China Responds to Google Sort Of: Firms Must ‘Voluntarily Submit’ to State Censorship
January 14, 2010
(ChattahBox)—The Chinese government responded to Google’s threat to pull out of China with several statements in a state controlled newspaper, which didn’t directly acknowledge Google’s ultimatum, but clearly were written in response to the conflict. The official statement, made clear that Internet companies operating within China must obey the government’s strict censorship laws, or else. Unless Google and China’s censors can reach an accommodation, the search engine giant plans to take the Communist country up on its “or else” stance and cease doing business there.
After discovering a series of cyber attacks waged by Chinese hackers against Google and other U.S. firms, targeting human rights activists, Google announced on Tuesday that it would no longer be providing filtered search engine results in China. And if China could not accommodate Google’s position, the search engine giant was prepared to leave China. Google spoke to a handful of key lawmakers about its decision and spoke to the White House on Wednesday. The White House and Secretary of State Clinton issued statements saying, “We look forward to a response from the Chinese,” indicating the sensitivity of the situation.
Well the response, veiled as it is, seems to accept the fact that Google may leave. And Chinese government officials are choosing not to address Google’s threat directly.
Wang Chen, a spokesman for the State Council, said in the People’s Daily: “Internet companies and all sorts of websites must recognize their social responsibilities and further strengthen their internet security. They must voluntarily submit to the supervision and guidance of government departments.”
Wang also said: countries should “take active and effective measures to strengthen management of the Internet and make sure their problems do not affect other countries’ cyber order.” The state spokesman also cast China as a victim of cyber attacks: “China’s Internet is open to the world…. China is a victim of and firmly opposes cyber attacks,” he said.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu told reporters when questioned about the Google controversy: “China welcomes international Internet companies to conduct business within the country according to law,” she said. “China’s law prohibits cyber crimes including hacker attacks.”
And the China Daily newspaper described Google’s declaration of cyber war as a “strategy to put pressure on the Chinese government.”
See The Times Online for more.