US senator wants Baidu to stop censorship

May 04, 2011
A woman walks past the logo of Baidu at its headquarters in Beijing in 2010. Assistant Senate majority leader Richard Durbin is calling on leading Chinese Internet firm Baidu to protect human rights and stop censoring search results.

Assistant Senate majority leader Richard Durbin is calling on leading Chinese Internet firm Baidu to protect human rights and stop censoring search results.

Durbin, a Democrat from the state of Illinois, on Wednesday released a copy of a letter he sent to chief executive Robin Li asking what plans Baidu has to protect freedom of expression.

Durbin also asked Li to reveal any plans Baidu might have to collaborate with California-based Facebook to launch an online social network in .

"I appreciate that Baidu has given millions of Chinese citizens the ability to access information," Durbin said in his letter to Li.

"At the same time, your company has a moral obligation to respect fundamental human rights," he continued.

"This is particularly important in light of the Chinese government's recent crackdown on dissent, including the detention of many activists."

The senator said that he tested Baidu censorship for himself by using the search engine during a recent weeklong trip to China as part of a congressional delegation.

"I was disappointed, but not surprised, to see that Baidu heavily censors its search results," Durbin said in his letter.

He noted that Baidu benefited when essentially took itself out of the competition in China by defying censors.

Baidu's work won it a "China Internet Self Discipline Award" from that government, according to the senator.

Durbin said he was concerned that a social network developed by and Baidu might be used as a tool by Chinese officials to track or find people whose viewpoints clash with the government's agenda.

The senator told Li that he was working on legislation that would hold technology companies with stock traded in the United States liable for not taking "reasonable steps" to protect human rights.

Baidu is listed on the Nasdaq exchange.

Explore further: Google offers peek into Bhutan with Street View launch (Update)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China's Baidu search engine launches English blog

Jan 11, 2011

Chinese search engine giant Baidu has launched an English-language blog on the country's online culture, a company spokesman said Tuesday, as the firm looks to expand into overseas markets.

Baidu edges ahead in Chinese online market

Jan 19, 2011

Search engine Baidu further strengthened its dominance of the Chinese Internet market in the fourth quarter at the expense of US rival Google, a research firm said Wednesday.

Baidu shares soar as net profit sharply higher

Apr 28, 2010

Baidu shares soared past 700 dollars on Wednesday after the Chinese Web search giant more than doubled its net profit amid Google's conflict with the Chinese authorities.

Baidu deletes nearly 3 mn works in copyright flap

Mar 30, 2011

Chinese search engine giant Baidu said Wednesday it had deleted nearly three million works from its online library in a three-day blitz aimed at ending a copyright dispute with writers.

Recommended for you

Twitter looks to weave into more mobile apps

17 hours ago

Twitter on Wednesday set out to weave itself into mobile applications with a free "Fabric" platform to help developers build better programs and make more money.

Google unveils app for managing Gmail inboxes

18 hours ago

Google is introducing an application designed to make it easier for its Gmail users to find and manage important information that can often become buried in their inboxes.

Fighting cyber-crime one app at a time

Oct 22, 2014

This summer Victoria University of Wellington will be home to four Singaporean students researching cyber threats. The students have been working with Dr Ian Welch, a lecturer in Victoria's School of Engineering and Computer ...

User comments : 0