26 January 2006


Google sells out to China

It emerged yesterday (January 25th) that Google are to launch a self-censored version of their search engine in order to break into the Chinese market. The new website, google.cn, will block access to websites relating to Tibet, Taiwan, Falun Gong, democracy and even the BBC, to kowtow to the Chinese governments rules on internet censorship.

This flies in the face of their motto "Do No Evil" as Google are not simply following the law of the land, they are actively collaborating with an oppressive regime in blinding its own citizens to any criticism that may lead to the spread of freedom and democracy. Google have attempted to defend their decision by saying that providing a censored service is better then providing no service at all: "While removing search results is inconsistent with Google's mission, providing no information... is more inconsistent with our mission". But the lesser of two evils is still evil. By censoring web searches Google is not simply depriving people of information, it is helping to perpetuate China's propaganda on Tibet and other issues by denying Chinese citizens access to any counterpoint, or even the simple truth.

Ever since China opened up to foreigners a couple of decades ago Western governments have been under the impression that the best way to bring freedom and democracy to China is through business and economic growth. But here, and not for the first time, we can see that foreign business is actually helping to support the Chinese government in the oppression of its people. Don't get me wrong, I know Google is a business and has no responsibility to support political dissent in China, but it certainly shouldn't be supporting the violation of the basic human right to free speech.

Read more about this on the Guardian website here and here and on the BBC website here and here. You can also watch a news clip here and check out the SFT International blog for news on a protest outside Google headquarters in California.

Here is an article that throws more perspective:
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