WWF Smackdown: Google vs. China
Matt | On 25, Mar 2010
Google and China have been going head-to-head in the battle for free speech and the results are NOT pretty.
Here’s the quick and dirty. Google has operated in China for four years. Since the beginning, it has censored its search results in the country because of the Chinese government’s ban on the free flow of information. Well, sh*t hit the fan in 2009! China blocked all access to YouTube, a Google product, because it showed some controversial Tibetan protesters. Then, China accused Google of allowing pornography on the Internet – another Chinese no-no. Later in the year, Google found that some Chinese had hacked into its Gmail system to gain information about anti-government individuals. It’s been tit for tat, as you can see.
Finally, Google just flat-out had enough of the lack of free speech in the country. This year Google announced that they would no longer be filtering search results in China. That pissed off the Chinese government big time. In a further move to avoid Chinese censorship, Google routed all searches to its Hong Kong portal. But, Hong Kong is one of Big Mama China’s territories. So, the Chinese government began to filter some of the search results there too, if you were looking from a computer in China.
All around, it’s a mess. It’s unclear if Google will even continue to operate in China, though they’ve invested a great deal of money in the emerging market. Some have praised Google’s decision, as it speaks to the lack of Internet freedom, one of the major problems between the U.S. and China. Of course, China says to hell with liberty, they run their country the way they please!
Check out this memo that the Chinese government sent to news organization this week to tell them how to report on the Google situation. Creepy..