A former Chinese university professor plans to sue Yahoo! and Google in the United States for blocking his name from search results in China.
Guo Quan, became the chairman of the underground New People’s Party in opposition to the ruling Communist Party and last week issued a letter vowing to bring a lawsuit against Google after he discovered that his name had been removed from searches on Google.cn.
He also found that the Chinese Yahoo! had also blocked his name. “Since January 1, a lot of friends told me that websites with my name had been closed. They told me it’s impossible to search for my information on Google and Yahoo!” Mr Guo said. So he now plans to bring actions against both companies.
This is not the first time there has been censorship of foreign internet portals operating in China. Google came under criticism when it became known that its Chinese search had been configured to filter out words that are banned in China, such as Tibet, Independence, Dalai Lama and Democracy.
However, Google defends their actions, saying that they are acting in accordance with Chinese law. The country’s carefully patrolled internet firewall slows, blocks or disrupts users trying to access uncensored foreign websites.
Guo said that he couldn’t sue Google or Yahoo! in China because they have no formal legal identity, but he would try his lawsuits in the United States against the parent companies. Mr Guo believes that “they have violated my political rights. I am opposed to violence and dictatorship but these sites have blocked me.”
It will be interesting if this lawsuit is successful and if so it may well become a precedent for future action by others who feels as though they have been ‘blocked out’ of search engine results. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below.