This week's Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) outages in China finally have an explanation. Fearing that Google's filters aren't strong enough to block out racy content, the government has apparently been cutting off its citizenry's access.

"We have found that the English version of google.com has spread lots of pornographic, lewd, and vulgar content, which is in serious violation of Chinese laws and regulations," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang explained during this morning's briefing, as quoted by the Associated Press.

Really? Gang also asked Google to take the racy content down immediately, as if somehow the world's largest search engine has some sway over third-party sites.

The move is a bit ironic. China's homegrown search engines, including Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU) and Sohu.com's (NASDAQ:SOHU) Sogou, are being sued by record labels, since MP3 searches typically link to sites hosting illegally uploaded music. Google, meanwhile, went out of its way to team up with a Chinese site to offer legal, ad-supported downloads.

So is China playing favorites with the locals? After all, the labels failed initially in their lawsuit against Baidu, but they emerged victorious when a similar case was presented against Yahoo! (NASDAQ:YHOO) in China.

Either way, China's Web-vetting ways come at a sensitive time, given the upheaval in Iran as it pertains to Internet restrictions. The situation in China is completely different, of course, but it's not shining a favorable light on countries that are being overly limiting on the kind of content that is accessible -- and transmittable.

Temporarily blocking access to Google may be good for Baidu and its smaller rivals in the near term, but it's also the same thing that may endear Google to Chinese Web users once the dust settles.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz isn't calling for a search-engine search party. He owns no shares in any of the stocks in this story and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.