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Australia Must Follow Google's Lead On China

Media Release
Sarah Hanson-Young 13 Jan 2010

Google's public warning that it is considering pulling out of China because of cyber-attacks on human rights activists has shown the lead to governments and countries around the world, according to the Australian Greens.

Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Greens spokesperson on Human Rights, says reports that China has tried to breach the internet giant's database to access activists' details emphasise how serious the threat to human rights remains.

"Google must be commended for standing up today and sending such a strong message - not just to the Chinese Government, but to the rest of the world,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.
"China is clearly involved in ongoing efforts to stifle freedom of speech and maximise censorship within its borders.

"This statement that has been made so publicly by Google has meant that governments around the world as well as other companies can no longer keep turning a blind eye to what's going on in China.''

The Australian Government and Australian companies should take note of Google's decision to publicise attacks which affect the lives of human rights activists and the people they defend - the everyday people of China.

"It's time that the Australian Government acted to ensure we play our role in trying to tackle the human rights violations that are going on in China - and Australian companies that have a vested interest in China also need to look at the leadership shown by Google,'' Senator Hanson-Young said.

"It's not appropriate to do business with people who are human rights violators, and we should use every lever we can to help stop such violations.''

The Greens have long called for Australian leaders to take a tougher stand against human rights violations and to recognise the efforts of those standing up against oppression in China.

"The example that Google has set today is that if companies can challenge the Chinese leadership, so can governments.''

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