China says it has taken
unspecified punitive actions against the Google search engine, which it accuses
of violating Chinese law by spreading pornography. The official comments come as
computer users in China experience intermittent difficulty accessing Google.
China has recently stepped up its criticism of the world's biggest
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang was asked
Thursday about recent difficulties computer users in China have had accessing
Google and its related sites.
He says the Chinese government is carrying
out its duty to protect young people from online pornography.
Chinese authorities have found that Google is spreading "pornographic, lewd and
vulgar content," in violation of China's laws and regulations.
Chinese authorities have summoned the company's representatives and urged them
to immediately remove the objectionable content.
Qin urged Google to
abide by Chinese laws and regulations and said Chinese authorities have taken
"punitive measures," although he gave no details. He also gave no specific
examples of Google's alleged lewd content.
Access to Google in Beijing
was temporarily interrupted Wednesday. As of Thursday afternoon, Google access
for computer users at some of Beijing's universities was still
Google recently issued a statement saying it would step up
efforts to stop pornography from reaching users in China. A Google spokeswoman
is quoted by media Thursday as saying the California-based company is now
looking into reports that users in China cannot access Google.
latest comments come days before a Chinese-government set deadline for all
computers sold in China to come packaged with Internet filtering software, known
as "Green Dam."
Wednesday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S.
Trade Representative Ron Kirk wrote a letter to Chinese officials, raising
concerns that Beijing's order may violate free-trade commitments.
asked about the latest American concerns that Green Dam could become a trade
issue, the Chinese spokesman said he had nothing to add to earlier comments that
the software is necessary to stop online pornography.