Report: Yahoo's Search Censorship 'Strictest' in China

Yahoo is the strictest search engine in China in terms of censorship reported an international free press advocacy group on Thursday.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said tests using 10 politically-sensitive keywords such as “press freedom,” “democracy,” “human rights”, and “6-4” (June 4 is the anniversary of Tiananmen Square) show that Yahoo.cn censored a higher percentage of results than Google.cn and msn.cn.

Moreover, the report said Yahoo.cn blocked access to the search engine for an hour and a half after a search using sensitive keywords. Google.cn and msn.cn do not block access but local search engine Baidu.cn does.

“Google.cn is censored, but it’s far less than what Yahoo does,” said Julien Pain, RSF Internet Freedom desk chief, according to Wired News.

In a news release on Thursday, Reporters Without Borders said, "While yahoo.cn censors results as strictly as baidu.cn, search engines google.cn and the beta version of msn.cn (beta.search.msn.com.cn) let through more information from sources that are not authorized by the authorities."

Furthermore, according to RSF, Yahoo.cn has a higher level of censorship than Baidu.cn in terms of number of Beijing-authorized sites returned to the search results.

"The press freedom organization is particularly shocked by the scale of censorship on yahoo.cn … because the search results on 'subversive' key words are 97 percent pro-Beijing," the group said. "It is therefore censoring more than its Chinese competitor Baidu."

“Yahoo has absolutely no respect for freedom of information,” Pain said.

Recently, Google Inc. has been under fire after the search engine's cooperation with Chinese censorship – which had already raised serious concerns among human rights and religious freedom groups for its repression of freedom of expression and its effects against minority faith groups. Google's latest censored version of its search engine in China, launched in January, added to the uproar that began over a year ago.

Earlier this month, Google co-founder Sergey Brin acknowledged that the Internet company had compromised its principles by accommodating Chinese censorship demands.

"We felt that perhaps we could compromise our principles but provide ultimately more information for the Chinese and be a more effective service and perhaps make more of a difference," Brin said, according to The Associated Press.

Following the Google co-founder’s remarks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao made a public statement, saying that China welcomes foreign Internet companies working in China, but that they must respect and abide by the country's laws, including those on expression.

"Any cooperation on economy and trade should be conducted with the framework of the law," Liu said, according to Voice of America. "We also hope relevant companies operating and developing business in China can abide by Chinese law."

Christian Post Reporter Joseph Alvarez in Washington contributed to this report.