“While the People’s Republic of China infamously censors internet search terms related to the Tiananmen Square Massacre (including “Tank Man”), the possibility that the Chinese Communist Party’s censorship would be extended to the United States by an American company is unacceptable,” Romney wrote.
Romney demanded answers about how Microsoft’s censorship could take place outside of China, particularly in the United States.
“The timing of the missing result — the 32nd anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre — leads to further questions, especially given Microsoft’s operations in China,” Romney wrote.
Romney said he wanted Microsoft to list terms China requested it censor over the past year, and particularly leading up to the Tiananmen Square anniversary. He wanted Microsoft to explain whether the censorship was intentional or unintentional and whether the “human error” was made inside or outside the United States. Romney also wants Microsoft to explain how many people were involved in the error and how the company plans on avoiding a similar mistake in the future.
Hundreds of people were killed on June 4, 1989, in Tiananmen Square. The massacre made headlines around the world — as did iconic images such as “Tank Man” defying troops.
Although China’s censorship typically pertains only within its borders, Microsoft’s global takedown isn’t the first time Tiananmen Square information has been blocked outside of mainland China by a foreign company.
Tensions between the United States and China have escalated in recent weeks over China’s alleged surveillance of American companies that operate within its borders. President Joe Biden last week expanded a Trump-era ban on American investment in dozens of Chinese firms that Washington believes are linked to China’s military.