Lawmakers Grill Internet Firms over China

Members of the House International Relations Committee took turns raking representatives of Google, Yahoo, Cisco, and Microsoft over the coals regarding alleged complicity in Chinese human rights abuses and Internet censorship. “Your abhorrent activities in China are a disgrace,” said Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA). “I simply do not understand how your corporate leadership sleeps at night.”

U.S. Internet firms are caught between a rock and a hard place in regards to China’s Internet market, currently believed to be the second largest in the world with over 110 million Internet users.

On one hand, Internet companies cannot afford to ignore a market of China’s size. On the other hand, operating in China means conforming with Chinese law, which includes such actions as turning over user account information to Chinese authorities on request and censoring Internet content. Google Vice President Elliot Schrage said “The requirements of doing business in China include self-censorship