Thoughts about Google's Withdrawal from China
(Clearwisdom.net) Google recently announced that it has moved its Chinese-language search engine operations from mainland China to Hong Kong, and at the same time, has stopped censoring its search content as required by the Chinese communist government.
The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) Central Propaganda Department recently issued a ban on news reports pertaining to Google: Mainland Chinese "news" reports can only use material from Xinhua News Agency--the regime's main media outlet. All other sources are prohibited. The CCP also ordered that news talk shows should reference only the Chinese regime's own media websites. No forums or blogs are to be set up, and no investigative reports are allowed. Talk shows discussing the Google incident must have all content approved before broadcast. Unauthorized programs are strictly forbidden. Commentary postings in news reports must be carefully managed. These measures are a telling sign of how seriously China's regime is taking this event.
Blocking positive information about Falun Gong was a key part of what Google had to do to enter the Chinese market
According to an earlier study of China's Internet blockade by law professor John Palfrey at Harvard University and a similar investigation by Epoch Times reporters, the probability of a pornography website being blocked in China is 10%. Some 48% of websites containing the words "June 4 incident" (how Chinese typically refer to the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989) are blocked. 60% of websites discussing general anti-communist political ideas are blocked. In comparison, the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party is blocked in 90% of cases, and web pages that feature Falun Gong described in a positive light are blocked in 100% of all cases.
Based on Google's base functionality, about 3% of searches for Falun Gong turn up CCP-provided negative propaganda. But in order to block the other content, China's regime replaced that functionality with one that it described as "having Chinese characteristics." That is, it filtered out positive information about Falun Gong.
Google entered the Chinese market because of the obvious huge profit potential it saw there. However, Google's corporate creed is "Do no evil," so right from the beginning, by agreeing to censor its results, Google made a huge moral compromise to enter the Chinese market.
Google's withdrawal was not driven by the "purely business reasons" the communist regime's propaganda alleges. Instead, Google's growth in China has been going smoothly. According to a report by a Chinese consulting firm, from 2007 to 2008, Google's China revenues more than doubled. During the financial crisis in 2009, its income still grew by over 50%.
On January 12 of this year, Google said that it would stop its self-censorship in China, partly in response to what it described as an electronic attack aimed at hacking e-mails of Chinese dissidents. The attacks, of course, were traced back to CCP sources. Another attack that was "highly complex and focused on Google's internal systems" came within a month. Although the attack was downplayed by Google, it seems likely that the attack came from China and led to "theft of Google's intellectual property."
Why the CCP made a move against Google
Google's compromise with China basically amounted to a violation of the company's charter. The CCP's ultimate goal, though, obviously went far beyond making Google compromise its principles. It apparently had designs on Google's data and intellectual property, as well.
Speaking from another perspective, at this particular moment in history, the stakes are higher than ever for one finding the truth about Falun Gong versus being fooled by the CCP's propaganda. The CCP's move was both a sign of its desperation and how much importance it placed on the matter.
Upon Google's exit from China, Google's co-founder Sergey Brin said that more and more signs show that China is implementing acts of suppression similar to those that he saw in his homeland, the former Soviet Union. This, he said, helped lead him to the decision take Google out of China. Brin fled the Soviet Union with his parents at the age of 6. He said that the memory of that era ─ police coming to his door, and his father facing state-sponsored anti-Semitism ─ convinced him that it was time Google abandoned its policy of compromise with the Chinese communist regime.
Ironically, when Google moved to Hong Kong and lifted its blockade, search engine traffic statistics in China on March 23 showed that Google's page visits had exceeded Baidu for the first time