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China: Google ceases internet censorship

posted by Kriya China Topics: internet

January 14, 2010

China: Google ceases internet censorship

On January 12, 2010, internet company Google announced it would no longer censor search results on the Chinese Google.cn. The decision was made as a result of its Gmail accounts being hacked from accounts based in China, specifically targeting Chinese human rights activists. The official Google blog stated, “We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.”

China however has defended its right to censor the internet, with Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, Jiang Yu stating at a weekly media briefing, “China's Internet is open and the Chinese government encourages development of the Internet." With so much government censorship, however, one must wonder how much development can actually occur.

Freedom of speech and expression is something most of us living in democratic societies value. It is viewed as a basic human right. But of course, not everyone would agree. A worker at a software company in China, referred to by his last name, Cui, told the Age newspaper, “Every nation restricts the Internet. China has its laws. If you want to leave China, it's your own business but you have to respect the laws here."

However another internet company employee told The Age, the government was concerned about pornography on the internet, but he also believed they were mostly concerned with political content, “They talk about pornography, but with 1.3 billion people, who has not seen pornography?” he said. Clearly the people are not happy.

Ultimately, we are all autonomous beings with the ability to make up our own minds without government interference. Everyone should have access to whatever is out there, whether it is in the form of a harsh news story, or shocking images. It should be left up to the individual to decide whether they want to be exposed to it and if not, they have the power to simply look away.

by Kriya Govender

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