Tags: China | censor | ignore | Google

China to Ignore Google's Censorship Ultimatum

Thursday, 14 January 2010 11:36 PM

China made clear on Thursday that it would ignore an ultimatum from Google to relax internet censorship, and reminded all companies that they must abide strictly by state controls of the country’s cyberspace.

The tough tone was set by the Foreign Ministry, taking refuge behind the fig leaf that any controls are against pornography and to protect people from evil influences.

Jiang Yu, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, was the first Chinese official to address the Google issue since the search engine said on Tuesday that it would close its China service if it was not allowed to offer unfettered internet access.

“China’s internet is open,” she said. “China welcomes international internet enterprises to conduct business according to law.” This was tantamount to a rebuff to Google, even before the company begins what could be short-lived negotiations with Chinese media authorities.

The State Council Information Office took a harder line. Its statement filled half a page in the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist Party, and signalled that Beijing had already decided that its 360 million internet users may have to manage without the world’s most popular search engine.

It said: “Our country is at a crucial stage of reform and development and this is a period of marked social conflicts. Properly guiding internet opinion is a major measure for protecting internet information security.”

Google has pledged to close its Chinese Google.cn service if censorship is not lifted after it reported cyber attacks through its systems against human rights activists and about 20 companies, including Google itself, originating from China.

It emerged yesterday that Yahoo!, which operates one of the world’s most-used search engines and e-mail services, may have been one of the companies that was attacked.

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Thursday, 14 January 2010 11:36 PM
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