Google China Censorship Controversy Roundup
Google choosing to censor the search results of its Google China search engine has led to a lot of industry flack and protest against a search engine which was viewed as the ‘people’s hero’ only last week for standing up to government aggression. When Google agreed to comply to Chinese law in order to expand its services in China, they opened up a can of worms which, in this writer’s opinion, is not going to go away anytime soon.
Sure, MSN and Yahoo, along with multiple global businesses have conformed to Chinese Sinification restrictions when opening shop in the People’s Republic, but this is Google – the company that makes business decisions by its ‘Do No Evil’ motto. This leads to the question, is doing business in China evil? Is the suppression of free expression which can lead to social unrest evil?
The long term potential of accomplishing change through working with the people and wishes of China is much more powerful than appeasing the short term preferences of interest groups. Google will probably do more good than harm in the long run delivering the world’s information to China, even if that means excluding some touchy information in the here and now (please see Sergey Brin’s reasons for the Google China launch below).
Nixon secretly sending Henry Kissinger into Beijing led to a strong bond between the US and China, leading to Nixon’s visit and achievement of China’s recognition. This in turn resulted in a widened Sino-Soviet split along with US support for the Socialist Market government which has elevated China to a major world power. This resulted in a dip in Khrushchev’s Soviet sphere of influence in Asia and was a major building block for the end of the Cold War.
Google is no Henry Kissinger, but a quest for Chinese profit and claiming a stake in the Asian search arena (which Google is quite behind in as compared to their share of the rest of the world) may lend transition to heightened awareness of the global happenings and ‘democracy’ among the growing Chinese Internet population, which is second in the world only to the United States.
Here’s a roundup of today’s Google China Censorship happenings:
> Congressman Points Finger at Google : The Financial Times is reporting that Republican Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey who heads a House subcommittee on Human Rights is calling for a hearing to to examine the operating procedures of US companies in China.
Mr Smith on Wednesday accused Google of “collaborating .. with persecutors” who imprison and torture Chinese citizens “in the service of truth”.
“It is astounding that Google, whose corporate philosophy is ‘don’t be evil’ would enable evil by cooperating with China’s censorship policies just to make a buck,” he said.
> Google’s China Policy Changing Public View of Google : Andy Beal points to a MSNBC poll which asks “Does Google’s decision to comply with Chinese government limits on free expression change how you view the company?”
52% of the respondents say “Yes. So much for “Don’t Be Evil.”
> New Google Logo Contest? : Michelle Malkin is building a collection of Google logo which protest Google’s new business relationship with the Chinese Government:
I’m collecting photoshopped/altered Google logos by bloggers and others in response to the search engine company’s decision to kowtow to China. Let a thousand protest icons bloom!
Nice Maoist reference Michelle, one of our favorites is shown in the post and there are some other humorous logos listed.
> Sergey Brin on the China Censorship Decision : Sergey lends some reasoning to the Google China affair in an interview with CNN:
Essentially the great firewall is sophisticated enough that it would block connections based on sensitive queries. The end result was that we weren’t available to about 50 percent of the users. Universities can’t afford the international bandwidth, so for example students at Tsinghua University — and I saw this myself — had to pay in order to use Google, and I mean pay a lot, even 25 cents a megabyte, which would be unaffordable even by American standards. This is nothing…there’s no malicious plan there, it just legitimately is a bottleneck that bandwidth is somewhat limited.
But anyhow the net effect is that all of our services…soon we will be largely unavailable. We ultimately made a difficult decision, but we felt that by participating there, and making our services more available, even if not to the 100 percent that we ideally would like, that it will be better for Chinese Web users, because ultimately they would get more information, though not quite all of it.