Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Following Google self-censorship, China censors Google's English News

At the end of September it was widely reported (including here) that Google's Chinese news page did not present items that were blocked by the Chinese authorities. Now it has emerged that China is blocking Google's English news site.

The Epoch Times reports:

The popular online search engine company Google launched its Chinese news service. A few weeks later, China began a massive firewall blockade of English language news, according to Paris-based Reporters without Borders.

“China is censoring Google News to force Internet users to use the Chinese version of the site, which has been purged of the most critical news reports,” Reporters Without Borders said. “By agreeing to launch a news service that excludes publications disliked by the government, Google has let itself be used by Beijing.” ...

There's also a BBC article on this:

... China is believed to extend greater censorship over the net than any other country in the world.

A net police force monitors websites and e-mails, and controls on gateways connecting the country to the global internet are designed to prevent access to critical information.

Popular Chinese portals such as and maintain a close eye on content and delete politically sensitive comments.

And all 110,000 net cafes in the country have to use software to control access to websites considered harmful or subversive. ...

I suspect that North Korea allows much less web access than China, but I suppose the BBC are technically right to say that China censors more: in North Korea it is simply forbidden to connect to the net at all.

Reporters Without Borders' press release is here:

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the action of the Chinese authorities in blocking access to Google's news website, Google News, for the past ten days or so, starting a few weeks after the launch of an expurgated Chinese-language version of Google News.

The press freedom organisation also urged the US company to react by stopping the filtering of its Chinese-language site and opening it to the news banned by Beijing. ...

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