Campaign Against Censorship in China

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The internet has been a tremendous benefit to people across the globe. It has provided a platform for millions of people to access information and communicate with each other. The internet has grown rapidly in China and many believe that China will eventually have the greatest number of internet users worldwide. Free and uncensored access to the internet would most definitely prove to be a positive force for openness and change in China.

However, the Chinese government desperately fears the power of the internet and doing everything in its power to regulate and control it. The Chinese government employs thousands bureaucrats whose sole purpose access to sensitive information.

Recently, the Chinese government has pressured a variety of Western multination companies to comply with their internet censorship regulations. These regulations range from blocking sensitive search terms such as "Tiananmen Square Massacre," "Freedom and Democracy," and "Taiwanese Independence," to the more sinister cooperating with authorities to imprison activists.

Students for Global Democracy recognizes that these corporations are profit making enterprises and must seek to benefit their shareholders interests. We also recognize that on a whole, these companies provide a tremendously important services to the Chinese people. But a specific series of guidelines needs to be established and followed in dealing with authoritarian governments.

Proposed Guidelines:

1. Users should be informed when they are being denied access to information.

Google's efforts to let Chinese consumers know when a term they searched is banned is a positive step.

2. Companies should in no way cooperate with authorities if it will lead to an activist/dissident being imprisoned and tortured.