Google Challenges China to End Censorship

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

AIUSA media office, 202-544-0200 x302,
Laura Spann: lspann@aiusa.org

 

Google Challenges China to End Censorship

mnesty International Calls on Chinese Government to Remove Internet Restrictions

WASHINGTON -  The
Chinese government should remove restrictions on the internet following
Google’s decision to stop censoring internet search results in China and
direct all traffic from its servers there to Hong Kong, Amnesty
International
said today.

“By acknowledging that their corporate policies were incompatible with
the self-censorship required to operate inside China, Google has
challenged
the Chinese authorities to respect the principle of freedom of
expression
provided for in the Chinese Constitution” said Roseann Rife,
Asia-Pacific
deputy program director at Amnesty International.  

By taking this step, Google acknowledged yesterday that the Chinese
authorities
could now choose to block access to google.com.hk in China.

Chinese users who are critical of the decision argue that Google was one
of the more unfettered sources.

“Chinese users who hoped Google would not leave China and are expressing
dismay at this decision should in turn ask their own government how and
why the internet is censored in China,” said Rife.

Except for a brief period between July and December 2008, Amnesty
International’s
own website, amnesty.org,
is blocked in China.

In response to Google’s announcement, Chinese authorities accused Google
of the “politicization of commercial issues.”  

“Chinese authorities are themselves politicizing the internet by
blocking
certain search terms and websites,” said Rife. “When a government limits
open discussion and dissemination of ideas on the internet, as the
Chinese
authorities regularly do, they are already imposing their own political
agenda and setting the limits of the debate.”

Amnesty International has documented many recent cases, including Liu
Xiaobo
and Tan Zuoren, where the authorities have silenced human rights
defenders
through imprisonment for disseminating information and writings through
the internet.

The organization has previously urged internet companies such as Yahoo!,
Google and Microsoft to commit to honoring the freedom of expression
provisions
in the Chinese Constitution and to be transparent about the filtering
processes
used in China and the agreements between the companies and the Chinese
government with implications for censorship and the suppression of
dissent.

         
Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace
Prize-winning
grassroots activist organization with more than 2.2 million supporters,
activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for
human
rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses,
educates
and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice,
freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

###

We are people from across the world standing up for humanity and human rights. Our purpose is to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied. We investigate and expose abuses, educate and mobilize the public, and help transform societies to create a safer, more just world.

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