China responds to Google's move to stop censorship

By on January 14, 2010, 12:58 PM
In a response to Google's motion to end Web censorship, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the country welcomes global Internet companies -- as long as they obey Chinese law. "The Chinese government administers the Internet according to law and we have explicit stipulations over what content can be spread on the Internet," said Yu.

In what reeks of doublethink, Yu continued, "China's Internet is open, and the Chinese government encourages development of the Internet," and that "Chinese law proscribes any form of hacking activity." I'm not sure how one can outwardly acknowledge the presence of forced Web censorship, and then claim that the Internet is open.

It is still unclear whether Google will close its Chinese operation, but things don't bode well for the search giant. Commenting on the situation, Duncan Clark, chairman of BDA China, said "Google.cn is toast Just keep pressing refresh on your browser and see what happens."




User Comments: 31

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Phantasm66 Phantasm66 said:

Matthew you are right, it is the definition of doublethink. "We have explicit stipulations over what content can be spread on the Internet." "China's Internet is open, and the Chinese government encourages development of the Internet."

Its saying one thing and saying another and believing both at the same time. And China's internet is far, far from open. Unless you are a Chinese hacker of course, then it seems you get to connect to and mess with whatever the hell you want.

treeski treeski said:

Yahoo! has stated that it is backing Google in the matter. So I wonder what this all will mean for Yahoo!, if Google really does pull out.

dummybait said:

When in doubt....pull out!

Guest said:

Censorship will come to our individual countries in due time.

Google is cooperating with the Indian government to block objectionable content and what about Australia's recent call to censorship on the internet? What will be Google's response? Build more filters to help the Australian government like they did in China with other search engines?

Google is not clean by any means in this matter for censorship on the net.

Guest said:

More Google hypocrisy:

The Slippery Slope Of Internet Censorship In India

from the and-how-companies-have-to-deal-with-it dept

Slashdot points us to a WSJ article that focuses on how Google is dealing with censorship laws in India, by taking down certain content and complying with local laws. While it is disappointing that Google appears to be willing to simply accept, rather than question, some of those laws, the bigger issue may be with the laws themselves. As the WSJ details:

The nation of 1.2 billion is the world's largest democracy and in principle affords free speech to its citizens. But the country has a volatile mix of religious, ethnic and caste politics and a history of mob violence. So, the government has the authority to curtail speech rights in certain cases. India's Constitution encapsulates that gray zone: Free speech is subject to "reasonable restrictions" for such purposes as maintaining "public order, decency or morality."

Authorities say Internet companies in India, including Yahoo Inc., Facebook Inc. and Twitter, are expected to help government enforce those standards online by removing objectionable material and, occasionally, helping to track down users. Under a law that took effect in October, corporate officials from any Web site that fails to comply with requests to take down material or block sites can face a fine and a jail sentence of up to seven years.

But how is a site like Google to know when speech is "objectionable" or when it's just "disliked by someone in power"? That's why "reasonable restrictions" on free speech often present a pretty dangerous slippery slope. It's hard to blame Google for this, however. It's likely that most internet companies in India are complying with the law. The real question should be whether or not the law itself makes sense.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Most of the Asian countries (Korea, China, India, Indonesia) have strict censorship laws. Indonesia for example (and I'm using them because I used to live there) has an anti-pornography law, not just for the internet, but any porn (pictures, videos, magazines) even if it is merely a photo found on your cell phone. It carries a fine of up to $220,000 (2 Billion Rupiah) and/or jail for up to 12 years.

Google's threat to pull out of China means nothing to the Chinese government. Google is just going to have to say goodbye and walk away.

Guest said:

Google's insistence on internet freedom over profit is highly respectable. While ethics are a cultural phenomenon, from the "West," it seems to be the right choice to pull out.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

... Indonesia for example (and I'm using them because I used to live there) has an anti-pornography law, not just for the internet, but any porn (pictures, videos, magazines) even if it is merely a photo found on your cell phone. It carries a fine of up to $220,000 (2 Billion Rupiah) and/or jail for up to 12 years.

Have they tightened up since the early 90's ? I and a few friends went on a surfing holiday to Bali. Due to some minor "indiscretions" involving the local horticultural produce, alcohol and ladies of questionable backround, we faced substantial fines (and possible prison sentences) but the local police invariably showed a great willingness to spare the Indonesian judicial system the vast expense of trial and elicited "instant fines" (albeit without receipt) as a matter of course.

Bintang is dishwater.

LightHeart said:

As the world is shrinking we need to figure out how best to get along. Is it better to work with restrictive or different types of governments or not deal with them at all? I'm sure there is a balance point somewhere however it is tricky to find.

Guest said:

Google is DEFINITELY NOT a highly respectable company when they are clearly working with governments, organizations, and special interest groups to strip away a person's right to have an uncensored internet.

Timonius Timonius said:

Guest said:

Censorship will come to our individual countries in due time.

Either that or an over abundance of useless information/entertainment to cloud the truth.

Guest said:

Most Chinese people use Baidu exclusively and never use google. I live here and use google.com all the time, hopefully that won't be affected.

Guest said:

Google is DEFINITELY NOT a highly respectable company when they are clearly working with governments, organizations, and special interest groups to strip away a person's right to have an uncensored internet.

I don't really know why people seem insistent on going after Google for this. To me it seems that Google are protecting their interests, which happens to be in line with what we believe in, by calling the Chinese government over this bullshit. Shouldn't we be supporting Google for going against net censorship in China?

To me in seems like oppressive governments should be targeted not Google.

Guest said:

Chinese regime = oppressive juvenile joke. They'e got their heart where their butt is and the brains of a retarded dog. Likely from eating them for so many years.

Google = company making real and brave efforts to be responsible to the betterment of mankind. Bravo!!!!

Guest said:

To the guest that wrote this:

"I don't really know why people seem insistent on going after Google for this. To me it seems that Google are protecting their interests, which happens to be in line with what we believe in, by calling the Chinese government over this bullshit. Shouldn't we be supporting Google for going against net censorship in China?

To me in seems like oppressive governments should be targeted not Google."

Two wrongs do not make a right.

Google is still censoring in other countries whether the citizens want it or not.

Guest said:

Betterment of mankind?

When internet is censored in your area with Google's assistance, would you say the same?

johnsonlam said:

Anyone who trust the Chinese Communist (now they OWN the government) is an *****, it even ignore it's own law (people have the right to gather, protest or speech of freedom).

Guest said:

It's not Google's fault and they should not be blamed in this matter. Google was forced to comply with the Chinese government's oppressive laws to operate there. I wish more foreign companies have balls to stop dealing with these communist governmental bastards.

Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

dividebyzero said:

... Indonesia for example (and I'm using them because I used to live there) has an anti-pornography law, not just for the internet, but any porn (pictures, videos, magazines) even if it is merely a photo found on your cell phone. It carries a fine of up to $220,000 (2 Billion Rupiah) and/or jail for up to 12 years.

Have they tightened up since the early 90's ? I and a few friends went on a surfing holiday to Bali. Due to some minor "indiscretions" involving the local horticultural produce, alcohol and ladies of questionable backround, we faced substantial fines (and possible prison sentences) but the local police invariably showed a great willingness to spare the Indonesian judicial system the vast expense of trial and elicited "instant fines" (albeit without receipt) as a matter of course.

Bintang is dishwater.

Bali has actually lightened up alot. The governor of Bali refuses to enforce the anti-pornography law, yet from what I understand, the rest of Indonesia still enforces it. I lived in Bali for a long time, yet before that I lived and worked in Jakarta.

(I drank plenty of Bintang while I was there, and the best I can compare it to is watered down Coors. Eventually it grew on me though because of the price.)

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

(I drank plenty of Bintang while I was there, and the best I can compare it to is watered down Coors. Eventually it grew on me though because of the price.)

Watered down Coors?? So that's like purified water or something then haha

Guest said:

I agree, but let's not loose the focus: Do you really think Google would go so far and pull out of China if serious profit would be on stake?

Hey, where are all those highly paid managers, CEO's etc? How long does it take for you to finally get it: as soon as you move with your business into China you are screwed!

Why do you cry after years that your business lost at home because the chinese manufacture cheaper, why do you complain about chinese staeling technology and copy from you as much as they can?

Who cares in China about copyrights? All those kind of violations are naturally under chinese government protection as long as it serves the chinese government. Would you chop a tree-branch you are sitting on?

Nobody has ever asked an american, european or asian company to go to China, it's those highly paid CEO's own greed that brought the problems. But again, who cares? All that we CEO's need to do is to satisfy our shareholders (and get rich ourself as fast as we can - should think about retirement, right?) by whatever means necessary. Even it endangers the business in our home country.

Ya, it's the name "Google" this time in the spot-light. But the real problem lies much deeper and it's much more dirty: You want to complain about your problems in one of the countries, then do the same in the other countries you have business with (e.g. India etc.) as well!

Don't measure with different scales!

And don't forget: The governments (chinese.... indian....etc.) did never force you to bring your business to that country!

One last point: why are so many american, european, african, asian..... companies looking for chinese investors? Our own govenments and banks just screwed up, failing to provide means to get fresh capital into our own businesses. I'm sure, the chinese government is laughing and applauding because our own governments just opened the doors for further chinese influence in our home countries!

I'd be glad to see some feedback on my remarks to discuss further!

Guest said:

The guest that posted earlier (2 posts above) made an important point, China never asked Google to go in there. It was making money that led the company to deal with the communist regime there. It's important to note that Google-developed technology will still be used to filter the internet there even if they pull out of China.

Guest said:

I see Google is criticized quite a lot for working with governments. Let's not forget that Google is a company, a legal entity, and as any other legal entities it has to obey the law (of the countries where it's doing operations).

Take you for example, if you are someplace when no one knows you (like a hacker is on the net), you might get away with breaking the law, but if you break the law and the authorities know where to find you (like is the case for Google), then I bet you will obey the laws, too.

In other words, if anyone of you is so upset with Google working with the Chinese government, try to put yourself in their shoes: go to Beijing and start making waves about the Chinese government. Let's see how you will avoid the legal system.

Guest said:

Though Google had a choice to work with those governments that censor or not work with them. It is valid for people to criticize Google for this.

Guest said:

Google wants to pull out of China to cut costs the same as it is pulling out/reducing its presence in other markets.

Given that they are pulling out of China - it is PR spin to say that it is because of China's internet censorship.

Google sold their soul to the Devil for profit when they entered the China market and facilitated censorship of the internet but they thought it was worth the cost it would incur in bad PR etc...

Now that Google are pulling out of China for financial reasons they are trying to spin it.

Guest said:

I see Google is criticized quite a lot for working with governments. Let's not forget that Google is a company, a legal entity, and as any other legal entities it has to obey the law (of the countries where it's doing operations).

Take you for example, if you are someplace when no one knows you (like a hacker is on the net), you might get away with breaking the law, but if you break the law and the authorities know where to find you (like is the case for Google), then I bet you will obey the laws, too.

In other words, if anyone of you is so upset with Google working with the Chinese government, try to put yourself in their shoes: go to Beijing and start making waves about the Chinese government. Let's see how you will avoid the legal system.

Why would you even think of breaking the legal system? In my opinion, this would be the wrong approach.

But do you really think a company like Google would move into new territory without carefully studying the legal aspects in the country of interest BEFORE moving in?

As I've said in my post, many people have made good money preparing Google's entry (and not only Google's, countless other companies too) into China.

Wanna say no-one knew about the chinese regimes methods to use (and bend) the law in their favor whenever needed? I don't think so.....

It's just Google in the spotlight at this moment, but it goes for many companies: burnt because of your own greed. So, don't expect us to pity you (Google) or anyone else.

Guest said:

All they do is steal US technology anyway. Chinese progress and technology? LOL! Only if they can copy it from US first. Over 1 billion ****** served.

Guest said:

US companies steal from one another and sue each other through patent lawsuits. What's your point? Most of the big companies AROUND the world do that not just China.

Calling "1 billion ****** served" is a stupid comment; they are people that are oppressed by their own government, it doesn't surprise me with the attitudes similar to the above poster are common in today's society.

Guest said:

Whenever you point a finger at someone, keep in mind that three fingers are pointed at you.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

All they do is steal US technology anyway. Chinese progress and technology? LOL! Only if they can copy it from US first. Over 1 billion ****** served.

I guess people have forgotten that how much of advancement allies made once they gained total control of Germany after WWII. Ever wondered how countries suddenly started making many things which they never have had made before ?

So, the fact is big science / technology always follow money; there is nothing more to that.

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