A group of New York residents is suing Baidu, China’s largest online search engine, for alleged violation of the US constitution, putting a spotlight on China’s wide-ranging and ever stricter internet censorship regime.
In a suit filed in the US district court in Manhattan on Wednesday, the eight plaintiffs accuse Baidu of having violated their right of free speech by excluding their writings and videos about human rights and democracy in China from its search results. The filing lists the Chinese state as co-defendant.
Baidu “proactively censors its content here in the United States in co-operation with and according to [China’s] policies and regulations”, the filing said. It called the company an “agent and enforcer of the anti-democracy policies” of the Chinese government.
The plaintiffs have Chinese names, but it could not immediately be established whether they are US or Chinese citizens. It is unclear what legal consequences the case could have for Baidu, but it is certain to fuel debate in the US over how to promote freedom of speech on the web and rein in governments that seek to limit it.
美国国务卿希拉里•克林顿(Hillary Clinton)曾多次表示，促进网络言论自由是美国政府的一个重要政策目标。美国参议员理查德•德宾(Richard Durbin)本月致函百度，说他准备提出立法建议，让企业为触犯人权的行为承担责任。他表示，由于百度在美国上市，所以这项立法将对百度同样适用。
Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, has repeatedly said the promotion of free speech online is a key policy goal. Richard Durbin, a US senator, this month wrote in a letter to Baidu that he planned to propose legislation which would make companies liable for violations of human rights. Such legislation would cover Baidu, he said, because the company was listed in the US.
The Chinese government on Thursday dismissed the lawsuit, arguing that its management of the internet was in line with international practice and a sovereign act. “According to international law, foreign courts have no jurisdiction,” said Jiang Yu, a foreign ministry official.
Sources close to Baidu said it was a mystery how the plaintiffs intended to make US law apply, since Baidu had no operations in the US and the company listed on Nasdaq is a Cayman Islands-registered holding. A Baidu spokesman declined to comment.
In the past, China’s internet censorship policies have mainly hurt foreign companies. Google saw its share of the Chinese online search market melt to less than 20 per cent after it moved its mainland web search services to its Hong Kong site last year so it would no longer censor search results at Beijing’s behest. Baidu’s market share has since risen to more than 75 per cent.
In 2004 it emerged that Yahoo had released to Chinese authorities a Chinese journalist’s e-mails used to prosecute him.
Beijing requires all companies offering internet content services in China to censor that content. Chinese internet companies employ hundreds of staff to monitor and censor content
2011-05-25 10:59 编辑：典典
Robin Li beat Google and made his search engine No. 1 in China. Now he wants to go global, but it will take some work to get the world to trust Baidu 李彦宏打败了google，确保他的
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