Google Censors Chinese Search Results

Google on Wednesday launched a Chinese version of its search engine, however as can be expected the company has made some concessions in order to appease the Chinese government. Searches on the topics of human rights, Tibet, the Dalai Lama, and democracy now omit certain Web sites and redirect to Chinese government Web sites.

The company defends its actions as a way to make information more accessible in China. However, the company has always prided itself on offering the most open, unadulterated results; Wednesday's move seems to contradict that philosophy.

"Google's statements about respecting online privacy are the height of hypocrisy in view of its strategy in China," worldwide press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said in a statement. "Freedom of expression isn't a minor principle that can be pushed aside when dealing with a dictatorship."

The group has similarly criticized Yahoo and MSN for making similar concessions in order to provide service within the country. Chinese authorities have a long history of attempting to censor what it considers "sensitive information" that could be dangerous to the government's hold on power in the country.

However, the company's move was not surprising, as one anonymous Chinese poster said on a popular technology website that "Google has no choice but to give up to the Party."

The company has also defended its actions, saying it had no choice but to obey the laws of the country in order to offer service there. "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," the company said in a statement.

Furthermore, it is likely that Chinese residents would still be able to use google.com if they so desired. The company gave no indication it would restrict access to that site.

However on the Chinese site, users would be informed if search results had been deleted.

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