Google Sticks it to the Red Commie Man
Over the last few years, Google in China has been criticized for complying with restrictions put in place by the Chinese government. The company agreed to censor keywords like dictatorship, genocide, human rights, oppression, persecution, Chinese Central Propaganda and Tiananmen Square Massacre among others.
Then, in the aftermath of what Google has labeled a “sophisticated and targeted” cyber attack on the Gmail accounts of numerous Chinese human rights activists, Google has suggested that these violations may be outrageous enough to cause the company to leave this dream market.
Google has compromised too much by collaborating with censorship in return for access to the Chinese market. In the wake of these cyber attacks, Google must set a precedent or risk being seen as a pushover, motivated only by financial returns.
In the wake of the attacks, Google has adopted the position of pushing a Google.cn without filtration, declaring that they will no longer accept the limitations imposed by the Chinese government. If unaltered, this stance will likely lead to Google’s wholesale withdrawal from China.
Cynics and the rival search engine Baidu are skeptical of Google’s motives. Baidu executives have commented in online blogs that Google is really looking for a way out because of its failure to corner and dominate the Chinese market. On the other hand, since Google is not performing as well as expected, it has more incentive to show some spine and fully withdraw.
Google is no small company fighting for scraps at the dinner table; Google is a large corporation that can afford to stick to its core principles and make bold statements such as refusing to further cooperate with over-the-line actions.
Although it will not mend the financial losses that would certainly accompany a pullout from China, public support for Google in many Western nations will certainly skyrocket. Cooperation with Chinese censorship is tantamount to consent. It would be true to our common values for Google to withdraw from the Chinese market, showing just how highly we value freedom of information and ideas.
Alexander Gura is a fourth-year political science major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.