Google has bowed to the will of the Chinese Government, releasing a localised version of the search engine for the Chinese people to use that self-censors itself. The search engine will censor content that the Chinese Government considers subversive or inappropriate for consumption. Google has engineered its search facilities to restrict the Chinese people from searching for information such as Tibetan independence or the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Now isn’t that a triumph of democracy and free speech? Oh wait, I forgot, China doesn’t have these things…
"In order to operate from China, we have removed some content from the search results available on Google.cn, in response to local law, regulation or policy," the internet company said in a statement issued yesterday.
With a declining market share in China, it’s not surprising that Google was keen to do what the Communist authorities wanted. The move is not likely to make the company popular in the West, though.
It was severely criticised by human rights organisations. Reporters Sans Frontieres, the Paris-based press freedom watchdog, said that the launch of Google.cn represented a "black day" for free speech.