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Stop pressurising expats, US warns China

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Washington: US diplomats have warned China to stop using covert law enforcement agents on US soil to pressure Chinese citizens into returning home to face justice, often on corruption charges, US officials said.

Placing a law enforcement official here without notifying American authorities is criminal, CNN quoted the officials as saying.

They acknowledged the US and China have a legal cooperation treaty but stressed that it requires Beijing to share evidence and work through the US legal system.

China responded on Monday through its state news agency, Xinhua, saying it was simply fighting corruption with a programme called Fox Hunt 2015.

“China’s operation is legitimate and has been approved in bilateral agreements reached earlier this year,” China said. ” ‘Fox Hunt 2015,’ which targets corrupt officials of government departments and state-owned enterprises, is an important effort of China to crack down (on) corruption.”

Xinhua said US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson promised to actively support China’s “Sky Net” and “Fox Hunt” operations, which aim to bring back corrupt officials.

China apparently issued its statement in response to stories in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal about the US warning.

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John Kirby

State Department spokesman John Kirby addressed the issue in general terms on Monday at a press briefing, saying it’s a criminal offence for “an individual other than a diplomatic or consular officer to act in the US as a law enforcement agent of a foreign power” without notifying the US attorney general.

(IANS)

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Sundar Pichai Clears Google’s China Centric Plans

Google had launched a search engine in China in 2006 but pulled the plug in 2010

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks during a news conference in New Delhi. VOA

 Google CEO Sundar Pichai has for the first time gone public about his company’s China-centric plans and has stressed on its need to re-enter the Asian nation that has the world’s largest population, a media report said.

Pichai was speaking on Monday at Wired Magazine’s 25th anniversary summit here in the US.

Since China is an important market, Google is developing a censored search-engine for Beijing codenamed “Dragonfly” that would filter content deemed sensitive by its ruling Communist Party regime.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif

“We wanted to learn what it would look like if Google were in China. It’s very early and we don’t know whether we would or could do this in China but we felt like it was important for us to explore, given how important the market is and how many users there are,” The Verge quoted Pichai as saying.

Information regarding Google’s “Dragonfly” project began surfacing in August and since then the company has faced severe backlash from its employees as well as the US government.

Google’s plan to launch the censored browser has come under heavy criticism from one of its former Asia-Pacific head of free expression who called it a “stupid move”.

In September, Google reportedly developed a prototype of “Dragonfly” that linked users’ search history to their personal phone numbers allowing security agencies to easily track users seeking out information banned by the government.

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Google’s plan to launch the censored browser has come under heavy criticism from one of its former Asia-Pacific head. VOA

Along with former Google Senior Scientist Jack Poulson, several other employees have resigned from the company citing lack of corporate transparency after it revealed its efforts about “Dragonfly”.

The company has been guarding the China-project details against the US Congress.

Appearing before members of the US Congress at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing in September end, Google’s Chief Privacy Officer, Keith Enright confirmed that the China search project does exist, but did not disclose much.

President Donald Trump’s administration has also asked Google to shun the “Dragonfly” project.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai. (Wikimedia Commons)

 

Though Pichai describes his company’s China plans as very preliminary, it is clear that backlash within and outside the company has been vocal and will only intensify in future, the report added.

Also Read: U.S. Government Warns People Against China-Linked Hacking Group

Google had launched a search engine in China in 2006 but pulled the plug in 2010, citing Chinese government efforts to limit free speech and block websites. (IANS)