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Google China will not Challenge Beijing Internet Censorship Policy

Google China insisted that following China's censorship demands on the internet content is reasonable despite challenges from the human rights watchdogs.
( [email protected] ) Apr 12, 2006 08:09 PM EDT

Google China insisted that following China's censorship demands on the internet content is reasonable despite challenges from the human rights watchdogs.

A launching ceremony to announce Google's Chinese-language brand name- "Gu Ge," or "Valley Song," was held Tuesday. Chief executive officer Eric Schmidt defended its much criticized censorship policy in China, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).

"We simply don't have a choice but to follow the law," Schmidt said. "We must comply with the local law, indeed we have all made a commitment to the government that we will absolutely follow the Chinese law. We don't have any alternatives."

Google, which has as its motto "Don't Be Evil," aims to make its search engine more accessible in China, thereby expanding access to information. Therefore, it has launched Chinese version website Google.cn in late January.

However, under the strict regulation of the Chinese government on internet content, Google agreed to censor the material about human rights, Tibet, Taiwanese independence, the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and other topics sensitive to Beijing.

In addition to the contents about democracy, religious news - such as those criticizing the government’s religious policies- are prohibited from being posted on the internet. China claimed that these new laws were established in order to "protect the interests of the state."

A media watchdog Reporters Without Borders yet voiced out the major concern, saying that the censorship has reflected the Chinese government’s move to suppress freedom of accessing information.

Google and the other major internet companies such as Microsoft and Yahoo were accused by Congressional Human Rights Caucus for collaborating with China to censor the internet.

According to Associated Press, on the launching ceremony, when asked whether Google might try to persuade Beijing to change its restrictions, Schmidt said he didn't rule anything out, but said it hasn't tried to change such limits elsewhere.

"There are many cases where certain information is not available due to local law or local custom," he argued, citing the example of Germany Google that all Nazi-oriented material is prohibited.

Rather than focusing on the human rights and freedom of speech issues, Schmidt reported about the tremendous business potential in the market in China. He even praised the Chinese government for making the rise of the Internet in China with strategy.

Google's new Chinese-language brand name - "Gu Ge" or "Valley Song"- means a Chinese rural tradition to describe a fruitful and rewarding experience.