Google ‘softened stance’ and see what pops up

In China’s first statement since it renewed Google’s operating license in that country, an official said today that the Silicon Valley company promised to “avoid linking to material deemed a threat to national security or social stability,” according to an AP article. Google, which in March started redirecting users of its search page in China to its unfiltered Hong Kong search page, stopped doing so in June under threat of going dark in China. Instead, it placed an icon on the China search page that links to the Hong Kong page, which, apparently along with the promise mentioned above, satisfied Beijing enough to grant Google its license renewal. (See The little icon that could.)

It will be interesting to hear what Google says about how it will determine what kind of material it will avoid linking to, because a straight reading of the quote above gives one a funny feeling that the Internet giant has essentially backed off from its stance against censorship in China. After Chinese authorities were suspected of hacking into Gmail accounts of human rights activists last year, Google got tough. In a January blog post, Google’s chief legal officer David Drummond seemed adamant about standing up for free speech: “We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down, and potentially our offices in China.” But since then, the back and forth seems to have yielded no compromises on China’s part, only on Google’s. All of Google’s moxie has failed to chip away at the Great Firewall, so perhaps the company has had second thoughts about writing off China and giving up a market of 1.3 billion people.


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  • Raul is a business after all…

  • It looks like someone has figured out a way to satisfy everyone (really!) on the censorship issue. What’s that you say? There is no censorship anywhere of any kind in the USA? Good. The solution, and you see it here, is simply to flog the issue to death so nobody will care any more.

  • Dave Rensberger

    So it sounds like Google decided to trade explicitly censored results in mainland China and uncensored results in Hong Kong for subtle censorship in both places.

    Are people really so brain-dead that they can’t see why this is considerably worse!!!????

  • Jayster

    What Google is doing is essentially criminal. To forgo the concern of human rights in the name of personal earnings is in itself communist. Once upon a time in America we would drag you out of your house if we thought you were communist… now our US mega companies are not only sleeping with the enemy (of humanity) but are going to look to flourish within a country that is so bathed in oppression that they would slaughter over a million people (Tibet) in the name of mental and spiritual deftness. We are allowing the Communist Party in China to remain ruling their own people through fear and terror… That’s bad enough…. Let’s NOT join their cause and help further the plight of the lives that China continually and negatively effects. Google, do you not have another market to penetrate that would not result in US compromise nor the compromise of humanity?

    Made in China actually means: Made in Hell with the blood of the innocent.

    “The axis of evil”??? It doesn’t get too much more evil then China. Think and ask yourself if you would like to be treated the way they treat their own countrymen let alone their neighbor, Tibet. How can your arch enemy be a monk?!?!?! How can you spend millions and spill gallons of blood in the name of slaughtering and silencing a man / woman of God?!?!?! It’s like killing Gandhi. What sort of evil does it take to strike down a man of peace? THINK!!!! Watch what they are doing AS WE SPEAK!!!!!!!

    Mark my words… watch your ass when it comes to China. They are ferociously planning the last laugh.

  • Al

    Google has given in to the Chinese government for the almighty $ or RMB in China. Eventually they will do the same here in America as our new government begins claming down on disident thought.
    So…”Bye, Bye American Pie. took my Chevy to the levy but the levy was dry”……