Faculty Publications

Document Type


Publication Date



In 2016, Zexi Wei, a 21-year old Chinese college student died after receiving experimental treatment for synovial sarcoma at the Second Hospital of the Beijing Armed Police Corps. He learned about this treatment from a promoted result on the Chinese search engine Baidu (the equivalent of Google in China), and ultimately discovered that the hospital had misled patients by providing fraudulent information about the treatment's success rate. Wei's death prompted Chinese regulators to investigate Baidu's advertising practices, and drew widespread attention from the public about the ill-regulated practices of online dissemination of health information. As academic librarians, this tragic incident has made us more vigilant about the ubiquity of questionable medical/health information in Chinese cyberspace, and caused us to wonder – how do Chinese college students seek health information? What are the criteria they use to evaluate the information? What can academic libraries do to help them become more information literate and health literate?


This is the Preprint version of an article published in The Journal of Academic Librarianship, volume 45, issue 2, 2019. The Version of Record is available at this link. SJSU users: use the following link to login and access the article via SJSU databases.