Google admits omitting Chinese news links

Google News China has been accused of censorship, but the company maintains there's little value in linking to sites which the government has rendered inaccesible
Written by Ingrid Marson, Contributor
Internet search engine Google has been accused of censoring the Chinese news service that it launched two weeks ago.

Web hosting company Dynamic Internet Technology (DIT) reported that Google's Chinese news returned different results depending on whether the search was conducted in China or the US.

Searches done from a proxy in China, to simulate searching from inside China, did not contain news from sites which are banned by the Chinese government, such as The Epoch Times. This is demonstrated on the DIT Web site by various screenshots.

According to the English version of The Epoch Times Web site, it publishes content that is banned by the Chinese Communist Party and deemed "too sensitive" by most Chinese-language news organisations outside of China. Topics discussed include the AIDS epidemic in China, alleged corruption in the Chinese government, the occupation of Tibet and alleged human rights abuses.

A spokeswoman for Google said to ZDNet UK on Friday that its goal is to provide the best possible search experience and it therefore omits results from sites which don't display properly or whose content is inaccessible to users. As the Chinese government denies access to certain sites, users would not be able to follow the link.

"If the link doesn't go anywhere, then this is infuriating for the user," said the spokeswoman.

She pointed that Google News China allows users to search over 1,000 news sites around the world, including sites in the US, France and Singapore.

Google News UK uses around 4,500 news sources, according to the Google Web site.

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