Thousands of Amnesty International activists have been putting the pressure on Internet giant Google in recent years to stop censorship in China. The good news is that work has paid off: yesterday Google decided to stop censoring Internet search results in China!
By acknowledging that their corporate policies were incompatible with the self-censorship required to operate inside China, Google has challenged the Chinese authorities to respect the right to freedom of expression provided in the Chinese Constitution.
Amnesty has been working on the issue of Internet freedom in China for over seven years. In 2006 we released a report focusing on Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google’s cooperation with the Chinese government’s censorship of search engines and email, web and blog content. We’ve seen many cases, including Liu Xiaobo and Tan Zuoren, where the authorities have silenced human rights defenders through imprisonment for disseminating information and writings through the internet.
But what will this mean for overall censorship in China? Will other Internet and information technology companies operating in China react?
Let’s call on all companies to follow Google’s lead. Chinese Internet service providing companies, including Baidu, Sina and Sohu, are complying with Chinese government requests and demands to censor content online and otherwise repress the rights to freedom of expression and privacy. Let’s keep the pressure up by sending a message to these companies to ensure the Internet fulfills its potential to empower and educate and to create global communities.