BEIJING: China’s government accused Google Inc. on Thursday of spreading pornography after Chinese internet users were temporarily unable to gain access to the US search giant’s main website or China-based service.
“We have found that the English version of google.com has spread lots of pornographic, lewd and vulgar content, which is in serious violation of Chinese laws and regulations,” said foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang. He said authorities “summoned representatives of Google.com in China and urged them to remove the content immediately.”
Qin, speaking at a regular briefing, did not respond to questions about whether China’s government was blocking web users from seeing Google’s site. However, he said he hoped the problem can be “resolved immediately.”
Google said Thursday it was investigating the reason for the outage, which began late Wednesday. Chinese users were blocked from seeing Google’s US site, its China-based site google.cn and its Gmail e-mail service.
A Chinese watchdog agency accused Google last week of providing links to vulgar and obscene sites. Google, based in Mountainview, California, said it would do more to stop users in China from accessing pornography.
“I would like to stress that Google.com, as an Internet enterprise providing services in China, should earnestly abide by all Chinese laws,” Qin said. “All the punitive measures adopted by the relevant authorities are conducted strictly according to law.”
The Chinese agency that oversees the Internet, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
China has the world’s largest population of internet users at more than 298 million. The communist government has the world’s most extensive Web monitoring and filtering system, and it regularly blocks access to foreign Web sites.
Authorities launched a crackdown this year that led to the closing of more than 1,900 porn-related Web sites.
Google has struggled to expand in China, where it says it has about 30 percent of the search market. The company launched Google.cn with a Chinese partner after seeing its market share erode as government filters slowed access to its US service.