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Report from U.S. Congress Briefing on Human Rights and the Internet and China

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The Congressional Human Rights Caucus held a briefing (not a formal hearing) on Wednesday about human rights issues and the Internet in China. The News.com article: Politicos attack tech firms over China, provides a look at what was said at the briefing.

"These massively successful high-tech companies, which couldn't bring themselves to send their representatives to this meeting today, should be ashamed," said Rep. Tom Lantos, the California Democrat who is co-chairman of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, which organized the briefing. With all their power and influence, wealth and high visibility, they neglected to commit to the kind of positive action that human rights activists in China take every day," Lantos went on. "They caved in to Beijing's demands for the sake of profits, or whatever else they choose to call it."

The full text of the opening statement by the Congressional Human Rights Caucus Chairman, Rep. Tom Lantos from California is available here. Lantos mentions Google, MS, and Yahoo by name in his comments. Look for more prepared statements by others at the briefing to be posted on this page soon.

Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo were all invited to appear before the caucus but did not send representatives. However, all three companies did provide statements to the Congressional Human Rights Caucus
that can be accessed in this blog post.

Today's "briefing" will be followed with a formal congressional hearing by the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Global Human Rights. The hearing is set for February 16.

See Also: Google and Microsoft turn up heat over China (via FT.com).


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