San Francisco/Shanghai, Jan. 25 (Reuters): Internet search giant Google Inc. will block politically sensitive terms on its new China site, bowing to conditions set by Beijing in return for access to the world’s number-two Internet market.
The voluntary concessions laid out yesterday by Google, which is launching a China-based search site as it officially enters the market, would parallel similar self-censorship already practiced there by most multinationals and domestic players.
Homegrown giants like Sohu.com and Baidu.com, along with China sites operated by Yahoo and Microsoft, all routinely block searches on politically sensitive terms such as the Falun Gong spiritual movement and Taiwan independence.
“In order to operate from China, we have removed some content from the search results available on Google.cn in response to local law, regulation or policy,” Andrew McLaughlin, Google’s senior policy counsel, said.
“While removing search results is inconsistent with Google’s mission, providing no information (or a heavily degraded user experience that amounts to no information) is more inconsistent with our mission.”
Google is developing its China approach as it seeks to strike a balance between the freedom of information it champions and the censorship demanded by Beijing. The company added that at least for now, it will stay away from e-mail and blogging in China, which have been the source of recent controversies after Beijing demanded information on an e-mail user from Yahoo.