Google's decision to allow censorship of its search-engine results in China was chided by human-rights groups Wednesday and defended by company officials.
The Internet giant said allowing even limited information on its google.cn site was preferable to pulling out of China altogether and leaving millions of Chinese users without the ability to Google at all.
"While removing search results is inconsistent with Google's mission, providing no information or a heavily degraded user experience that amounts to no information is more inconsistent with our mission," the company said in a recent statement.
Critics, however, bemoaned the lid being kept on access to information on matters where Beijing doesn't come off so well, such as Tibet and the pressure put on the Fulan Gong movement. Google was generally characterized as getting too cozy with the government for the sake of access to the burgeoning Chinese market.
"Unfortunately, it is the trend nowadays for Western companies to sell out to Chinese commercial interests," Denis Wong, spokesman for the British monitoring group Min Quan, told the British Broadcasting Corp.
Copyright 2006 by United Press International
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