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Appendix X: Letter from Human Rights Watch to Google

(While Human Rights Watch and Google have had private discussions, Google did not reply formally to this letter)

July 5, 2006

Eric Schmidt, CEO Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

Fax: +1 650 253 0001

Re: China

Dear Mr. Schmidt,

I am writing to request your help with research that Human Rights Watch is conducting on the role of international companies in the Internet in China. This report will include a discussion of the role of Google in China. It is our goal to present a thorough and objective report. To that end, we are soliciting information and views from your company.

We would appreciate any comments you may have about Google’s role in China. Specifically, we would appreciate responses to the following questions. This will greatly assist our understanding of Google and the environment in which it works.

1. Can Google elaborate on its human rights policies and procedures? In what way have these been adapted to China?

2. Does the company raise objections to censorship directly with Chinese or other government authorities?

3. How does the company decide what words or terms to censor and restrict from and Can the company contest such requests through the legal or judicial process in China? If so, how does the company do this and has it ever challenged a request?

4. Please provide your full and current list of blocked words, phrases, and URL’s from both and

5. Does Google make public words or terms that are prohibited on If not, would you be willing to do so, including by placing them in a prominent position on your websites?

6. Would Google be willing to provide links to a third-party site such as Chilling Effects to provide more information to the user about why search results were removed?

7. We appreciate that Google is not hosting Gmail and in China. Under what conditions, if any, would the company do so?

8. Has the company been asked to sign on to the pledge for self-discipline?

9. Has your company been pressured by Chinese authorities to block or remove additional content on beyond what already blocks or removes from search results? Has it been subjected to pressure or direct requests since that date? If so, what has been your company’s response?

10. There have been reports by Chinese bloggers that Google is moving the hosting of onto servers inside China. Can you confirm whether this is the case, and if so what measures is Google taking to protect user privacy in the event that the Chinese government requests data such as user search results?

11. Does Google support an industry code of conduct, and if so, can you elaborate on what principles you think it should contain?

12. What is the company’s position on U.S. or other government anti-censorship regulation generally, and the Smith bill in particular?

Because we are under deadline, we would appreciate a response by July 14. If we do not receive a reply by then, I am afraid we may be unable to include information you provide in the published report.

Thank you very much for your consideration of our request and I look forward to remaining in contact with you.


Brad Adams

Executive Director
Asia Division

Cc: Elliot Schrage, Vice President, Global Communications and Public Affairs
Andrew McLaughlin, Senior Policy Counsel (via email to
Sergey Brin & Larry Page, co-founders
Rishi Jaitly, Policy Analyst (via email to

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