Baidu and China sued over censorship

John Moe May 19, 2011

Eight democracy activists living in New York filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against both the Chinese search engine Baidu and the Chinese government. They claim that Baidu violates the U.S. constitution’s protection of free speech by heavily censoring search results when you search from the United States. China, the suit claims, is complicit in these censorship efforts. It’s no great secret that Baidu won’t return results about, say, the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 or that the Chinese government engages in massive censorship. But what if you use Baidu outside of China? Indeed, I just searched for Tiananmen Square on Baidu from here in St Paul and got flowery results of tourism announcements instead of the guy standing in front of a tank, which I get on Google. Will this suit result in a change of policy for Baidu or China? Of course not but it’s meant to draw attention.

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