London, January 25 - Free Tibet Campaign deplores the announcement by Google that it is to capitulate to political pressure from China and provide a web-based search engine for the Chinese market that will prohibit access to information about Tibet and other sensitive political issues, such as the protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Google's rivals Yahoo! and Microsoft already censor their sites in accordance with Chinese government wishes.
"With this move Google's motto 'do no evil' is in smithereens and - through its collusion - Google is endorsing censorship and repression", said Alison Reynolds of Free Tibet Campaign. "This also further contradicts those political leaders who attempt to convince us that foreign business can change China for the better: here is just one more example of where China has changed foreign business for the worse."
Free Tibet Campaign has already protested to Google about its service 'Google Earth', in which the word Tibet is not recognised ('Lhasa, Tibet' produces no results in the search engine, where 'Lhasa, China' is accepted). A protest from the Taiwanese, who objected to Taiwan being described as a 'Province of China' prompted a climb-down by Google, and the contentious words were removed.
"The first point of Google's philosophy is 'focus on the user and all else will follow'", added Ms Reynolds. "Clearly, with this decision, Google is putting the wishes of an oppressive regime first!"
Contact: Alison Reynolds, 020 7324 4605, 07711 843884