TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: US Internet Companies Discuss Operations in China

US Internet Companies Discuss Operations in China

U.S. Newswire Press Release (
Tue, 14 Feb 2006 13:21:53 -0600

Rep. Smith (R-N.J.) Looks Forward to Honest Conversation with U.S.
Internet Companies on Operating Procedures in China

Contact: Brad Dayspring of the Office of Rep. Chris Smith, 202-225-3765

WHAT: "The Internet in China: A Tool for Suppression?"

WHO: Subcommittee on Global Human Rights, Africa and International Operations
Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Chairman

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 15, 10 a.m.

WHERE: 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES: The hearing will consist of three witness panels.

Panel I:

-- James Keith, State Department Senior Advisor for China and Mongolia

-- David Gross, deputy assistant secretary for International
Communications and Information Policy (Economic and Business
Affairs Bureau)

Panel II:

-- Mark Chandler, vice president and general counsel, Cisco Systems.

-- Jack Krumholtz, director, Govt. Affairs and Associate General
Counsel, Microsoft

-- Michael Callahan, general counsel, Yahoo

-- Elliot Schrage, vice president of Communications and Corporate
Affairs, Google

Panel III:

-- Lucie Morillon, head of the Internet Freedom Desk, Reporters
Without Borders

-- Harry Wu, publisher, China Information Center

-- Libby Liu, president, Radio Free Asia

-- Xiao Qiang, director, China Internet Project, University of
California, Berkeley

-- Sharon Hom, executive director, Human Rights in China


The hearing will be broadcast on the web live at:


Please contact the appropriate House Media Gallery for information:


Rep. Chris Smith -- chairman of the House panel that oversees Global
Human Rights -- is preparing questions for representatives of four
major US internet companies that operate in China, State Department
officials and representatives of human rights NGO's. The hearing will
mark the first time in the House of Representatives that live bloggers
will be permitted to report on the hearing in real time.

Earlier today, Secretary Condoleezza Rice announced a Global Internet
Freedom Task Force in order to ensure "a robust US foreign policy
response" to the international issues and fundamental human rights
concerns inherent in the expansion of the Internet including: "the use
of technology to restrict access to political content and the impact
of censorship efforts on US companies; the use of technology to track
and repress dissidents; and efforts to modify Internet governance
structures in order to restrict the free flow of information."

"The establishment of the Global Internet Freedom Task Force by Dr.
Rice is a welcomed step and is a provision already included in
legislation that I am currently drafting to address the issue of
internet freedom," said Smith. "I am looking forward to an honest and
straightforward dialogue about the operating processes and procedures
of internet companies in China, the demands put forth by this
communist regime and the continuing human rights abuses by the PRC."


For nearly 60 years, the People's Republic of China (PRC) has
succeeded in manipulating the flow of information and stifling
dissenting views. Constantly improving technology and the development
of the Internet has challenged the Chinese government's ability to
control news and information dissemination -- and more broadly, public
opinion. Despite the rapid advancement of the Internet, many forms of
expression online by individuals and the media remain significantly

According to the OpenNet Initiative, "Compared to similar efforts in
other states, China's filtering regime is pervasive, sophisticated, and
effective. It comprises multiple levels of legal regulation and technical
control. It involves numerous state agencies and thousands of public and
private personnel. It censors content transmitted through multiple methods,
including Web pages, Web logs, on-line discussion forums, university
bulletin board systems, and e-mail messages." The Congressional Research
Service notes that the "Chinese government employs increasingly
sophisticated methods to limit content online, including a combination of
legal regulation, surveillance, and punishment to promote self-censorship,
as well as technical controls."

Many pro-business and pro-democracy observers argue that the expansion
of the Internet and trade will result in increased freedom of expression and
political openness in China. Yet, despite recognizing that the ability to
communicate openly is essential to breaking down the walls of communism and
repression, several of the top U.S. Internet companies have aided and
complied with the Chinese Government's demand for censorship in order to
enter the PRC market, in essence becoming a megaphone for communist
propaganda and a tool for controlling public opinion.

For additional information about Representative Chris Smith and his
commitment to global human rights, please visit .

Copyrigtht 2006 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

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