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China accuses Google of 'malicious' censorship

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The Chinese Communist Party's main newspaper is (apparently without a trace of irony) accusing Google of unfairly censoring its website for having reported on the search firm's book-scanning copyright dispute.

People's Daily said its online book section was blocked from Google searches via a malware warning for three days beginning last Wednesday. It insists the blockage was "malicious revenge" for the book section prominently featuring stories about how Google's rather dubious practice of scanning books without permission might violate the rights of Chinese authors.

Search results for People.com.cn's book channel read "This website may have malicious software, which might damage your computer," reports Global Times.

In response, the People's Daily website posted a news story on Monday quoting an unnamed person in charge of the channel claiming that "Google has maliciously blocked the channel in retaliation." It also claims the site's security technicians found nothing wrong with the site.

A Google spokeswoman responded by saying the accusation of censorship was "absolutely incorrect," telling the Associated Press the warning was generated by software automatically without any human intervention.

Google is usually on the receiving end of censorship controversies in China as the government pushes to remove "pornographic" links offered by the search engine.

Just one day after the government-owned newspaper cried foul over censorship, Chinese authorities boasted to have banned 1,414 works of "lewd" online literature for offenses such as using provocative titles to draw attention and blatantly talking about one-night stands. In the same statement, the administration said it would pen new laws and regulations on publishing literature online. ®

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