Tibetan Exiles Protest Google Censorship

Published February 15, 2006

| Associated Press

Scores of angry Tibetans on Tuesday protested Google's launch of a censored version of its search engine in China which adheres to that country's government restrictions on free speech.

The protesters assembled in the central square of Dharmsala, the northern Indian headquarters of the exiled Tibetan government, carrying placards reading "Google, Don't be Evil," and "Gulag, Censoring Search by Search."

The protesters also sent out 30,000 e-mails to people across the world urging them not to access Google on Tuesday.

Also, a popular Web site on Tibetan news and views run by exiled Tibetans in India shut itself down for one day, with the message: "We do not have any right to deny you our contents, but we commit this offense to help you realize a fact."

Google Inc. launched a search engine in China last month that censors material about human rights, Tibet and other topics sensitive to Beijing. Google defends the move as a trade-off granting Chinese greater access to other information.

"We have come to love Google ... Now we feel betrayed." said Tenzin Tsundue, general secretary of the Friends of Tibet, which organized Tuesday's protest along with the Students for a Free Tibet.

Searches on Google's Chinese site for such sensitive topics as the Dalai Lama often show omitted sites, or direct users to Chinese government Web sites.

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