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Google row: China warns internet companies to help ‘guide’ opinion

Peter Foster and Malcolm Moore
London Telegraph [1]
Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Internet companies in China must co-operate with the government in “guiding” opinion on the internet, a senior Chinese government spokesman has warned, as the US internet giant Google remained in negotiations over its threat to pull out of the world’s biggest internet market.

The statement from China’s State Council Information Office, or cabinet, confirmed China’s commitment to controlling the web following Google’s ultimatum that it must be allowed to operate free from censorship.

Although not mentioning Google by name, Wang Chen, the cabinet spokesman, said internet companies had a “major responsibility” to help the Chinese government maintain “social stability and harmony” by “guiding public opinion correctly”.

China justifies its draconian censorship laws on the grounds that it is protecting juveniles from pornography, but its ruling Communist Party also blocks access to any information that it considers might destabilise its position as the country’s sole rulers.

Full article here [1]

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