China says Google will obey censorship laws, Britain’s deficit shrinks slightly

Political Economy – Morning briefing: China says Google will obey censorship laws, Britain’s deficit shrinks slightly: “China says Google will obey censorship laws, Britain’s deficit shrinks slightly

By Ariana Eunjung Cha, Washington Post, 20.07.2010

*China said Tuesday that Google’s license to operate in the country had been renewed after the company pledged to obey censorship laws.

The remarks were Beijing’s first comments about Google since the search giant shocked the Internet world in January with the announcement that it would end four years of self-censorship and pull out of the country entirely after alleged intrusions into its network by hackers.

In March, Google raised the stakes in its censorship row with China by shutting down its search service in the mainland and redirecting searches to Hong Kong, which is semi-autonomous and enjoys greater freedom of speech.

Zhang Feng, an official with China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at a news conference on Tuesday that Google had promised to ‘obey Chinese law’ and avoid linking to material deemed a threat to national security or social stability.

Zhang also talked about Google’s planned ‘rectification and reform,’ referring to the U.S. search company’s decision to stop switching users automatically to its Hong Kong search site. Instead, users arrive at a screen that allows them to click to get to Google Hong Kong. ‘The rectification and reform in the annual application basically conforms to regulation,’ Zhang said.

A Google spokeswoman would not comment directly about Zhang’s remarks but reiterated that ‘the products we are keeping on Google.cn (Music, Translate, Product Search) do not require Google to censor.’ She said Web search is being offered from Google.com.hk without censorship.

‘There is no censorship being done by Google on either domain,’ she said.”

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