By Gudrun Schultz
SHANGHAI, China, January 25, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Google Inc. has agreed to submit to Chinese government censors in exchange for greater access to the Chinese information market, one of the fastest growing Internet markets in the world.ÂIn responseÂthe hugely popular Internet news link service Drudge Report began the title of its link to the story with the phrase “Communist Google”.
On Wednesday Google introduced a version unique to China, under the country’s Web suffix “.cn”. The version omits access to information considered offensive to the Chinese government, such as human rights issues, sites on the Tiananmen Square massacre, the forbidden Falun Gong spiritual movement, or Taiwan independence.
Users attempting to access such sites are re-directed to government sites condemning the information.
The giant online search engine Google Inc. operates under the motto “Don’t Be Evil.” Officials for the company say the decision to bow to censorship demands was difficult, but they believe access to the search engine will be of greater benefit to the Chinese people than holding out against communist government policies.
“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,” said Andrew McLaughlin, Google’s senior policy counsel told the Associated Press.
China has a fast-growing body of Internet users, already over 100 million. Competition for Internet service is tight between Google, Yahoo Inc and the Beijing-based company Baidu, currently China’s most popular search engine. Government blocks and slow-downs to the previous Google service frustrated users.
Google has said they will not include e-mail and blogger service to China, in order to avoid possible government seizures of users’ personal information. Last year Yahoo was heavily criticized after it released information from a Chinese journalist’s e-mail account, who was later convicted of violating state secrecy laws.