• Online gambling is illegal in Chinese mainland.

Online gambling is illegal in Chinese mainland. (Photo : Getty Images)

China's Internet watchdog has launched an inquiry to investigate the claims that illegal gambling sites are being promoted on the search engine Baidu, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

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Earlier this week, news have surfaced that web-based betting firms, who hide under the names of legitimate companies, have created links to their gambling services on their websites during nighttime. These links are removed during the day.

According to a Beijing News Report, though the links appear to be verified, there was only little verification done in the website owner's identity.

On Monday, Baidu has already clarified that it did not cooperate with any gambling operators, adding that these illegal sites have "found their way surreptitiously into its search results at night," SCMP wrote.

With this concern, the Cyberspace Administration tapped its Beijing branch to probe search engine sites and investigate on alleged illegal gambling services.

The watchdog further called on the attention of Baidu not to become an agent of gambling, which is considered illegal in the mainland.

The Internet giant has taken action and had referred the involved firms to the police. It also assisted in gathering evidence to support the allegation.

Apart from this, Baidu also announced that during 2016's first quart, it has already blocked over 8,000 illegal gambling portals on its site and has prevented more than 7,000 keywords related to the activity from appearing on its engine.

Nonetheless, the gambling was not the first issue that Baidu faced this year.

Earlier in May, the company was also on the spotlight after it was investigated over the noticeable placement of sponsored health service providers on its search results page.

This probe was done after a cancer patient, who opted to undergo an experimental treatment listed high on Baidu's search results, died. Reports claim that the 21-year-old patient lost critical time to find proper cure.