Google and China

A friend of mine sent out an email a month and a half ago about Google’s compliance with the Chinese government when it came to Internet censorship. He made such a good and strong point that I’ve obtained his permission to copy and paste his article here in its entirety.

Hello to those I speak with regularly, and those I’ve lost contact with.  I ask for a moment of your time.
This is something I which has been on my mind for sometime.  Initially, I was going to save this for when I launch my new website design, but I believe that this requires a little more of a personal touch.  In addition, if I wrote this online, there is a possibility that my domain would get blocked from within China. 

As you probably know, Google, the largest and most popular search engine on the planet has agreed to submit to censorship of search results in exchange for operating in China.
And CNet News’ Declan McCullaghfs research (http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=013106G):
Many Web sites censored from Google’s Chinese results touch on topics known to be unpopular with the Communist Party: the Tiananmen protest and massacre, political criticism in general, Tibet, Taiwan and Falun Gong (a growing movement that combines traditional Chinese breathing exercises with meditation and thatfs been renounced by the Chinese government as a cult). But others are more puzzling, such as jokes and alcohol.”
Aside a temporary resident of China, I can confirm that google.cn does indeed censor these topics.
Google has always been censored, but because their servers were operating inside the United States, their flow was subjected to censorship directly from the CCP.  Google is now basing their servers in China, were they are VOLUNTARILY eliminating material.
I feel that with this move, Google is blatantly kowtowing the dictators in Beijing, appeasing their every wish in an effort to add buck or two to their billions.  There is a saying that if you don’t do it, someone else will.  Baidu.com a domestically built Chinese search engine (with Google owning shares) already controls over 30% of the market.  It is well known and it is the preferred search engine of the average Chinese netizen.  It’s being done already…Google just wants more.  Furthermore, if you believe that with economic progress, the CCP is becoming more humane in regards to treatment of their citizens, just take a stroll through the countryside of any Chinese province (I’ve been there, numerous times), or take a look at the way they treat their own journalists:

From the NYTimes:
A Chinese newspaper editor who was severely beaten by the police after he published an article that alleged petty abuses of power in their ranks died of the wounds he suffered in the attack, a New York-based media watchdog group said Tuesday.
The editor, Wu Xianghu, 41, died of liver and kidney failure last week after he failed to recover from the Oct. 20 beating in his office in the eastern coastal city of Taizhou, the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement.
That was just from today. 
74,000 protests in 2004 alone.  That are recorded!
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/GJ20Cb01.html 
I will no longer be using Google products.  I will not use their search engine.  I was considering adding adsense to my new website…I will not being doing that.  With regret, I have deleted Google Earth from my HD and will not be incorporating its cool Movable Type plug-in to my design. One can possibly claim a double standard on this, arguing the array of made-in-China products found in any given store on the planet, or even more on the fact that I am living in this country.  Yet I am targeting Google because of their special relationship with the internet.  They owe their success to the internet.  To me, the internet represents the epitome of freedom.  It is a mind-boggling 360 degree mosaic of thought and expression.  I cannot even begin to fathom how different my life would be if it were not for the presence of the net.  I have had the privilege of having access to something which has enriched my life, my understanding of other’s lives and helped me become a better person.
I cannot support a company which states in their philosophy “you can make money without doing evil”.  To voluntarily deny over 1/6th of the world pure access one of the greatest inventions is evil, and I will have nothing to do with it. 
A token gesture.  Yet last week Google share prices fell 20%.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/01/technology/01google.html?ex=1296450000&en=90b1c7bc30259979&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss
A number of reasons however….
And its decision to introduce a Chinese service that filters out content objectionable to the Chinese government raised questions about its commitment to its informal slogan, “Don’t be evil.”

Giving up Google will be tough, but I’ve found some alternatives:
I’ve begun using teoma.com.  I haven’t used it very long, but it seems to be able to find most of what I’m looking for.  There are many more out there.
There is more going on throughout the blogosphere.  A good starting point can be found at PajamaMedia.
http://blogs.pajamasmedia.com/china_syndrome/

I did not expect to have to one day be ethically conscious of my searching habits.  How you choose to surf and browse is your business, but please, consider what the internet is, what it should be and what Google is doing.

Thank you.

I received an email from Bryan recently with something interesting about Yahoo!…

Yahoo  sold out a Chinese blogger to the government here, and the commies used the information Yahoo gave them to throw him in prison for 10 years.

Isn’t that interesting? A company (Yahoo) that is based in a land that constantly expresses its right to freedom of speech (U.S.A.) tattle-tales on a person for expressing their opinion and gets that person thrown in jail. If Bryan could be so kind as to provide a link or two to a webpage that might expand on this information, that would probably feed the skeptics who might think this is just another “All companies/corporations are evil” blog.
Hopefully no one from the CCP finds out about this, or I may just have contributed to Bryan’s death.
To read more about Bryan and his current adventures in China, go to www.bryan-crosby.ca

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  1. #1 by Vic on April 1, 2006 - 2:24 pm

    Hey
     
    Thanks for the vote of confidence.
    I\’m not going anywhere.
     
    My thoughts on Yahoo. It may appear that they are providing you with greater freedom. But beware, their stuff is soooo filled with spy-ware. it makes Pres. W, look like a boy- scout.
     
    Google is relatively safe from this. Just don\’t use their Desktop Search Tool – Bar or their Personalized Home 
     
    Have a great weekend

  2. #2 by Bryan on April 1, 2006 - 8:12 pm

    Here\’s the link:
     
    http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,68830,00.html
     
    Another point of interest is that Microsoft also bends over for the CCP and censors all Chinese language MSN Space blogs.   They took down a very popular blog by a Chinese fellow going by the handle "Anti".  I used to read his work, and while being critical, he wasn\’t calling for open revolutions, unlike some stuff I\’ve read which is openly avaliable.
     
    http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/2006/01/microsoft_takes.html
     
    Basically every major computer systems/internet company is in bed with the CCP in some form or another.  All foreign investors in China, be it automobiles, or mobile phones must submit to local regulations and customs.  Foreign investors are often faced with many ethical decisions, one of the more interesting being the provision of prostitutes to their Chinese business counterparts as a token gesture of respect. 
     
    But the internet, as we all know, is a special entity, and I still remain sickened by the complete willingness of foreign net companies to drop all their values for access to a market which is already saturated with local Chinese companies offerring a higher quality internet product.

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