Google in talks with Beijing over censorship

09:00, March 12, 2010      

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Google said that its talks with China on the future of the US Internet giant in the Asian nation are underway, while sticking to the threats of leaving the world's largest Internet market.

"We are indeed in active discussions with the Chinese government," Google China spokeswoman Marsha Wang told AFP Thursday, echoing what its chief said Wednesday about outcome of the talks.

"There is no specific timetable. Something will happen soon," Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit.

Their comments came after a top Google executive told US lawmakers that the firm was prepared to leave China, if Google was forced to continue censoring its Web search engine.

"Google is firm in its decision that it will stop censoring our search results for China," Google vice president and deputy general counsel Nicole Wong told the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday.

Google threatened in January to leave China over so-called cyberattacks and censorship problems.

The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology clarified over the weekend that no cyberattack compliant or negotiation application had been received from Google, leaving the focus of speculation only on censorship.

There are smooth communication channels between the governing departments and Internet operators, Qin Gang, spokesman of the Chinese foreign ministry, reiterated Thursday.

Washington was studying whether it would bring the case to the WTO, but a Chinese strategist said that the attempt would be misguided and bound to fail since the WTO upholds the country's right to censor Internet content.

Source: Global Times
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