US to issue demarche to China on Google

The Internet search engine has alleged Chinese attempts to “limit free speech on the web”, and threatened to stop cooperating with Chinese Internet censorship and consider shutting down its operations in China. “We need to hear now from the Chinese,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

“We are anxious to hear from them. I think Google will keep us apprised on their next steps as it relates to China as well,” he said. “We will be issuing a formal demarche to the Chinese government in Beijing on this issue in the coming days, probably early next week,” assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P J Crowley said.

“It will express our concern for this incident and request information from China as to an explanation of how it happened and what they plan to do about it,” Crowley said. The State Department official said the US will continue to talk to China on this issue.

Meanwhile several US lawmakers came out in support of Google. Howard Berman, Chairman of the powerful House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said his committee is considering the matter of Internet freedom. “We have sought information from US companies, many of which are based in this area of California, on the Global Network Initiative, which advocates that companies adopt corporate responsibility guidelines and collaborate with human rights NGOs to push back on Internet-repressive regimes’ demands,” Berman said in a statement.
“We sought this information at the end of last year and are currently evaluating their responses. We will continue to be engaged in the issue,” he said.

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