Google, Microsoft Say No To Congress On China

    January 31, 2006

Three out of the four companies invited to tomorrow’s congressional briefing on American companies enforcing Chinese censorship have flat out refused to attend.

Google, Microsoft and Cisco have said they willnot be coming to the briefing, designed to spotlight the collusion between American companies and the Chinese government. Yahoo has not yet said wether it will attend.

While attendance at Wednesday’s briefing was not mandatory, companies could be compelled with subpoenas to attend a Feb. 15 hearing on the issue, said Rep. Chris Smith, Republican chairman of the House International Relations subcommittee on global human rights.

In an interview, Smith criticized U.S. Internet companies, saying they were helping China arrest and torture activists and screen information from its citizens.

“This is not benign or neutral,” the lawmaker said of companies acceding to China’s demands. “They have an obligation not to be promoting dictatorship.”

Sometimes we forget that even though this is the cost of doing business in China, these actions are contradictory to the Constitution of the United States of America and the ideals of democracy. Expect some impassioned speeches on the 15th.

Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

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