Friday, January 15, 2010

Google's Chinese search engine displays images of Tiananmen Square 'Tank Man

SENSITIVE images of the Tiananmen Square massacre appear in Google's search results as the company threatens to leave China over cyberattacks.

While Google has clarified that it is still censoring search results in China according to the country's law, sensitive images can still be found in its image search.

The iconic "Tank Man" photo taken during the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown was available on Google's Chinese website,, yesterday.
The picture of a Chinese man who boldly stood in front of a line of tanks during the crackdown on pro-democracy protests made headlines around the world. The event is still hugely sensitive in China.

Google has threatened to defy Chinese internet censors and risk banishment from the lucrative market in outrage at "highly sophisticated" cyber attacks aimed at Chinese human rights activists.
China-based cyber spies struck the internet giant and at least 20 other unidentified firms in an apparent bid to hack into the email accounts of activists around the world, Google said this week.
While Microsoft denied its mail services had been compromised, Yahoo backed Google's decision.
"We stand aligned with Google that these kinds of attacks are deeply disturbing and strongly believe that the violation of user privacy is something that we as internet pioneers must all oppose," Yahoo said.
White House backing
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Beijing to explain the cyber attacks.
"We look to the Chinese government for an explanation," the chief US diplomat said.
"The ability to operate with confidence in cyberspace is critical in a modern society and economy."
The online espionage has Google reconsidering its business operations in China and it said it does not wish to filter internet search engine results in that country.
"These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered - combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web - have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China," Google chief legal officer David Drummond said this week.
"We are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all," he said.

"We recognise that this may well mean having to shut down, and potentially our offices in China."
Activists agree
Human rights activists hailed Google, voicing hope it would lead Western companies to reconsider their compromises in doing business in China.
"Through international pressure, finally a big business in the West has come to realize its own conscience," said prominent Chinese dissident Wei Jingsheng, who spent 18 years in prison before entering exile in the US.
T. Kumar, the Washington-based advocacy director of Amnesty International, urged other internet companies to follow Google's lead.
"We're glad that at last international internet companies are waking up to the reality that they cannot go along with oppressive nations like China," Mr Kumar said.


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