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Chris Tang Ping-keung, security chief of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said the local government has asked search engine Google to pin the correct Chinese national anthem in the list thrown up in response to a query. This comes after wrong songs were played at international events in the presence of Hong Kong players.
At the Asian Classic Powerlifting Championship 2022 in Dubai, where Hong Kong athlete Susanna Lin won gold, a song widely sung by “pro-independence” forces in Hong Kong, was played. Lin made a T-sign. The song had played for 16 seconds before it was replaced with the correct Chinese national anthem.
A search for “Hong Kong” and “Chinese national anthem” on Google often throws up the wrong song, possibly uploaded intentionally by some secessionists. That’s why the Hong Kong government requested the action of Google on Monday, but Google responded saying it had no control over its search results.
Contrary to the claim, one can pay to push one’s desired results on top; most companies are doing it with their advertisements. On Dec 8, the European Court of Justice ruled that Google and other search engines must “dereference information” if the person making the request can demonstrate that the material is “manifestly inaccurate”. Google complied. So this double standard when it comes to China reeks of an ideological bias by certain Western companies. They seem to have a soft spot for the secessionists harming China, without any concern that such deeds hurt the legitimate interests of China.
By refusing to filter out information that is harmful to China, they are dragging third parties such as international players into the quarrel. The players do not mean to challenge China’s sovereignty, but with search engines failing in their duty, they risk falling into the trap. Since 2000, Google had “Don’t be evil” as its motto, which it dropped in 2018. Time it dropped its double standard.