Google wants to dump China?

The internet has been abuzz about Google threatening to end its operations in China as it fears their company websites have come under official attacks regarding security. Google in its blog discussing issues with China have claimed that they will now have a new way of dealing with China. Google.cn is the Chinese domain for Google. It has a huge subscriber base and as China is growing rapidly their internet usage has also grown manifold.

The Chinese government has had strict policy regarding internet censorship. It has a elaborate system which does clamp down on dissidents in various ways. Most companies look the other way and accept demands of the Chinese Government regarding sharing information and regulating content. Most companies like Microsoft and Yahoo have been criticized for their bowing to Chinese pressure for doing business in China. Many websites we consider harmless are often banned or blocked in China.

google_dumps_china

When Google entered China and created Google.cn it had initially accepted Chinese rules and a lot of experts claimed that Google had lost its innocence. All companies who do business in China do allow for greater censorship to their content by the government with usually the argument being you play by the rules that are present in the country.

Google – China mismatch

Google and China have always been a mismatch. Google essentially has done more than any internet company to free up information and make it very accessible. With complying to censorship in China, Google has probably compromised on its own culture. Google is one of the few companies who have first concentrated on functionality for users and then figured out ways around this functionality to make money. Small businesses and large businesses finally got the opportunity to contact individual users not with annoying email advertisements but through search. This system to work needs a big amount of openness and freeness to operate.

According to Google, China has managed to track and compromise security to an extent of certain individuals who were known dissidents or human rights activists. These cyber attacks were not just limited to Chinese citizens but also people in Europe and the US. Google has now started sharing information with various agencies on these attacks and will be discussing with China on a deal to go ahead and carry out their operations in China without any censorship. Google’s blog even goes to the extent that if it doesn’t work out they will have to shut their China operations which effectively close down Google.cn.

Another take on this controversy is if the Chinese state is unfairly targeting Google operations which benefit Baidu which is essentially controlled by Chinese government.

What do you think? Is it fair of Google to stand their ground and deal with China on their own terms or should Google accept the law of the land and work within that framework?

I personally think Google has a point here, as the internet is mainly a democratic and level playing forum for sharing information. Trying to control this forum will greatly harm its potential and hence internet should not be subject to censorship.

Link: Google Blog

9 replies on “Google wants to dump China?”

  1. The fact can’t be ignored that Google was unable to cope with Baidu. For a company two factors matters the most namely business and ethics. Google if stayed more, must have definitely lost both of it. Now at least the ETHICS may remain intact.

    1. @Vivek: Google probably was unable to cope with Baidu but remember all content on Baidu is strictly controlled by the state. In a business if you are not allowed to have control over your main resource it can be impossible to do business there.
      For Google content and accessibility of information is of main importance. If you take these two things away it simply is rendered useless. Hence the decision by Google.

  2. Even if Google has its own personal interests invested into this move/statement to China, I applause any move to get rid of such ridiculous censorship. China’s highly controlling and still rather centralized government needs to get a grasp of what its citizens want–freedom to use the internet without being censored–and make a better deal with Google. Otherwise, the search engine mogul plans to take off.
    There’s an interesting video on all of this at Newsy.com. It’s worth watching and commenting on if you have a few minutes:

    http://www.newsy.com/videos/google-and-china-face-off

  3. I dont think Google can do business in China anymore,. There is no necessity for Chinese government to allow them ,. also as mentioned they would do their best to make people use their own search engine Baidu., Who knows 5 years down the line, China will block Internet too .,lol. saying its affecting their terms and after 10yrs we can expect them to be in stone age again 😀

  4. @aditya
    Google was pretty much aware of the censorship when they entered China, back in 2006. They compromised with content and accessibility then itself. Google’s mantra “Don’t be Evil” was questioned big time.
    The laws are nearly the same as they were back then. Personally I think this innocence card is to cover up the past goof up.

    1. Google was forced into it because of the implications. Here was a govt launching cyber attacks against company with a massive internet presence. Google might have also wondered if they were about to be used by China to spy on the world? Hence I think they have gone on the offensive.

  5. This suggests
    Google- “Communists have hacked my gmail so now allow me to display my content without censorship or else I would leave”

    Its weird that Google have suddenly found conscience with this attack. They don’t deserve applauding for the moral grounds .
    Twitter and Facebook deserves it, as their refusal at the very first place resulted in ban from china.

    1. The question of Twitter and Facebook never arises. What was Twitter supposed to do in China, not allow people to tweet? and FB would probably not be allowed to have people write notes, RSS feeds to blogs and play games along with updating their status. Then why would you want a Twitter or facebook anyways.

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