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Thursday, January 26, 2006
Google And China

A lot of people have expressed outrage at this news:

Google today caved in to pressure from the Chinese Government by launching a localised version of its website that self-censors information deemed "subversive" by the Communist authorities.

The company, whose motto is "Don’t be evil", has engineered its search facilities to restrict 110 million online users from searching for information on Tibetan independence or the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

Roger suggests a program of disinvestment, especially by universities which were so active in disinvestment campaigns against companies doing business with the old government of South Africa. Of course, I suspect that Roger was less pleased (and so was I) when the target was Israel.

As I mentioned on Roger's post, there is a case to be made that if a business wants to operate in a country, it has to abide by the laws of that country. Clearly the choice Google was offered was do it our way or else we won't allow our citizens access to your site. Would the Chinese citizens be any better off if Google had stuck by their motto? I suspect not; they'd have to use other search engines which of course would be censored as well.

In addition, it seems to me that this effort is a stop-gap measure that is doomed to failure. Okay, so searching for "Tiananmen Square Massacre" comes up blank. What about "man stopping tank"? Or Chinese Statue of Liberty?

Also check out Michelle Malkin's very funny photoshop gallery of Google Logos. Here's one that I whipped up in a couple of minutes:

See also the Lawhawk's post for the implications for Blogger.
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