Chairs Ask Google to Restore Censored Hong Kong Protest Anthem

June 5, 2024

(Washington)—U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), the Chair and Cochair, respectively, of the bipartisan and bicameral Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) released a letter today to Google CEO Sundar Pinchai and YouTube CEO Neal Mohan urging them to restore the protest song “Glory to Hong Kong” on the YouTube platform for users in Hong Kong. The Chairs also called on Google to disclose any plans to appeal the Hong Kong court’s injunction because the ruling violates international human rights principles that the companies promised to uphold.  

The letter states that because “the injunction does not…impose a blanket ban” and allows for the use of the protest anthem for activities including academic and journalistic work, Google and YouTube blocking access to 32 videos listed in the Hong Kong court’s injunction appears to exceed what is required, depriving scholars, journalists and others of the ability to conduct “lawful” activities.   

The Chairs also urges the CEOs to “limit the negative impact” on the free flow of news and information in Hong Kong and ensure that public transparency reports “robustly document and publish all demands made by the [People's Republic of China] or Hong Kong governments to take down online content in Hong Kong as well as any content taken down by your company’s own initiative, based on an interpretation of legal requirements.”

The full letter can be accessed here.