Google’s reported plan to launch a censored version of its search engine in China has come under heavy criticism from a former Asia-Pacific head of the company’s free expression issues who called it a “stupid move”. “This is just a really bad idea, a stupid, stupid move. I feel compelled to speak out and say that this is not right,” The Intercept quoted Lokman Tsui as saying on Friday.
Tsui was Google’s head of free expression for Asia and the Pacific between 2011 and 2014. The news about Google’s plan to build a censored search engine broke last week.
Codenamed “Dragonfly”, the search platform would blacklist “sensitive queries” about topics including politics, free speech, democracy, human rights and peaceful protest, according to a previous report by The Intercept. “I can’t see a way to operate Google search in China without violating widely held international human rights standards,” the report quoted Tsui as saying.
Google is yet to officially confirm or deny the search engine project. Tsui said that if Google goes ahead with the censored search engine project, it would go against its publicly stated ethos.
The tech giant had launched a search engine in China in 2006, but pulled the service out of the country in 2010, citing Chinese government efforts to limit free speech and block websites.