January 26th, 2010
06:14 AM GMT
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Beijing, China – A lot of strange stuff happens in China, especially when dealing with government departments.

In the ongoing Google versus China row, we contacted the China National Computer Network Emergency Response Team to speak with deputy operations chief Zhou Yonglin.

Zhou claimed during an interview with the state-run Xinhua news agency that China was the world’s largest target for hackers and he questioned Google’s claim that it had traced cyber attacks back to China.

The team sent us a two-page application form for our interview request with Zhou.

At the bottom of the first page is a column titled, “The Approval and Censorship of the Content Regarding the Interview,” in which it states the applicant and his/her media organization should promise that before the content of the interview regarding CNCERT is officially published, the to-be-published article or news should be censored and approved by CNCERT.

The articles or the news that haven’t been approved could not be published or released to a third party.

soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Elke, Germany

    Hi John!
    Nice article in China Daily yesterday: "China biggest victim of cyber attacks". I was really astonished. This callousness, on one hand to say China is open for whatever, on the other hand you hear from other sides, we are blocked, censored etc. Don´t the Chinese government realize, what a mark it leaves on China? Or is China´s faith in its own economy so big, that they think, the other nations will shrink back, because China is such a lucrative business place for them?
    Don´t get lost in all this censorship and approvals!

    January 26, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  2. Algernon Brown

    If Google bows to China's request for censorship, I for one, will switch to a new search engine, immediately.

    January 26, 2010 at 9:01 am |
  3. zoumin

    people first,support google.

    January 26, 2010 at 9:02 am |
  4. jeff meng

    People interview others have different purposes. There have been many ill-will interviews toward Chinese government. sometimes the interviewer purposely only takes a couple of comments from a whole interview to represent the whole picture and gives a biased impression to public. That is probably why the government wants to see the report before it is published.

    As a chinese, I really don't understand the whole purpose of this Google's complain.

    (1) After finding being hacked, Google should in angry. It should go to the chinese government to complain and ask the ogvernment to take actions to investigate the case. did Google do that? I didn't see it.

    (2) Why hint the public that the hacker was the Chinese government? USA always promote fair legal system in the society. why Google did in such as a way? Has it showed public any solid evidence?

    (3) Google's action has made a lot of Chinese customers angry. It is really bad for it. I think it is the time for it to quit Chinese market.

    (4) I liked Google before. It brought many items and information to China. Though there were some sort of issues with Chinese authors, actually most of chinese don't mind at all. Now I dislike Google.

    (5) Please don't bring Dalai Lama topic to china. It is not welcome. Tibet is definitely a part of China. Dalai Lama will be history soon. We don't like Muslim radicals as well. If the USA like them, pls keep them yourself. But don't complain if get attacked.

    January 26, 2010 at 11:24 am |
  5. jeff meng

    Oh, because the mailbox hacked belongs to some human right activists, so people think Google was correct to blame Chinese government. Come on.

    I 'm a chinese. I don't like those human right activists at all. I don't have any bad feeling if they are put in jail because I can't see any benefit to this country form their activites but harm.

    Maybe one of the core value of the USA is to ensure the right for people to have a big mouth. But in china, the utmost core value is its soveignty, development and stability. we don't need big mouth in China. we can't affort to have them here at present. They are not important.

    For Tiananmen in 1989, I can see it in CNN. People here don't want to bring it up because it is a topic that could split the country. Lots of people around the world want to see a split and troubled china. We have determined not to let those satisfied. Millions Chinese people died for their country. The best way to comfort the lost souls is to make the country stronger and stronger, better and better.

    January 26, 2010 at 11:52 am |
  6. Anderson Clayton

    Why do we have to put our noses on Chinas Internal matters? Shouldn’t we concentrate in America? Not to mention two wars of choice consuming our economy. Can we stop meddling somebody else’s internal affair once and for all?

    January 26, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  7. Rusty Freedom

    I have posted a simple question to our government several times on cnn.com about the China censorship issue. Every time, the question was marked "your comment is awaiting moderation". My posts never appeared, therefore all of my posts have been censored.

    The question I keep asking is a simple one, no threat, and no profanity. And I have not seen another comment posted which makes the point despite hundreds of posts across several articles.

    January 26, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  8. Alex bao

    That`s right... you are in China now
    nothing is impossible

    January 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  9. Jim Wilson

    I'm sure the journalist for CNN are aware that China is a communist state with a centrally planned economy that includes some capitalistic elements. I am not confident younger CNN readers have a similar depth of knowledge. Perhaps the actions of Chinese officials would be more understandable to CNN's younger viewers if adopted the Cold War practice of referring to mainland China as either Red China or Communist China.

    January 26, 2010 at 4:35 pm |
  10. Jim Wilson

    I'm glad that Jeff Meng made such a thoughtful series of comments. They underscore the differences between Communist Chinese values and those of the United States. Let this running dog of American imperialism share a further piece of ancient capitalistic wisdom with the Chinese readers of this discussion: If a man owes a bank a thousand dollars, the bank owns him. If a man owes a bank a million dollars, he owns the bank. You guys keep hacking our Internet and the interest payment for all the money you lent us might get lost in the mail .

    January 27, 2010 at 4:32 am |
  11. chinese people

    I support the decision china government made whether google is going to escape from our land or not .haha .

    January 27, 2010 at 6:17 am |
  12. xh cheng

    I am proud of being Chinese, I SUPPORT our country's position. every corp now matter it is from overseas or mainland, the laws of china must be complied with.

    January 27, 2010 at 2:49 pm |
  13. Joe

    Look....Just let China do every dumb, backward, stupid thing they can possibly think of. Let them kill/quell their own people to hearts content. So long as they run this kind of third world country we have nothing to worry about. The civilized world does not need any more competition. Why are some of us so eager to bring them into the 21st century, aren't we having a hard enough time without another 1.3 billion people to compete with?

    January 27, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  14. tvnewswatch

    I sincerely hope Google follow through and do not compromise. While Chinese authorities claim the Internet is "open" in China it is far from the truth. I shall be leaving China and wrap up my business in the PRC in the coming months. Others may well do the same as it becomes all the more clear that doing business in China is not equitable. Countless western websites are blocked including many Google services. Yet copyright infringing sites like Tudou and Youku are allowed to thrive. While it may be argued that some western sites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook may spread dissent this is not the case with sites like IMBb [International Movie Data base]. How are Google spreadsheets, Google Health amongst others, which are also blocked, a threat to the PRC? It is simply petty reactions by the CCP. Bill Gates recent comments on ABC will simply earn him the label of being a China stooge. He will not make any friends lambasting Google, especially given his browser has more security holes than a piece of Swiss Emmental. Google, like any company, may not be perfect, but it about time someone said something about the overzealous censorship and out-of-control hacking and malware that comes out of China. Yes, the US may well be laying out plans for a so-called cyberwar, as the China Daily and Xinhua alludes. But where are China's reports and publicly available statistics on these matters. Every year the defense dept and the USCC publish data on the subject. China publishes nothing until an Internet search company pushes it into a corner forcing it to claim that 42,000 websites were hacked in 2008. What sites? There is no more detail than the number. In the same article China says it was victim of the Conicker virus. It is all the more ironic that this virus probably, according to several independent reports, originated in China. No-one likes criticism, but China must learn to take the rough with the smooth if it wants to become part of a global community. It like other must play by the same rules most others play.

    January 27, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  15. dfj

    Americans always want things go their way. But different countries have different rules. Either follow the rule there, or get lost.

    I think Google's business suffers a lot in China. Now it's time for them to find a nice excuse to pull out.

    PS. What a ridiculous political drama? Nice try, Google and Clinton.

    January 27, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  16. mark0438

    This is another case that CNN is misleading its readers.
    The clause in that interview application form requires informed consent, not accpetance of censorship. It basically means if CNN wants quote the interviewee, it should let him check if he is quoted correctly.
    Sometimes it is very frustrating to deal with the media (Chinese or Western). What you said often get distorted, or quoted out of context. Therefore, I understand that government officials want to be cautious.

    January 28, 2010 at 4:43 am |
  17. Peter Lee

    Will you sign an agreement without reading it? I don't understand how this is a censorship. When I worked with a Western (European) government, it was the same rule. Let me read that before you publish it. It is actually good for the media too, as they won't be sued due to misunderstanding! Haha.

    January 28, 2010 at 5:51 am |
  18. mark

    if Google leaved China, I will respect it. if Google just played a maneuver and stayed in China, I will despite it. and i believe that the Google will finally stay in china after so many tactic move.

    January 28, 2010 at 10:40 am |
  19. gdslove

    I am a chinese,I hate the government action .sometime I feel I am in t a black house ,I can not see any thing and know the news about the world , Chinese have not human right .we are not human ,we are tools !!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
  20. John Li

    There is a confusion of the issue. Today, if you type
    "meiyou" (in Chinese means "no", or "does not have" a common word)
    in Google, the first item is "Funny, Baidu has no penis"-in Chinese-try yourself.
    Shortly Google announced that it would leave China, Google added
    a key word: "The Chinese ARE eating babies". If a news item about
    Middle-East emerges, on Google, you would not see the news from, say
    Iranian New Agent first.
    It is true, "Tiananmen" would lead you in Google to see immediately a tank if you are in US, in China, you probably see
    the smiling faces in the square. These are all called censorship, or information control.
    Many of us just feel comfortable with certain familiar control. Iranian News Agent is evil, perhaps. But Google would be happy to decide that for you. Tank appeared in the Tiananmen square once or two in the last 25 years,
    but you are supposed to see that tank first, even though you may not take any political point of view
    at that particular search. Baidu is the chief rival of Google in China, so you should know
    from the word "no"-first about Baidu's penis. Apparently Google has no trouble
    to excise its control of information, the sad thing is that many of us does not know.
    "Do no evil"- Ya.

    January 28, 2010 at 4:32 pm |
  21. zhuodc

    google in china censorship everymonth.
    i can visit google.cn like a month ago.
    i think google won't leave china.

    January 28, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
  22. dfj


    US owes China a hell lot of money. In other words, we owns you and your country. The third world owns the first world. You got it ?

    January 28, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
  23. Lim Boon Chuan

    I feel that Google should stay in China, there will contribute far more to the democracy of China IN China than OUT of it.

    January 29, 2010 at 2:37 am |
  24. Alok

    Why nobody complain wiretapping in USA after 9.11? Please shut up and take care your own things. If Google wants to quit. Please please take action now. Chinese people have more other choices and I do believe others American companys want to be the candidator of it.

    January 29, 2010 at 3:07 am |
  25. L Hong

    Hi John, laughed about this article piece from a senior CNN position person, being a senior, you should have learnt more than what your story told this time about China policies! Please learn their policies before you do an interview in the countries outside USA, if other wise you wont be able to condut any works other than writing articles like this.

    January 29, 2010 at 3:50 am |
  26. The Pacific

    Certain degree of censorship might occur in any countries. The question is whether one get punished or killed for what they say either publicly or privately or whether citizens of China deserve what freedom of press offers. I do Chinese citizens and citizens of the world deserve it. Chinese citizens deserve the right to know what sort of people are governing them.
    Chinese citizens have endured the most oppressive regime ever after thousand years of monarchy. Americans, especially American capitalists, need to realize who you are dealing with. You are dealing with the god-father of North Korea. If you the capitalists allow your conscience to diminish in the name of short term interest, don't you then make us fight for you IN THE NAME OF DEMOCRACY, freedom or whatever you use conveniently. In that sense, you are no better that those fanatics urge their followers to kill in the name of god(s). Freedom is then a matter of convenience, not worth fighting for. Why should we the people die for it while the you the powerful few would care less to keep?

    Now if I am Google, I won't leave China. I will not quit on what democracy/ freedom stand for. I will stay and keep my protest against censorship public until I am forced by Chinese government to leave. If the China choose to do so, I make sure the world know of it that here I am Google, not a quitter.
    The last thing a mob like to do is to see Google making the whole world know of its wrong doings with multi-dimension search engine of the word "china censorship".

    February 1, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
  27. b-real

    They will more than likely do that . CNN has to above twisting recorded interviews. In or out of Context they didnt take the ball when they had the chance to speak on their behalf. We just want some answers and theey dodge like lawyers do when they dont want you to admit guilt. Not saying anything is another form admission.

    Google wants justice for unequality of the internet. Watch chinese news and see what they about google and how google operates. But all the other Chinese browsers perform the same way. You can find the same material on Baidu that you can find on Google.

    China doesn't play fair on all playing fields. I hope google pulls out.

    February 2, 2010 at 3:01 am |
  28. Missing youtube

    As a sober Chinese, I remain neutral in this war.
    Many people in my country , in a sense, are skeptical on the censorship, looking forward to a new Internet management system which is more free. Consequently, majority of Internet users, especially young people were sympathetic to google at the beginning. However, treacherous politicians from both sides(Chinese and Western) used this incident to the Chinese political attacks, and some media , just like CNN and Xinhua, distorted and exaggerated coverage of it, mislead readers all over the world. As a result , Google is becoming an emermy of Chinese people, and besides, Western people are criticizing and even reviling Chinese goverment thinking they are fighting for the freedom of all mankind.
    Not willing to be fooled by the political and economic tricks behind, I choose a wait-and-see attitude now.

    February 2, 2010 at 7:01 am |
  29. Gary

    It is a pity that the 13 billion people in China are unable to access to most of the foreign websites , also their internal websites were filtered and monitored by those Internet police which are sponsored by the Chinese government and army, these firewalls is the real gap between the Chinese and domestic countries ,

    February 2, 2010 at 10:00 pm |
  30. Double standard

    Chinese companies operate outside of the law in the US all the time, and now China is after google? PRC should tread carefully from here on.

    February 4, 2010 at 6:20 am |
  31. Peter Lee

    It is scary that Google has been providing the National Security Agency, a key US government spy organization, the worldwide information they collect through internet under their so-called "research and development" agreement with the NSA. It make you wonder whether there is any real civil liberty and privacy through using GMAIL, Cloud Computing, etc.

    February 5, 2010 at 3:32 am |
  32. bobmer

    That is 60 years Chinese communist mentality. Don't expect them to change anytime soon. These people will never admit they made a mistake under Mao Tse Tung; that two generations of Chinese suffered under his rule until Deng Zao Ping pushed for reforms. Up to now the party controls and still regards Mao as a 'hero' after countless innocent people died under his rule.

    Yet Google and whoever else expect these people to change their mentality? Get real. Allow them to suffer more as the communist shift from the extreme left to the extreme right..

    February 5, 2010 at 9:44 am |
  33. mystery

    China is the most stupidest country in the world

    February 5, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  34. mystery

    google doesnt need china its china that needs google

    February 5, 2010 at 12:35 pm |
  35. DrBen

    The Chinese responses here are interesting but kinda Lame. I do not understand why they accept the idea that their Government should be the entity to rule heir lives and filter information. All of them should read the Book 1984 by George Orwell. Not that I have ever seen this book on a shelf within the PRC. Surely not. The Government wouldn't allow it just like it wont allow Google (or my Company).
    A recap for them: 1) we dont care about the piracy, 2) even if we cant prove the PRC did it -> no one else attacks the Dalai Lama & activists, so its likely the PRC, 3) any form of censorship is unacceptable and 100% in conflict with our core values, 4) Dalai Lama, Xinjiang, Google – its all the same story. You cant ignore these issues and hope they will go away. Even if they do, it could be your loss not to have copied them or investigated the new idea.

    February 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm |
  36. Lucas

    Hi John.

    No matter what China government says, both you and google must obey the laws and codes in China.

    I do not know much about hackers and attcks. But before google came to China, he must have known the exsistence of censorship. If he refused to observe it, he would have no rights to set up one offices in China.

    My question is, why google protest for this issue now? why google did not use other channels such as send proposals to people repsentatives' meetings?

    As to attackes, hackers happened evrey day. Google must be strong enough to protect itself. Why google are so sensitive this time? Google can protest through other channels as well.

    Once, I was one of fans of google, but now I will never be now.

    If google do not want to obey China codes and laws, whatever it is, please leave China.

    The comments above represents my personal view only.

    February 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
  37. Peter Lee

    For those who think the Chinese government is the only country who monitors internet traffic, please do your research. In all Western countries including U.S.A., there are laws where the government has been monitoring and, to certain extent, censoring internet contents. If you don't believe it, just read this CNN link:


    If you let free all internet contents, it is just like a society without law. No country can afford such type of freedom. What Google claims is just a fantasy.

    February 9, 2010 at 12:40 am |
  38. Aoi Sora

    china is not going anywhere with its cheating ways. They copy everything, no originality. When u send a chinese company to manufature your goods, they do so, but also manufature their own.

    February 9, 2010 at 4:18 am |
  39. Aoi Sora

    I blame all the other world leaders for allowing to china have its way in anything it wants. One cant do business there without allowing them bend the rules to fit their purposes. I would invest in the Phillippines instead of china which is the headquarters of fake goods. Fake, fake, fake. After the USA has liberated china and shown the chinese people the benefits of capitalism (just like it liberated the former ussr) they now feel like they belong. Newsflash! you are still a hundred years behind. They say they are a communist country yet they reap and enjoy the benefits of capitalism. Give me a break.

    February 9, 2010 at 4:24 am |
  40. Tom Perer

    The chinese who have the courage to freely speak out against govt injustice are the most courageous. The rest are just scared to death. China is a society of fear. when is comes to government issues. Google is just a toll for a society of hope and free speech. The issue is free speech and freedom. The chinese people have always been great working people but their government will not hesitate to jail anyone who is speaking freely against injustice. Now Chinese work like machinee thinking they got prosperity. sadly many are brainwashed to believe China is a great nation under the communists. It is not because of the goverment. . China is a great nation because of chinese people. To believe communism system will succeed, that will be a sad ending. Tyranny always loses in the end. To the Chnese, they are good hardworking people but those who think they can take on the United States and Europe which are free democratic societies, will be a gross miscalculation. Let the people in China experience freedom of information. That is what Google is all about.. F.R.E.E.D.O.M

    February 12, 2010 at 7:01 am |
  41. Jason Wang

    Google is begging to stay in China. China should kick Google out.

    February 15, 2010 at 11:22 pm |
  42. Bin

    Bacause of the google hulabaloo, I checked baidu.com and to my surprise I honestly think it's better than google. I have since then switched to baidu. Thanks a million google! and....uh....goodbye!

    February 16, 2010 at 3:34 am |
  43. Chinese

    People shall have the rights know the truth, even if it means they may receive fake or misleading information.

    Why would the government thoughts they are smarter and have the rights to decide what to allow the great Chinese people to read and write?

    There are so many stupid authority decisions and corruption all over China, yet the government think they are better... I would say, let people take the lead, for a better China!

    March 5, 2010 at 6:35 am |
  44. Bill

    Don't you think that it is the time for us to mind our internal problems, not bother China's business.

    March 13, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  45. Bill

    Look at the policy from CNN when we accuse of China's sensorship:

    Comments are moderated by CNN, in accordance with the CNN Comment Policy, and may not appear on this blog until they have been reviewed and deemed appropriate for posting. Also, due to the volume of comments we receive, not all comments will be posted.

    March 13, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  46. Real Chinese

    It is a sham to be a chinese,Hate the bloody CCP

    March 14, 2010 at 3:01 am |
  47. Bill

    I completely agree with Bin. I switched to Baidu. It is better than Google.

    March 14, 2010 at 3:42 am |
  48. JLC

    I am a Malaysian and are in China for the last 10 years and would like to share my experience. Citizen here whom I know are great and tremendously friendly and treat me like their own family member and during numerous time I have been invited to their year end family reunion dinner (spring festival). Even the government official are great too always providing a helping hand when I face a problem. So don't mislead by certain media unfairly coverage . The main reason Google pull out of China is from my point of view are they can't compete with local search engine like Baidu thus there's all kind of excuse. US always criticize another countries humans right abuse but what happen to their own African Americans facts tell it all no need for me to elaborate.

    April 4, 2010 at 4:38 am |
  49. jlc

    I have post a comment and criticize the American's standard and do you know what happen CNN dare not shown my message lol talk about censorship and freedom what a shame on the double standard.

    April 5, 2010 at 3:40 am |
  50. estética

    Generally I don't learn article on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very compelled me to check out and do it! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, quite great article.

    July 18, 2012 at 7:53 am |
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    August 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm |

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