do as smoothly. And to be honest with you – it's quite an interesting read!
For example, when you enter this threadhttp://english.people.com.cn/other/book/embedbook.php?book_id=16 and go to the second last page, you'll notice that some of the post are censored with * stars. Was it done by the author, or the staff at People's Daily? It seems that each * stands for a letter (why was Deng changed?).
There's a lot of stuff going on. Here are some posts that I've found.A lot of posts by a user called ubrappa (I've googled him – he seems to have been writing only at People's Daily, and once at a Islamica Community Forum http://www.islamicaweb.com/forums/showthread.php?p=956886). He has a lot of similar posts like:Jai hind is literally translated by Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jai_hind) as "Victory to India". So this person could be of Indian origin (but then again he/she could be just faking); he/she also knows Spanish.
TO ALL THE READERS, BROTHERS & SISTERS,
ASK THE EVIL(U.S.COLONY)TERRORIST STATE-BRITAIN,THE EVIL(U.S.COLONY)TERRORIST STATE-SPAIN,THE EVIL TERRORIST STATE-FRANCE,THE EVIL(U.S.COLONY)TERRORIST STATE-ISRAEL & THE EVIL TERRORIST STATE-UNITED STATES(U.S.) TO END THE EVIL ILLEGAL BRITISH OCCUPATION OF NORTHERN IRELAND,THE EVIL ILLEGAL SPANISH OCCUPATION OF BASQUE COUNTRY("EUSKADI" IN BASQUE LANGUAGE),THE EVIL ILLEGAL FRENCH OCCUPATION OF BASQUE COUNTRY(PART OF "EUSKADI" UNDER ILLEGAL FRENCH OCCUPATION),THE EVIL ILLEGAL ISRAELI OCCUPATION OF PALESTINE & THE EVIL ILLEGAL U.S.OCCUPATION OF IRAQ IMMEDIATELY & UNCONDITIONALLY.
THE EVIL TERRORIST STATE- UNITED STATES(U.S.) MUST SHUT ALL U.S.MILITARY BASES IN IRAQ & ALL U.S.,BRITISH,EUROPEAN UNION(E.U.) TROOPS & THEIR ALLIES MUST QUIT IRAQ IMMEDIATELY & UNCONDITIONALLY.
But certain other posts seem to be even more aggressive:
PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA(PRC) IS AN ENEMY OF ALL MEMBER-STATES OF THE UNITED NATIONS,THE WORLD & IT'S PEOPLES.
(PRC)CHINA IS A COUNTRY RULED BY EVIL,CRUEL MAFIA-CHIEFS,SMILING CRIMINALS WHO TAKE PRIDE IN KILLING THEIR OWN PEOPLE & ARE ONLY INTERESTED IN AMASSING WEALTH FOR THEMSELVES.
(PRC)CHINA YOU'RE GOING TO LOSE.YOU'RE THE LOSER.
TO THE BRAVE PEOPLE OF IRAQ.
BROTHERS & SISTERS,
ASK THE EVIL ITALIAN BITCHES (ITALIAN WOMEN) YOU'RE HOLDING HOSTAGE IN IRAQ TO MARRY IRAQI MEN IMMEDIATELY & UNCONDITIONALLY.
IF THE EVIL ITALIAN BITCHES REFUSE ,PUT THEM TO DEATH(EXECUTE THEM).
DON'T FREE THE EVIL ITALIAN F'KING THINGS AT ANY COST,UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
More hatred to be found at
(or at http://english.people.com.cn/other/book/embedbook.php?offset=121&poffset=3&book_id=6
or at http://english.people.com.cn/other/book/embedbook.php?offset=143&poffset=3&book_id=6
if comments are added or deleted).
Even more hatred found at: http://english.people.com.cn/other/book/embedbook.php?book_id=10 (older entries, esp. 2004).
Here are some more posts:
To the government of china
we students here in Luzhou Medical College Luzhou are facin lots n lots of problems.college promised to give Internet whole day n night but no internet connection at midnight.college has been takin 300/400 yuan jus for electricity bill if we r not even in our dormitories.college promised to give outstay in 2nd year but we r not allowed.everthing are goin worst here day by day.livin here is becomin terrible every day.
Please whoever sees this message please dliver it to higher authorities in china....
International Students of Luzhou Medical College
The worst in china.....PLEASE HELP US......HELP>>>>>
You need to study Biology as you don't even know how to define a Chinese!
Did you study ********? If you were a Chinese, you will be proud to be a Chinese and appreciate her culture of harmony and morality.
However some banana Chinese (yellow skin but white inside) worship money. They stay away from their real father and beg a deep pocket Uncle Sam to become their father. Pathetic!
And another one:
Students stand up and fight for yourselves! The government will not help you, allowing the foreign capitalists to take over. Democracy in china is all that is needed, with leadship from only own people, separate from the foreign capitalists. That's right, democracy in china. The needs of the people to fight and struggle against the foreign capitalists will not end without any actions.
Stand up for democracy! Don't let the western imperialists invade China! Students stand up now!