to media reports today that Google is to stop censoring Internet search
results for users of its Google.cn service in China, Amnesty
International UK Director Kate Allen said:
consistently called on companies operating in China to stop
collaborating with the Chinese authorities’ censorship requirements,
and to respect the right to freedom of expression for web users in
We’ve repeatedly urged Google and other companies to
abide by their own stated business principles and provide unbiased,
accurate and free access to information.
‘It’s very welcome
news that Google appears to be moving back towards these principles.
This now lays down the gauntlet to other Internet companies operating
in China: to be transparent about what filtering and censorship the
government requires them to do. And to stand up for free speech where
they can, using legal appeals and other judicial measures.
also interesting that an apparent attempt to target human rights
defenders influenced Google’s decision. Anyone who stands up for human
rights faces persecution in China, as we saw at Christmas when Liu
Xiaobo was jailed for eleven years after his ‘Charter 08’ document
called for reform.
‘Internet repression continues unabated in
China. Search results are filtered and sites are blocked or closed
down. People are still in jail for what they have written online.
Chinese authorities must release the stranglehold it has on China’s
Internet users and grant them the same rights to freedom of speech and
information as web users in any other country. And it must stop the
systematic persecution of people who stand up for human rights.’
June 2006 Amnesty International UK published Undermining Freedom of
Expression in China: the role of Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google. Since
then the organisation has campaigned for Google and other Internet
companies to stop censoring and filtering Internet search results.