TIBETAN, UYGHUR AND CHINESE ACTIVISTS UNITE WITH DIGITAL TECH EXPERTS TO TELL GOOGLE: "RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS, DON’T DO CHINA’S DIRTY WORK"

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December 07, 2018

CANCEL ’PROJECT DRAGONFLY’, THE CENSORED CHINA SEARCH ENGINE

[London and New York] On Monday 10 December 2018, the 70th International Human Rights Day, Tibetan, Uyghur and Chinese rights groups will join digital tech and ethical consumer specialists in two joint media briefings to oppose and discuss Google’s development of a censored search engine, code-named Project Dragonfly. In order to develop this controversial search engine for the Chinese market, Google must comply with China’s tight censorship laws and intrusive programme of online surveillance, effectively facilitating the Chinese government’s repressive regime and compromising their commitment to human rights. Senior research scientist, and former Google employee, Jack Poulson, will join the panel of rights activists and discuss the reasons behind his decision to resign from the company in August 2018 after he raised ethical concerns about this project.

WHO: Tibetan, Uyghur and Chinese rights activists and groups together with human rights advocates, digital tech and ethical consumer specialists, including senior research scientist, and former Google employee, Jack Poulson.

WHAT: Online media briefings on the human rights implications of Google’s Project Dragonfly

WHEN: Monday, 10 December 2018:
1. Starting at 18:00 CCT / 10:00 GMT /

2. Starting at 11:00 EST / 08:00 PCT / 16:00  GMT

WHERE: Both briefings will be held via Zoom and participating journalists and individuals can register to join via the following links:
1. Hosted from London; Start time 10:00 AM GMT - https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_aCx2ZBDuTfeExOAPkc4Clg

2. Hosted from New York; Start time 11:00 AM EST

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_bSIqxmqVQoyN_HXCyG5Uug

WHY: Google is developing a censored search engine for the Chinese market that has serious consequences for human rights. The project, named Dragonfly,  will filter and block  ‘sensitive’ search terms - such as Tibet, Tiananmen and the Dalai Lama - that are blacklisted by the Chinese government. It will also enable state surveillance by linking users’ search history with their telephone numbers. If allowed to go ahead, this project would not only limit human rights in China, East Turkestan and occupied Tibet, but will set a dangerous precedent for the future of internet freedoms globally.

The media briefings coincide with the launch of a joint global campaign led by Free Tibet, Students for a Free Tibet, SumOfUs, Tibet Action Institute and Tibet Society UK and facilitated by International Tibet Network.

SPEAKERS: Note: Additional speakers are being confirmed and will be announced shortly.

18:00 CCT / 10:00 AM GMT

11:00 AM EST / 8:00 AM PCT

Dechen Pemba (Tibetan activist and blogger)

Jack Poulson (Senior Research Scientist)  

Sarah Brooks (Int. Service for Human Rights)
Sondhya Gupta (SumOfUs)

Lobsang Gyatso (Tibet Action Institute)

John Jones (Free Tibet)

Shahrezad Ghayrat (World Uyghur Congress)

Lhadon Tethong (Tibet Action Institute)

Rushan Abbas (Campaign for Uyghurs)

Teng Biao (Chinese human rights lawyer)

Nathan Freitas (Guardian Project)

Mi Ling Tsui (Human Rights in China)

Jack Poulson (Senior Research Scientist)

Sophie Richardson (Human Rights Watch)

Dorjee Tseten (Students for a Free Tibet)

For further information and media requests, please contact:

Gloria Montgomery, Tibet Society, UK | +44 (0)7377890148 | advocacy@tibetsociety.com

John Jones, Free Tibet, UK |  +44  (0)207 324 4605 |  john@freetibet.org

Mandie McKeown, International Tibet Network  | +44 (0)7748 158 618 | mandie@tibetnetwork.org

Sondhya Gupta, SumOfUs | sondhya@sumofus.org | +44 (0)781 118 6937

Speakers Biographies:

Lhadon Tethong is Director at Tibet Action Institute where she leads a team of technologists and rights advocates in developing and advancing open-source communication technologies, nonviolent strategies and training programs for Tibetans and others facing human rights abuses. https://tibetaction.net/

Rushan Abbas is a Uyghur-American activist and Director of Campaign for Uyghurs which  advocates for the human rights of the Uyghur people in East Turkistan. She currently has family in the concentration camps in East Turkestan. http://campaignforuyghurs.org/

Dr. Jack Poulson is a computational scientist and volunteer with the Tech Workers Coalition. He currently runs a small scientific computing company and was formerly a research scientist at Google and an assistant professor of mathematics at Stanford.

Sarah M Brooks is Asia Advocate at the International Service for Human Rights in Geneva, where she tracks in real time the changing tactics of China at the UN, and helps human rights defenders and organisations navigate the UN system to seek truth and accountability for human rights violations. https://www.ishr.ch/

Dechen Pemba is the editor of High Peaks Pure Earth, a website that offers translations, news, and commentary from Tibetan cyberspace and social media. Born in the UK, Dechen has been a lobbyist and campaigner on Tibet and served as a consultant on Tibet-related issues for various non-for-profit organisations. https://highpeakspureearth.com/

Lobsang Gyatso is Digital Security Program Director at Tibet Action Institute. He is a Tibetan born in exile dedicated to increasing cyber security among Tibetans inside Tibet and in the diaspora. Lobsang was an IFF fellow at the 2018 Internet Freedom Festival responsible for helping to create and curate the programming for the festival. He is currently an advisory board member of the Citizen Clinic, a public-interest cybersecurity clinic at the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity at UC Berkeley. https://tibetaction.net/

Dr. Teng Biao is a Chinese human rights lawyer and scholar. One of the earliest promoters of the Rights Defense Movement in China, he co-founded two human rights NGOs – the Open Constitution Initiative and China Against the Death Penalty. He is currently a visiting fellow at the U.S.-Asia Law Institute, New York University.

Mi Ling Tsui is the Communications Director at Human Rights in China and a member of HRIC’s international policy and advocacy team. https://www.hrichina.org/en

Sophie Richardson is the China director at Human Rights Watch.  https://www.hrw.org/

John Jones is the Campaigns and Advocacy Manager for Free Tibet. The organisation was established in 1987 with the vision of a Tibet where Tibetans are able to determine their own future and the human rights of all living there are respected.  https://www.freetibet.org

Shahrezad Ghayrat is the project assistant of the World Uyghur Congress, an organization representing the collective interests of the Uyghur population living in East Turkistan and abroad. Shahrezad was born in East Turkistan but migrated to Australia with her family a decade ago and since then she has been an Uyghur human rights advocate.

Dorjee Tseten is the Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet International and an elected member of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile. www.studentsforafreetibet.org

Nathan Freitas is Director of Technology at Tibet Action Institute.  He also leads the Guardian Project, an effort to build secure, open-source mobile solutions for activists, journalists, and human rights organisations. https://guardianproject.info/