Google Says U.S., E.U. Should Pressure China on Web Censorship

By Douglas MacMillan and Pavel Alpeyev,Bloomberg Nov 10, 2011, 1:10 AM EDT
June 10 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc., which moved its Chinese site offshore to avoid local censorship rules, said the U.S. and European Union governments should press China on Internet restrictions as they represent barriers to trade.

Google’s Chief Legal Officer David Drummond made the remarks to reporters in Brussels yesterday, according to the company’s spokesman Scott Rubin, who confirmed a report on his comments by the Associated Press.

The Mountain View, California-based company is seeking government support after it began redirecting users to its Hong Kong site to avoid Chinese government requirements to censor Web queries. The move has cost Google share in the world’s most populous Internet market and was called “totally wrong” by the Chinese government.

“Censorship, in addition to being a human-rights problem, is a trade barrier,” Drummond said, according to the AP report. “The censorship, of course, is for political purposes but it is also used as a way of keeping multinational companies disadvantaged in the market.”

Google in January threatened to exit the Chinese market after cyber attacks originating from the nation targeted its systems. The attacks were aimed at obtaining proprietary information and personal data belonging to human-rights activists who use the company’s Gmail e-mail service, it said.

Resist Censorship

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in March said Google’s decision about whether to pull out of China “is really between Google and China.”

In January, she called on U.S. technology companies to resist censorship of the Internet and said perpetrators of cyber attacks such as those on Google must face consequences. She also said China’s Internet controls could harm the nation’s development.

Google, which operates the world’s most popular search engine, accounted for 30.9 percent of China’s online search market in the first quarter, compared with 35.6 percent three months earlier, according to data from Analysys International. Rival Baidu Inc.’s market share rose to 64 percent from 58.4 percent, according to the Beijing-based researcher.

The Chinese government this week announced topics it censors on the Internet, including material that may damage “state honor and interests” or “subverts state power.”

No organization can “produce, duplicate, announce or disseminate information” on topics that may be “against the cardinal principles set forth in the constitution,” China’s State Council Information Office said in a 31-page policy paper on the Internet issued on June 8.

Information which may incite ethnic hatred, jeopardize state religious policy or spread “superstitious ideas” is also subject to the restrictions.

--Editors: Mark McCord, Aaron Sheldrick.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at; Douglas MacMillan in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at