China says google renewal reflects compliace with laws

2010-07-20 10:59

China renewed Google’s license to operate in the country after the

company agreed to respect Chinese censorship laws, an official said Tuesday in

the government’s first public comment on the issue.

However, the official did not specify whether Google’s pledge came

only as it now offers mainland users of google.cn, a link to its unfiltered

search engine site in Hong Kong, where such laws do not apply.

“Google agreed ... that it will respect China’s laws and

regulations,” Zhang Feng, a top official with the Ministry of Industry and

Information Technology, told reporters.

“It will not provide any information that will endanger China’s

national security, damage China’s national interests, instigate ethnic hatred,

spread superstitious information, damage social stability, or provide

pornography, violence or slanderous information.”

A Google China spokesperson did not immediately respond to a

request for comment.

In March, Google said it would no longer bow to government censors

and effectively shut down its Chinese search engine, automatically re-routing

mainland users to its uncensored site in Hong Kong.

But late last month, the company – seeking renewal of its Internet

Content Provider licence in China – said it was ending the redirection and

instead set up a new landing page at google.cn with links to the Hong Kong

site.

“This new approach is consistent with our commitment not to

self-censor and, we believe, with local law,” Google’s chief legal officer David

Drummond wrote on the company’s official blog.

Beijing confirmed a week ago that it had renewed Google’s ICP

licence in the world’s largest Internet market, after the company agreed to

“rectify” its operations.

Zhang said Google had also agreed to be “subject to the supervision

and monitoring of relevant (Chinese government) departments.”

“So it is our conclusion that it has now met the requirements after

rectification,” Zhang said.

“As for the operation of its website in Hong Kong, that is totally

a business decision that it is free to make.”


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