Censorship: Google considers pulling out of China

Wed 13 January 2010 10:30, Evert Veldhuijzen

Censorship: Google considers pulling out of China

A surprising move from Google: the world's biggest search engine is considering closing its Chinese offices and online services. Reason is the continuous Chinese Internet censorship of the search engine. In addition, the internet giant complains that several e-mail accounts of human rights activists were hacked.

Google is considering its withdrawal from China and will no longer tolerate censorship and hacker attacks on e-mail accounts.

David Drummond, Google's Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer said:

"These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered--combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web--have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China."

Over the next few weeks, Google will advise with the Chinese government  whether and if so on what basis Google could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law. "We are aware that this could also mean the closure of Google.cn and the closure of our offices in China", Google said.

Google's lawyer stressed that the company had not stated that the hacker attacks on one way or another had been supported by the Chinese government . He informed the government in Beijing on Google's decision, he added.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has demanded an explanation from China:

"We have been briefed by Google on these allegations, which raise very serious concerns and questions. We look to the Chinese government for an explanation. The ability to operate with confidence in cyberspace is critical in a modern society and economy. I will be giving an address next week on the centrality of internet freedom in the 21st century, and we will have further comment on this matter as the facts become clear. "

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