Chinese Netizens’ Open Letter to the Chinese Government and Google

Rebecca MacKinnon has written about and translated key portions of an open letter written by Chinese netizens to both Google and the Chinese authorities:

While it’s assumed that the Chinese government would seek to keep its people in the dark – hence its censorship in the first place – they find it unfair that Google has not provided them with enough information to form educated and fact-based opinions about what’s going on. The authors raise a list of questions they want answered (corrections to my rough translation welcome in the comments section):

* Did Google meet the requirements of Chinese law in censoring material related to porn, violence, and gambling?
* How were the Chinese government’s censorship demands communicated to Google? From which ministry? According to what legal processes? Were there any mechanisms for correcting mistakes or channels for appeal?
* What content did the Chinese government require Google to self-censor? Aside from sex, violence and gambling, what else was included? How was the censorship decided for topics such as mining disasters, the brick kiln slave children, Yilishen, violent evictions, Sanlu milk powder, Deng Yujiao, the governor’s confiscation of a journalist’s recorder, the Shanxi vaccine scandal, and other incidents? We cannot accept violation of the public’s right to access such public interest information.
* When it comes to activities by government leaders and ministries that violate the constitution and the laws beneath it, is it necessary to carry out unconstitutional censorship?
* Why can’t the Internet industry, including Google, Baidu, and ICT companies accept public supervision and resolve the content regulation problem in an open manner? Including but not limited to cooperation with an independent third-party citizens’ body?
* What is the status of talks between Google and the Chinese government? What problems have been discussed? Cannot the irreconcilable positions of each side be clearly revealed to the public?
* If Google.cn were to no longer exist, or if China were to further block other Google services, has the Chinese government considered how their blocking of foreign websites and censorship of domestic websites violates Chinese citizens’ right to scientific, educational, environmental, clean energy and other information? How will this loss be lessened or compensated for?

March 21, 2010 1:47 PM
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