Tibetans protest Google on Valentine's Day

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Tibetans convened on Tuesday in Dharmsala to protest Google's decision to launch a censored version of its search engine in China.

Demonstrators are protesting the censorship, which disables any searches linked to issues of Human Rights, Tibet, Taiwan's independence and the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Under China's censored version of the search engine, searches for these topics will produce omitted sites or direct users back to Chinese government websites.

Google had agreed to compromise with Beijing's censorship policies and limit specific searches in order to increase profits.

Teaming with Students for a Free Tibet in order organize a peaceful protest, demonstrators sent out 30,000 e-mails around the world, urging people to boycott Google this Valentine's Day. Tibetans also protested at the Googleplex after Google's announcement to censor their search engine for China.

A popular Tibetan news site run by exiled Tibetans shut itself down on Tuesday, leaving only the message: "We do not have any right to deny you our contents, but we commit this offense to help you realize a fact."

Many people are angry over what they argue is hypocrisy, citing Google's IPO filing:

"Don't be evil. We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served--as shareholders and in all other ways--by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains. This is an important aspect of our culture and is broadly shared within the company."