PublishedJanuary 13, 2010

CCIA Says Chinese Censorship Violates Trade Agreements

Chinese Internet users are expressing concern about Google’s announcement that it may shut down its website because of government censorship and recent cyber attacks. Such continued attacks and censorship are contrary to the fundamental operation of the Internet for many reasons, making this issue a concern to all Internet users.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association said Wednesday that there are multiple important issues relating to governmental Internet policy, surveillance and censorship, and they probably cannot all be resolved at once, but some can and should be addressed under existing international laws and agreements. China is not the only country to endanger an open and free Internet, though it has been the most aggressive and comprehensive in its approach.

CCIA expressed cautious optimism the Chinese government’s re-evaluation of its Green Dam Internet filtering project last July shows it does understand the consequences of pursuing censorship to the point of violating trade agreements. China announced in July that personal computers sold in its country would not be required to come with Internet filtering software.

CCIA said this current controversy should be an opportunity for the Chinese government to stop restricting search information.

The following statement can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“It is increasingly apparent that censorship is a barrier to trade, and that China cannot limit the free flow of information and still comply with its international trade obligations.

“The Chinese government has said it is gathering more information before deciding how to proceed and we would urge that they look at the issue holistically with government, economic and trade officials involved in the decision.”

 

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