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China's ChatGPT-style bot ChatYuan suspended over questions about Xi

ChatYuan believed to have crossed China's red line on sensitive questions about Chinese leader

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The page of the ChatYuan shows the system is under maintenance and the service is expected to resume on Feb. 13. 

The page of the ChatYuan shows the system is under maintenance and the service is expected to resume on Feb. 13. 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Known as China's first ChatGPT-style bot, ChatYuan is suspending services merely three days after release after users showed screengrabs of dialogues with the program about a string of sensitive political questions, ranging from the country's poor economic performance, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to references to Xi Jinping's dictatorship.

Chinese AI-focused tech company Yuan Yu proudly launched the artificial intelligence-powered chatbot on Feb. 3. Several Chinese users tried out the service and shared their experiences using it.

The company said the robot, ChatYuan, is capable of answering questions in various fields from law to health. Even better, it can assist in creating writing, the company statement read.

However, one issue that ChatYuan faced was properly censoring topics deemed sensitive by Chinese authorities. Some of the answers provided were blatantly at odds with China's state-approved propaganda on Russia's military actions in Ukraine and Xi Jinping's grip on power after the abolition of the presidential two-term limit in 2018.

China's ChatGPT-style bot ChatYuan suspended over questions about Xi
ChatYuan's answer to Xi Jinping's leadership. (Internet photo)

When asked about Xi Jinping's leadership and unlimited terms, ChatYuan lauded Xi as "a great leader, a reformist, being open-minded, and valuing innovation." "Xi's Chinese dream makes fairness and justice possible, improves people's lives,...and promotes world peace," the screengrab of the dialogue read.

China's ChatGPT-style bot ChatYuan suspended over questions about Xi
ChatYuan's answer to China's economic problem. (Internet photo)

In another screengrab, when asked about China's economic problems, the chatbot replied there are critical issues, such as the lack of investment, housing bubbles, environmental pollution, and a drop in business efficiency, leaving China's economic outlook absolutely no room for optimism. Another screengrab showed ChatYuan saying Russia's military actions in Ukraine were a war of aggression.

China's ChatGPT-style bot ChatYuan suspended over questions about Xi
ChatYuan's answer on Russia's military actions in Ukraine. (Internet photo)

China's ChatGPT-style bot ChatYuan suspended over questions about Xi

ChatYuan was banned from offering services on the app store, citing the "violation of relevant regulations" as a reason. (Screengrab image of Weibo)

A Hong Kong media outlet said the service is expected to resume on Feb. 13, while the company declined to comment on the suspension of the service.