Say Goodbye to Google China? Chinese Reactions

The official Google blog released a post on January 12 saying:

Like many other well-known organizations, we face cyber attacks of varying degrees on a regular basis. In mid-December, we detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China that resulted in the theft of intellectual property from Google. However, it soon became clear that what at first appeared to be solely a security incident–albeit a significant one–was something quite different.

First, this attack was not just on Google. As part of our investigation we have discovered that at least twenty other large companies from a wide range of businesses–including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors–have been similarly targeted. We are currently in the process of notifying those companies, and we are also working with the relevant U.S. authorities.

Second, we have evidence to suggest that a primary goal of the attackers was accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Based on our investigation to date we believe their attack did not achieve that objective. Only two Gmail accounts appear to have been accessed, and that activity was limited to account information (such as the date the account was created) and subject line, rather than the content of emails themselves.

Third, as part of this investigation but independent of the attack on Google, we have discovered that the accounts of dozens of U.S.-, China- and Europe-based Gmail users who are advocates of human rights in China appear to have been routinely accessed by third parties. These accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users’ computers.

These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered–combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web–have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

This blog post has already been translated into Chinese by a Chinese netizen.

The reasons provided by Google for the closing of their Chinese offices are rather vague if not unpersuasive.

  • Yes, cyber attacks exist in China and some originated from this country, but Google is not the only victim and even its major opponent Baidu recently got DNS hijacked by the so-called “Iranian Cyber Army”.
  • Second, isn’t it Google’s responsibility to utilize all its technical might to protect users’, including human rights activists’, privacy? Saying “we will retreat because some of our users’ email account were monitored” is like admitting their own disadvantage in technical strength and persuading users to switch to other companies.
  • Third, I fail to see why compromise of some users’ computers due to their own lack of sense in internet security is a fault of Google itself: anyone using ANY email system could be hacked if the user acts like a security newbie, and it doesn’t matter where the login portal pages are hosted (I remember Google doesn’t have a data center in China).

Maybe Google and the Chinese government failed to reach an under-the-table deal recently and Google thinks the revenue from China’s 26% search engine market (already larger than the US market in number) doesn’t pay the cost of following local laws and the damage of reputation from “doing evil”? But isn’t the trouble for millions of Chinese users of backing up GMail and other Google service accounts a part of “doing evil” too (if these backups are needed)? And how does Google China settle the eight hundred employees in its Chinese offices?

I really hope this announcement is just a protest (or a joke) from Google to the Chinese government against its protectionist policies and the company will still keep running in China or it’s really the saddest and naivest thing I have ever heard in 2010. Anyway, I will follow this incident and report updates on chinaSMACK in the next few days.

Further readings:

From The Telegraph, “Google threatens to pull out of China “:

After the announcement, Google’s China website immediately began to offer reports and images of the Tiananmen Square massacre and other highly sensitive events that Beijing has suppressed for decades.

Note: I failed to get these “reports and images” from Google.cn when I tried.

UPDATE:

From Xiang Ligang’s Blog (on Sina):

Google’s renouncing its Chinese operations is merely psychological warfare

In the past few days [the Chinese Internet] was filled with big news from search engines. Yesterday, Baidu failed to work for several hours, and then this morning, Google announced on its official blog that it is considering closing its China operations and also the website Google.cn.

I think Google’s announcement is basically a kind of psychological warfare and is unlikely to be implemented, otherwise the losing side is Google and the netizen. However, the majority of Chinese internet users will forget this incident in no more than three months and only few people will remember it occasionally, like ripples on a pool of water.

Google made such a declaration which is related to the conflict between its ideology and management [in China] recently. Since the beginning, Google has not thought of itself as a media, but a search engine, and [Google believes that] search results are technically determined [rendered purely from algorithm] and it [Google] should not be responsible for the management [censorship] of these results. In the United States, if there are contents that affect the image of the leadership and even [result in] personal attacks, Google just makes a statement [won't pull these contents down].

Thus, in the Chinese market, Google has no intention to adjust itself to adapt to the Chinese situation, but in full accordance work along their own ideology [that were discussed on the above paragraph]. Therefore, under the media exposure in the Anti-Pornography campaign, Google could barely handle the situation and had to change its leadership in China. Even in such a situation, Google has been facing the pressure of taking on more management responsibilities [from the government].

On the recent copyright lawsuit with the Writer’s Society, Google didn’t understand [the Chinese writers' appeal] well either. Google’s understanding is, they did not scan all the books nor made them available for readers but barely scanned a portion of the books, which should work as indexes to facilitate readers’ inquiry and learning and even to some extent help the writers increase their books’ publicity. Reaction and impact in the Mainland are things that Google finds hard to understand.

For Chinese people, we think these things from different angles and we will understand varies levels’ [social classes'] feeling, but for Americans, it is difficult to accept [understand].

However, will Google really withdraw from the Chinese market? Personally, I think this is just psychological warfare. For the world and the internet industry, losing China is like missing a huge market. And in the subsequent development of the Internet, for example 3G-related services, there will be a large number of areas that Internet companies must pay attention. Losing the Chinese market will be a major blow to Google’s global strategy and will also affect its future strategic layout [of the global market]. In the long run, its mobile phone [Nexus One], mobile operating system [Android] and other related services will face a big problem.

The most important thing, after quitting the Chinese market, is: Will Google’s relevant departments in China be facing a lot pressure? No department [of Google China] would actually be held accountable. The majority of internet users will not be affected much, while the only suffering ones are Google’s employees [in China]. The result will be that Chinese [companies] become increasingly powerful [have more future market share] in search engines and 3G businesses. Think about it, the day when Google wants to reenter the Chinese market, it will be completely uncompetitive. And if they adopt such a confrontational action [quitting the Chinese market], it’s hard to say how the cooperation between Android and Chinese enterprises will be affected.

I think China and the United States have always been strategic rivals and, at the same time, partners in many areas. For Google it is the same, they must realize that [people in] China and the United States do not feel [think] the same thus they must find more channels to exchange [opinions] and to communicate, and they have to be far-sighted to see through all these [Chinese characteristics]. Quitting is not an attractive option for Google.

Chinese Netizen Reactions

Below I have translated some comments by Chinese netizens about this news and added a poll to ask what you think about what will happen. – Fauna

Comments from KDS:

ThE:

服部半藏:

Now this a big company’s behavior!! In the future I will definitely buy a Google mobile phone to show my approval!! (But it needs to be a bit cheaper).

月色朦胧:

At the time, it was on Google that I/we searched and found Sexy Photos Gate. We cannot not have Google.

小姐侬好:

What use are the [Chinese] netizen masses…American government…hurry and help/support Google…

東京タワー:

2 possible outcomes:
more freedom or no freedom

白兔先生:

Over the past 5 years, I’ve personally always used Google~The name “谷歌” [gu ge] is too “2″ [sha, "stupid"].

root:

Baidu is a puppet , Google finally rises up/stands up!

毛豆子:

NND, no matter who you are, the moment you come to the Celestial Kingdom, you will be castrated.

燃烧の酒精:

When searching for AV girls, I will think of Baidu Baike, but for normal things, I look to Google.

今天不下作:

For this, Google must be supported, fuck, in the future I won’t use Baidu anymore!

RR拖拉机:

I definitely support Google, definitely do not lower your head [bow, give in] to the Celestial Kingdom [Chinese government].

坏掉的鼠標:

iGoogle is my homepage.
Google Reader is my newspaper.
Google Documents is my document editor (and furthermore just today it began to accept any file format for upload).
Google Voice is my communication tool.

Without Google, how do I survive?

Ru.J:


Shut it down.
TG [The government] already does whatever it wants.
Entering email boxes, deleting the account owners’ emails…
is tantamount to
entering someone else’s company and kicking out the old customers.
They [the company] can no longer do business,
so of course they will want to leave.
I ding you Google.
Your name will go down in history

Poll

Do you believe Google will pull out of China?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

2010 January 14 ~1:30 UPDATE: There are rumors (or jokes) that Google will help their Chinese employees get American Green Cards but require a 3 year employment contract. — Fauna

2010 January 14 ~13:00 UPDATE: More translations to read… — Fauna

  • “Google Leaving China? Chinese Responses” (ChinaGeeks)
  • “Google China photos: because I’m without words” (CNReviews)
  • “Withdraw?  Google Is Only Throwing A Hissy Fit!” (EastSouthWestNorth)
  • “The Chief Design Officer of Baidu Reacts to Google’s Withdrawal from China” (EastSouthWestNorth)
  • “70% Chinese Internet Users Surveyed Don’t Think The Government Should Make Any Concessions To Google” (EastSouthWestNorth)
  • “Google Leaving?  Is this because they couldn’t adapt, or because they are bitter?” (EastSouthWestNorth)

I am a little suspicious of the Huangqiu poll that says over 70% of Chinese say the Chinese government should not accept conditions from Google. Please note that only ~2000 people participate in that survey question, but more than 17,000 people participate in the other survey questions. Strange?

2010 January 17 ~15:00 UPDATE: More readings. — Python

  • “Clearing Up Confusion on Google and China” (WSJ’s China Real Time Report)
  • Google China changed its logo after the incident. “Google.cn Highlights China’s Great Inventions” (WSJ’s China Real Time Report). Read: EXIT.
  • “China’s puny online ad market, and Google” (Danwei)
  • If you are as curious (and geeky) as I am,  read on “Code Used To Attack Google Now Public” (Slashdot). Google should seriously consider fire its employees who are still using IE6 on Windows XP and hire me.
  • Quote from Kaifu Lee, founder of Google China who left Google last year, on his microblog, “A captain would never run away from his duty, if he knew the ship was sinking.”
  • Keso made a list (Chinese) on Google-gates (scandals) in China. All 19 of them since 2006, from copyright infringement to pornography, to tax evasion, to breaking its promise on earthquake donation.
  • Something hilarious to watch, “What Baidu will look like once Google is gone from China” (Shanghaiist)
  • And an even more hilarious piece translated by ESWN, “The Truth About The Google Affair”.

2010 January 18 ~2:00 UPDATE: – Fauna

2010 January 20 ~11:00 UPDATE: — Python

Google China released a short announcement on their official blog in Chinese. I translated it here on chinaSMACK:

To clarify some untruthful rumors
January 19, 2010 PM 06:03:00
Posted by: Yun Liu and Wenluo Yang

Over the past few days, we have seen a lot untrue rumors about Google China and Google‘s employees: there are reports that we have closed the office in China, and there are some reports that we have employees in China who had recently been notified to leave their jobs. These [rumors] are all untruthful. Currently, Google employees in China are working in the offices as usual, to discuss product development and to communicate with [our] customers. Despite that Google’s executives in the head offices [in Mountain View] recently announced that they will discuss on some matters with the Chinese government in the next few weeks, Google China’s employees are, as always, making an effort to provide our customers and partners with the best products and services, [since] customers and partners are very important to Google.

Not threatening to pull out of China. chinaSMACK personals.

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  • dim mak

    “When searching for AV girls, I will think of Baidu Baike”

    There’s no AV girls on baidu baike.. wtf is that guy smoking

    And Google would be majorly stupid to pull out of China… think of the profit loss.. I bet they won’t do it in the end.

  • http://www.shanghaiist.com Elaine

    Wait, I’m a little confused, is this a translation of a blog post or is this Python’s opinion on the Google thing?

    • http://www.spenk.nl/ Jens

      Indeed, the same thing came up in my mind first. Especially when I red this:

      “Yes, cyber attacks exist in China and some originated from this country, but Google is not the only victim and even its major opponent Baidu recently got DNS hijacked by the so-called “Iranian Cyber Army”.”

      What kind of strange comparison is that? Every website gets attacked by hackers now and then. The important thing is who is the hacker and why he is doing it.

      It’s just wrong to make a link with iranian hackers. They don’t have anything to do with this.

    • Python

      @Elaine

      Sorry for the confusion. The first part is from Google’s blog, then my opinion on this incident, then a translation of Xiang Ligang’s post and finally some reactions from Chinese netizen.

      @Jens

      My point is, hacking through scams and malwares is hugely different from a third-party, Chinese government included, asking for access to a user’s account. The nature of Internet hacking makes it different to identify who the real one behind computer screen is. The hackers who compromised Baidu’s DNS may be or may not be Iranians (or any political parties in Iran). However, what’s more important is whether the targeted company has the technical capability to prevent such compromise happening. In this sense, Google did better than Baidu if what Google reported is faithful, “these accounts have not been accessed through any security breach at Google, but most likely via phishing scams or malware placed on the users’ computers”. I doubt moving Google out of China will make users’ Gmail account much safer since (correct me if I’m wrong) all data centers are already located outside of this country. Making all google.cn pages SSL encrypted should be enough to keep users’ account from monitored so why move out? That’s why I say “unpersuasive”.

      I believe the real reason is, as the Google post says, “combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web”. However, Google didn’t elaborate on what these attempts are. The recent Anti-Pornography campaign? but Google is not the only target. Filtering contents from search results? but that has been implemented for a long while. What’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Google may be too polite here, but what’s in the article is definitely vague.

      Google is an enterprise not a political party after all. As the translated Chinese blog post pointed out correctly, quitting China will be a major blow to Google’s global strategy. Even Google wants to live on its motto “doing no evil”, doing something positive though limited is far better than doing nothing.

      Anyway, your and any other commenter’s disagreement to my opinion is always welcome and I thank you for your time posting here.

  • Phil

    I’m amazed at all the comments supporting Google from all the Chinese netizens, I would have expected a lot of negative comments reacting to a foreign company that doesn’t understand China or a western company trying to impose it’s values but maybe I was being overly cynical.

    I disagree with Python though: “The reasons provided by Google for the closing of their Chinese offices are rather vague if not unpersuasive.”

    No, it was not vague or unpersuasive, Google would not be issuing something on this scale and utterly drastic without proper information and evidence, these people are VERY good at what they do. They kept that information to not directly point fingers at the Chinese government which is a small saving face move.

    Also you’re missing the point Python; Google is considering pulling out not primarily because of security concerns, but because of China’s continuing heavy-handed policies towards censorship which run directly against Google’s practices of open-information. They tried censoring search results for the sake of some, or any exposure in China, a small sacrifice for the greater good, but it’s obvious now the executives don’t believe it’s working or worth it.

    However, in the back of my mind, I do think Google leaving China (if it does happen) is a bit of a defeat, staying in China continuing to provide people freedom of information is a good thing no? Maybe I’m being too positive now…

    • http://cnreviews.com Kai

      KDS is mostly Shanghainese people. I’d be interested in seeing what might be being said on some other more geographically diverse forums. I have a feeling there will be some meta discussion against Google similar to what you were expecting. That said, I’m going to go with thinking most Chinese will support Google here. The idea of one’s account being hacked is a little too personal, and you’ll see a lot more support from those who actually use Google’s services. Google is still seen as a good alternative to Baidu, which doesn’t have a steller reputation but has compelling services for most Chinese people.

      I don’t think Python said Google’s reasons were unpersuasive. He actually wrote “not unpersuasive”, which would suggest he found them at least reasonable.

      I think Sarah Lacy at TechCrunch has an interesting take on the situation, although one that makes me feel uncomfortable. Prior to reading that, I was pretty sure Google’s not going to make good on its threat. Reading that, though, I’m a bit less sure. Hm.

      • hudongqing

        Kai,

        Python said “rather vague if not unpersuasive”

        This formulation means Python thinks there’s a case to be made that Google’s reasons are unpersuasive, but acknowledges potential disagreement on that score, and proposes “rater vague” as a stronger claim.

        Python’s analysis is rubbish and not what I come to ChinaSMACK for. I don’t want to see what he/she thinks, I want to know what Chinese netizens think. Its a bit of a shame to drop the ball so badly on such a big story.

        China has been really overstepping the mark on internet sensorship all last year. The “anti-porn” campaign they’ve been on is a complete scam. I really despise this aspect of China, which is a shame because there are so many things that are great (or have potential to be great) there.

        • http://cnreviews.com Kai

          Hey hudongqing,

          I admire your semantic analysis. Maybe I was giving Python too much benefit of the doubt. I think we can agree that he recognizes that Google’s reasons can be persuasive (to certain people).

          Like you, I enjoy chinaSMACK for being low commentary. That said, both Python and Fauna did provide good translations that cover a range of opinions and thoughts by Chinese netizens. I don’t know if I’d say they dropped the ball “so badly”.

          I don’t know if I’d say China has been “overstepping the mark on internet censorship” mainly because I don’t think there was a mark in the first place, right? LoL, but I do think the Chinese government is liable to do what it can get away with on what it cares about and something or another has come to a head here with the possible outcomes being very frustrating for me to consider. The more I read, the more pissed I am.

          That said, as I mentioned above, I think both Western and Chinese suggestions that this may be less about censorship and more about business performance are worth considering. That actually pisses me off even more.

          I agree with you with much of the anti-porn campaign that China has ostensibly been carrying out over the past year. A lot of the plays they’ve made are so questionable as to be called obvious bullshit.

          Back to Google, I’m still hoping this somehow blows over or resolves more or less amicably without much changing (though less censorship would be a fucking coup). I still believe a censored Google is still doing more good in China than no Google.

          This situation sucks.

          • Phil

            I think I expected more viewpoints like Python’s who are less supportive of Google’s actions which is why the positive comments surprise me.

            I don’t think Python’s analysis is rubbish however, just that I respectfully disagree :)

            And yes, I also think that a censored Google does more good than no Google at all.

            But the anti-porn campaign and recently Baidu’s remarks make me sick to me stomach.

            -Phil

          • hudongqing

            Thanks Kai,

            I agree the translations part of the post is really quite good, and since this is one of my favorite blogs I probably should’ve hedged my comments a bit. I guess I overstated my position since this sort of thing (censorship) tends to make my blood boil and it was already quite late where I am (this is a response to Phil as well, who called me down a bit for overstating).

            Baidu’s comments are atrocious. As someone who has spent a lot of time in China and most of the last 10 years studying China, I think these comments are very arrogant and self serving. I can see I’ll be having a lot of arguments with my Chinese friends about this (although many of them will just make my own points more forcefully).

            A censored Google should be better than no Google, but Google has other options. It could, for instance, move its Chinese language operations to Taiwan or Singapore. It would lose the .cn, but I don’t really know what benefit that has anyway. It may be subject to blanket cnesorship if it takes this option (ala BBC etc) but it doesn’t have to drop out of service provision to Chinese people completely, just because it ceases operations within China.

            As for the business angle – this is kind of the same thing as the moral angle for Google. Its come down to a complaint that operating according to their principles is becoming unviable.

          • http://cnreviews.com Kai

            hudongqing,

            No one thinks Google is threatening to drop service for all Chinese just because it ceases operations in China. It’s a given that Chinese service will continue for all the Chinese-language users around the world such as Taiwan and Singapore. The issue is that they’d lose the world’s largest internet audience and market if they’re completely blocked out of China.

            Having 18-35% penetration into the Chinese market and fighting for more is still a foothold to do SOMETHING in the undetermined future. Nixon engaged China for the same reason, because communicating, having a presence, being there, being involved, offering something, competing, is better than trying to ignore each other.

            Of course, Google isn’t obligated to do that if it doesn’t make business sense. It’s a company, not a NGO or even a government. But if the business angle (that they’re not winning, that they’re not making enough money, that they’re not doing well in China) is true — and I don’t think its that similar to the moral angle (we can’t accept censorship) — the reason it pisses me off even more is because I don’t like the idea of Google using a moral/ethical reason to hide a business reason. It’s manipulative and deceitful. It also means Chinese netizens not only loses the value Google brings to them, they lose their faith in what Google represents (whether or not Google wants to represent anything at all).

            Remember, Google argued to stay in China before, argued that censored Google is still better than no Google, that some choice for some difference is still better than no choice. So I definitely hope there isn’t some hidden business reason that’s the real impetus behind this.

        • Yongzhou

          “Python’s analysis is rubbish and not what I come to ChinaSMACK for. I don’t want to see what he/she thinks, I want to know what Chinese netizens think.”

          I completely agree with the second sentiment here. The whole reason I come to this site is the lack of editorializing, rubbish or not.

          • hudongqing

            Kai,

            I understand your sentiment about the business angle, but I still disagree. Google takes business ethics very seriously and they are basically saying that if they can’t do business while maintaining their business ethics then they wont do business.

            Of course this is not purely about defending email accounts or providing unfiltered search. Google is sick of the longer term harassment from the Chinese government that requires Google to take responsibility for the content of their search results. They’re basically fed up with kowtowing and decided not to do it anymore.

          • http://cnreviews.com Kai

            hudongqing,

            I’m fine with Google not doing business if they can’t do business while maintaining their business ethics. The question is then, why did they do it in the first place?

            Fine, they reconsidered, but it doesn’t exactly make them look good and, more importantly, suspicions of possible real motivations should be expected. I’ll point you over to Julen at Chinayouren for his ongoing list of possible explanations, some being pretty amusing.

            Overall, I know what Google is saying in their public announcement (hacking, censorship, etc.), but what a lot of people and I are trying to figure out is the real reason(s) behind the reason given publically. There may not be one, but I’m not yet convinced of that.

            Remember, they’re susceptible to hacking whether they are in China or not. And if they’re sick of harassment from the Chinese government, kowtowing, or whatever, they’re still going against their earlier arguments of providing a service to Chinese netizens and they’re now throwing Chinese netizens under the bus. Of course, they’re allowed to change their minds, but as you acknowledged, it rightfully upsets me.

            I do think the way they’re portraying this as Google vs. the Chinese government is going to win kudos from the rest of the world, but this is going to hurt the Chinese netizens more than it helps the rest of the world. I personally feel the harm this will do is greater than the good it will do, UNLESS there is some angle that hasn’t yet been revealed.

      • http://msasch.blogspot.com sascha

        I was also surprised by the reaction — where i am in chengdu the vast majority of netizens supported Google’s actions and actually had a *great* time checking out all of the previously blocked sites. This was a brilliant move because netizens 1) respect ANYONE that stands up to the oppressive government, because its not easy to do so 2) would truly enjoy and appreciate unlocking blocked sites 3) would respect ANYONE who shows a that principle and honoer actually mean something.

        IN this society (and many many others) principles are thrown to the wind in favor of profit and we all whine about it because we know its not right, so now, when a very large company finally shows that there is another way to do things, we should support them. Otherwise we deserve whatever we get. Word is Bond.

        Peep http://www.chengduliving.com/google-prepared-to-leave-china/

        we were there first ;) (after NYT hahaha)

        • Inst

          I’m wondering about the accuracy of your statement, since Google’s censorship is based on Chinese government censorship in that they use a server to check what sites are blocked by the GFW. Google simply doesn’t list GFW-blocked results. If Google dropped their censorship, the Chinese web user would simply reach a “The Connection to the Server Has Been Reset” Page. If the Chinese web user tried to access the page via Google cache, keyword filters should activate and the user would be similarly blocked.

          • http://baihaifeng.blogspot.com Dr. Jones Jr.

            Well, at the very least it opened up a partial window on the blocked results. Example: I checked out Google.cn’s image search last night. There were several pictures from Tiananmen Sq ’89, including ‘Tank Man’, but I couldn’t access the site the picture was being drawn from. On the word search portion, there were many topics ‘What happened…’, etc. I didn’t check them out thoroughly, but I’m guessing many of them were sites that are indeed blocked by GFW despite users being able to at least see some text in the search results.

          • Inst

            Actually, I checked that back on the 9th to show to friends on the states and at least one tank man picture showed up on an English-language search of Tiananmen on google.cn.

          • Inst

            http://images.google.cn/images?hl=zh-CN&source=hp&q=%E5%9D%A6%E5%85%8B%E4%BA%BA&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi

            In any case they aren’t obeying the “relevant laws and regulations” of the target country right now. If they list blogspot, their censor’s off because blogspot is censored at least by my ISP.

  • Jay K

    Google time to grow some balls and stand up!

  • http://i49.tinypic.com/2cek3l.jpg PUSAN PLAYA

    This is what this is all really about

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/07/technology/07yahoo.html

    “WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 (AP) — Two top Yahoo officials on Tuesday defended their company’s role in the jailing of a Chinese journalist but ran into withering criticism from United States lawmakers who accused them of complicity with an oppressive Communist regime.

    “While technologically and financially you are giants, morally you are pygmies,” Tom Lantos, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said angrily after hearing from the two executives, Jerry Yang, the chief executive, and Michael J. Callahan, the general counsel.

    The journalist Shi Tao was sent to jail for 10 years for engaging in pro-democracy efforts deemed subversive after Yahoo turned over information about his online activities as requested by Chinese authorities.”

    Google is probably being forced to give the PRC intelligence services access to the email accounts of dissidents and it can’t reveal this fact without breaking Chinese law. Google is a huge company that has nearly monopolised internet advertising in many parts of the world, they’re already on the verge of antitrust action in the US. If the American people start to see them as Red Chinese collaborators, they’ll lose all political support from people like Tom Lantos they’ll risk billions of dollars in fines or even being broken up like what almost happened to Microsoft.

    • Teacher in China

      I’m with you on that one Playa. THere’s got to be another reason for them pulling out. I’ve read a few other stories on the interwebs, and some of what other people are suggesting seems unlikely. For example, they’re pulling out because they’re losing to Baidu. Being #2 in a country with so many people and such a huge growth potential is like being #1 anywhere else in the world. Why would they throw all that away, unless it was something really serious?

  • Vic

    GOOD! money isnt everything , google doesnt believe in allowing censors and hackers to track down human rights activists, google is finally doing the right thing! You can’t buy honor, more companies should keep their values in check and not be tempted to sell their souls for the big red market .. Will chinese users be the big losers, of course , that’s the point, now you all can ask yourself if you agree OR NOT with your leader’s (puppet master’s) point of view and what needs to be changed

    • MD

      Man… If all Chinese get free access to information, the entire country will become chaotic, riots and social unrest everywhere, government risks collapsing and the entire PLA will be send in for a nationwide massacre… China will shut down its internet and became a closed country like North Korea… All that thanks to GOOGLE… (Ur welcome)…

  • AC

    If China wants to participate in a global econ it should play by internationally accepted ethical standards. Google is making the right move here by exposing these dubious actions and outlining consequences.
    IPR is next!!!

  • http://i49.tinypic.com/2cek3l.jpg PUSAN PLAYA

    Is there tension between Iran and China or not? I do know there’s tension between Pakistan and Iran over Balochistan and terrorists and stuff and that China is a close Pakistani ally but otherwise I’m not really sure.

    • http://i49.tinypic.com/2cek3l.jpg PUSAN PLAYA

      I posted this in the wrong thread, please ignore it

  • http://fascistdonkey.com Gaz

    Did you miss the point that they are pulling out due to CENSORSHIP?

    And the Chinese blogger is full of crap and poorly researched.

    “Therefore, under the media exposure in the Anti-Pornography campaign, Google could barely handle the situation and had to change its leadership in China.”

    You mean the FAKE news report?
    And you mean the director that quite due to pressure from the communist party?

    “For Chinese people, we think these things from different angles and we will understand varies levels’ [social classes'] feeling, but for Americans, it is difficult to accept [understand].”

    Yeah, right, your different angles all involve “do EXACTLY as I say or I’ll shut you down” Good work, d!ckhead.

  • Chinglish

    if you learn much about china’s history,you’ll find that changing of a dynasty needs 3 hundred years.so since the foundation of people’s republic in 1949,every thing will be hao 200 years later.google china now are the same as baidu,if you type into “六四” you’ll know why.if google really stops its service or shut its office in mainland,i will not sigh.baidu is another google china.what im worrying is that if google quit from china,baidu will not have its arch rival.in another words,that’s another kind of “trade protectionism”.

  • VeerLeft

    Good info Playa. That is also an interesting angle. Either way, I live in China and this would be a severe inconvenience. As for Google ‘growing balls’ and withdrawing…I don’t want them to leave at all but if it is to be , then let it be.
    Slowly but surely this regime will collapse and go the way of all ‘regimes’ that are built on deceit and paranoia.

  • Joe #2

    This has nothing to do with that hack of Baidu, to my knowledge. I really don’t know who is behind that. However, I do know that there have been many politically-motivated hacks against, for example, Tibetan protesters. The metadata and similar traces indicate that people connected to the Chinese government were responsible. The sheer scope of the attacks (of which the referenced attack below is just one of many) indicate that it’s not just one or two kids with free time on their hands.

    I should know. I’m one of those computer security geeks who are always discussing things like this. Lest someone say that I just want to pick on China, I should mention that the US does plenty of questionable things, too. For example, they monitor pretty much all of our internet traffic on some level, likely including some sort of keyword mining (remember when they talked about increases in “terrorist chatter”? yeah, you’re probably looking at systems which scan for keywords generating that information). And they have a neat trick where we’re allowed to spy on *foreigners* if not citizens… So you partner with, say, New Zealand. If each of you spy on the foreigners in the other country, then share the data, you can get all the same information without breaking any laws. What I’m trying to say is that, no, I don’t excuse this sort of crap just because the US does it. I protest this sort of thing no matter who is doing it.

    As for what Google hopes to accomplish, I can only guess. I would think that they’re trying to shame someone into something, but I have no idea if that will even work. Or maybe they’ll just leave China. I don’t know. Maybe they’re about to get kicked out of China and want to get their story out first? I have no clue. If there’s anything big behind it, though, watch wikileaks dot org. They usually get the big news early.

    References on hacking believed to be sponsored by the Chinese government (I had more, but the forum thought the original post was too “spammy” thanks to those):
    * http://www.f-secure.com/weblog/archives/00001406.html
    * http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/4259544.html

    • http://i49.tinypic.com/2cek3l.jpg PUSAN PLAYA

      “I don’t excuse this sort of crap just because the US does it. I protest this sort of thing no matter who is doing it.”

      The difference is that the Americans don’t jail their citizens for 10 years simply because they oppose the government, unless you’re planning to put a bomb in your underpants for the glory of Allah the American spies won’t try to ruin your life.

  • Somethin Somethin

    If they’re ever gonna give into taking down a piece of the wall it was always gonna be because a Google said this is bullshit and threatened with a massive loss in face, dollars, and progress. I don’t know if it’s the right thing in terms of bottom line, but it certainly makes me wanna close my yahoo account and follow that Chinese Blogster and buy a Google Phone, a Google OS, shit it makes me wanna have a fucken Google themed wedding.

  • MBC

    is blogger.com still blocked in China?

    • http://baihaifeng.blogspot.com Dr. Jones Jr.

      Yes. (Well, that was my short answer–apparently too short for this website).

  • kei

    This isn’t Google making a moral stand. They tried to play ball with the Chinese government, but now they’ve realized it doesn’t make sense to do business there. Here’s why:

    * Reputation risk. They were willing to take the black eye of censoring themselves, but they won’t tolerate security breaches that make their system look unreliable everywhere. This one incident is just what we’ve heard about, surely there is more fucked up shit going on that’s not public.
    * Low upside. Google isn’t making any money in China, and Chinese people will probably prefer a Chinese copy to any new product Google promotes in the future.
    * Rule of law. Even if Google somehow manages to create a money-making product, they can’t trust the Chinese government to not take it away. The government is not very fond of foreigners making money in China, and they’re not afraid to change the rules to screw them over.
    * The China story. China may become the next super power. (Most of Reddit seems to think so.) Or issues like the reasons above may prevent it from becoming a sustainable modern economy. (Most traders I’ve heard talk about it think so.) No one knows, and there are arguments for either side. It’s possible the guys in charge at Google have swung from a positive to a negative view on the outlook of the Chinese economy as a whole, so that doing business there is no longer a priority.

    Google’s decision should still be applauded. But don’t kid yourself that Google is walking away from big profits to make a point.

  • Anon

    China is treating Google as if it were one of its citizens. China thinks it can bully Google into doing whatever it wants. In China they may be able to go into someone’s house and take what they want, but Google is not a chinese citizen and the government will finally realise that it can’t always do as it pleases in such an unfair manner.

    • Elmo

      LOL they don’t care, they’ve protected their market by pushing a competitor out. Do you honestly think that a government like China would care about a company like google?

      Considering the amount of MNCs that have attempted to capitalise on developing countries via cheap labour or one sided bargainings. This is probs one of the recent cases where a huge MNC was pushed out of a country rather than establishing a foothold. Microsoft, which has kept its mouth shut will undoubtedly once again be better off long term.

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  • LOLZ

    Heh, I am not surprised at the Chinese netizens or the Laowais reactions.

    For the most part Chinese netizens are anti-censorship. That doesn’t necessarily conflict with their conservative nature, it support it. I remember reading an interview with the hacker who hacked the Australia movie festival because it paraded some uighur propaganda. The hacker said that he was actually afraid of the Chinese government censoring him. If you read the news Chinese government doesn’t only censor its critics, but also the extremist fenqings on the right as well.

    I am also not surprised at the Laowais reaction. They don’t see anything wrong with 300 million netizens lose a valuable search engine. All they care about their silly little ideologies which they themselves don’t even live up to and saving face. Except for the very few astute ones, the general attitude is something like “Oh this is great, Google sure showed the Chinese who is the boss”. These idiots missed the point: How the fuck will that help anyone or anything? There will be only more censorship in China, the Chinese government will continue to employ hackers to hack into email accounts, and less competition means less innovation for everyone.

    • Magnator

      dude, someone has to do something to stop China from controling its citizens like slaves. China political system MUST change. Freedom is an illusion even in US and in China is even worse. WAKE UP!

      • http://cnreviews.com Kai

        One battle at a time, soldier. The main thing here is that Google leaving China makes a strong statement, but it doesn’t do much, much less guarantee, any good for the Chinese citizens. There are going to be people who are happy with that statement, but aside from their personal validation, how does this help the Chinese people? The only hope — and everyone with two brain cells knows this is a long-shot — is that this statement is so powerful that it’ll compell the Chinese people to demand and obtain change from the government. That’s not a good bet to make, because whereas Chinese do feel strongly about censorship, they feel strongly about a lot of other things too. Betting on revolution is always a hail mary play…that almost always fails.

        There are potential benefits and upsides here, perhaps for Google, for Baidu, for the censors, but I don’t see them for the Chinese people.

        Some more good reading: http://jamesfallows.theatlantic.com/archives/2010/01/first_reactions_on_google_and.php

        • Teacher in China

          That’s a great analysis in that article.

    • http://cnreviews.com Kai

      am also not surprised at the Laowais reaction. They don’t see anything wrong with 300 million netizens lose a valuable search engine. All they care about their silly little ideologies which they themselves don’t even live up to and saving face. Except for the very few astute ones, the general attitude is something like “Oh this is great, Google sure showed the Chinese who is the boss”. These idiots missed the point: How the fuck will that help anyone or anything? There will be only more censorship in China, the Chinese government will continue to employ hackers to hack into email accounts, and less competition means less innovation for everyone.

      Thank you.

    • Teacher in China

      One thing about businesses is that they are always thinking about the bottom line. Google can say whatever it wants about moral high ground, but the fact remains that what they are doing must somehow go back to money. If they feel that that their reputation is being tarnished elsewhere in the world because of their involvement in China, then they have to weigh which decision would yield the biggest loss. Will people in the rest of the world stop buying their products, or will they “lose all political support from people like Tom Lantos they’ll risk billions of dollars in fines or even being broken up like what almost happened to Microsoft” (Pusan Playa)? If so, then pulling out makes sense.

      Even though he gets nutty at the end of it, talking about applause and all, this guy http://scobleizer.com/2010/01/12/why-now-google/ makes a pretty good point about the future of the market in China being so huge, that it seems odd that the company would pull out now, just because of some tarnish to their reputation. Unless of course that tarnish could result in something that could cause the shutdown of the company or some other insanely huge loss.

      It’s definitely going to be interesting following this for a while, as I’m sure we’re not hearing the full story just yet (and maybe we never will).

      • BBC

        Nowt to do with market share, global perceptions that Google are giving in (they did that long ago) or the privacy of human rights campaigners. The most significant issue is that Google have implied in their blog that “hackers” within China have gone into their code repository and stolen IP. What this means is that there are moles either working for Google China who is leaking the code to the Chinese govt., or someone posing as Chinese workers and going there to steal code.

        Either way, IP is a big deal for any tech company, and Google as a result is pulling out (or just restricting Google China to out of date content) to minimise technology losses.

        • Teacher in China

          Interesting idea, but I still find it hard to believe that they would throw away such a huge opportunity to make money not only now but for the next 100 years just because of hackers. If the issue were JUST hackers, there would have been a ton of other ways they could have dealt with that other than go to the extreme of completely pulling out of the country.

          • BBC

            It’s not just about one hack, but tons happening all the time. Imagine – you’re Google, you’re making new tech every day, but every day, that same new tech has been stolen. Constant attacks on their servers not only hamper development, they completely lose revenues.

            One thing I forgot to mention are the IP laws – obviously Google would not pull out if they could see improvement, but considering that IP theft has actually gotten worse in China over time with the laws offering no sign of improvement, I believe they are shouting “foul play” and realising they can’t do any better in the future.

          • Teacher in China

            I see what you’re saying, except that there’s no mention in Google’s blog about this happening “every day”. They referred only to “mid-December”, suggesting that they’re particularly pissed about one set of attacks.
            Do you have some other information from somewhere to suggest that this has been a regularly recurring incident?

          • http://cnreviews.com Kai

            It’s not about the hacking. The recent hacking attempt is, at best, just something that pushed Google over the edge. What put Google near the edge in the first place? It’s not the hacking. Google is susceptible to hacking no matter what. It isn’t as if them leaving China (or forcing China to make them leave) will suddenly protect them from hacking. They will still be hacked, whether it is for IP theft, persecution of human rights activists, or shits and giggles.

    • Zuo Ai

      “These idiots missed the point: How the fuck will that help anyone or anything? There will be only more censorship in China, the Chinese government will continue to employ hackers to hack into email accounts, and less competition means less innovation for everyone.”

      wow, can I borrow your time machine for a sec buddy? I wanna get the lotto numbers. You must be rich btw

  • Papito

    Can anyone help me point out the connection between being “cyber-attacked” and threatening to remove the censoring from your search engine?

    • mybestguess

      This is how I see it. Google’s message isn’t specifically saying that they were breached by the government, but it’s what they’re implying. (This article says the GFW accessed someone’s email: http://www.chinahush.com/2010/01/13/gmail-security-breach-want-some-proof/)

      So here’s the connection. Google is angry about this breach, and instead of saying “Don’t do that China! We’re leaving you!” They are making China leave them. By uncensoring google, google is saying that they aren’t going to play by China’s rules anymore. Now China has to block them rather than google just closing the website.

  • Papito

    People laying flowers at Google China headquarters in Wu Dao Kou: http://img.ly/mqZ

  • Papito

    By the way, who cares? I’m loading in on Baidu and Tencent stocks while I still can…

    • Mike Fish

      … not if you are a foreigner.

  • Jay K

    wudaokou has a lot of people right now. i jsut took a train from liu fang just to see the commotion, quite a few people out there.

  • Papito

    The Chief Design Officer of Baidu Reacts to Google’s Withdrawal from China

    “The tone of the top Google legal advisor disgusts me. He could have said that they are withdrawing for economic reasons, plain and simple. Instead, they have to make themselves look good by saying that Google was attacked by Chinese people, that Gmail accounts of Chinese dissidents were attacked, and so on in order to explain why they are withdrawing from China. This type of tone is an insult to the intelligence of the ordinary Chinese citizens. But it may just appeal to certain supercilious westerners who have never been to China, know nothing whatsoever about China but like to say criticize China all the same.”

    http://www.zonaeuropa.com/201001b.brief.htm#006

  • andeli

    Did anybody notices that China in August lost a WTO case to US on import of media products?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8198422.stm

    Google would be a benificary if/when this WTO ruling whould go in to effect. I still think this could be the US goverment telling the Chinese goverment, that if you don’t move in our direction, there is a trade war heading your way. The google case is good ammunition.

  • andeli

    By the way look up 没有 on google

  • Brandon

    Google representing justice, Google is saving our world,Baidu is sucha crap piece of shit, ugly design with weird thingy, By 852 represent.

  • mybestguess

    Lots of google’s value is based on consumer trust. If google were ever to lose that trust, its value would significantly decrease. Lots of articles are saying that google didn’t specifically accuse the government of the attempted breach, but it’s slightly implied. So part of the reason why google might be getting out is that they don’t want some big fiasco were foreign emails can be accessed. Google is still a business, and even though they might be trying to act “ethical”, this would hurt its bottom line.

    And of course there are other reasons google is pulling out. Google would stay if they saw it possible to make enough money to justify their business there, but their pie of the market is in decline and their operating costs are very high. Add in all the negative publicity from CCTV (look at Chinasmack’s other articles) and the new issue of Chinese author’s copyright (this has been big in the news every few days for the past month) and it can cause one to wonder if Baidu execs are making deals with News execs to smear google’s name.

    So basically google wants to protect their image of being safe and honest, and they feel it’s too hard to compete in the Chinese market.

    • Moderately Informed

      Too hard to compete? You mean like how there is no respect for copy rights, patents, or trade secrets?

      • mybestguess

        Basically. They’re trapped. If they start to follow practices of stealing code, secretly altering search results for compensation, or using connections to smear baidu, and then they get caught, their image in China and the West is hurt greatly.

        Meanwhile, these things happen to google. My claim is a little wild and maybe bullshit, but look at the recent big google book fiasco. For the past month, I’ve seen tons of articles on the China Daily about google being sued for book copyright infringement. Now how is this a smear? 1. I don’t believe readers of the news are interested in this, but it’s getting tons and tons of coverage in the media. 2. This came not long after the accusations of China showing porn. And as we saw on this website, netizens mocked CCTV and backed google. Google being the “moral” company is not good for baidu. 3. (this will sound Childish) Copyright infringement is making this big of a deal in China? This issue isn’t how its being portrayed. The same things have happened to author’s all over the world. Google publishes about 10 pages on their service and doesn’t show the rest (and yes, this is definitely a questionable practice), but the way it’s portrayed in the media is as if google is giving the entire book away online…

        So maybe there really are deals happening where news execs are being paid to smear google… (And I’ll say it again, I have no proof to back this up besides the reasons above)

        But really, any business decision is made based on many many reasons, and as this unfolds, we’ll better understand why google is leaving China.

        • Moderately Informed

          I have also heard about the book thing. My news station basically said they are trying to scan all the books into google but supposedly make it free access or something like that?

          On smearing, there will always be stuff like that going on, back door deals with the man in the trench coat to not say this or that. I’m personally just fed up with how China deals with foreign businesses be it copy right, trade marks, or from what happened to Google, outsourcing web attacks against foreign competitors.

          I would like to give Google the benefit of the doubt but that’s probably because being American, I’d give the American company a break.

          I will say though, I find what I’m looking for using google, more so than Bing. I can’t make heads or tails of their results.

      • akbar lo

        google knew all that shit and risks before signing up for the ball game

  • ShiXiangYun

    Wikileaks suggests that the real reason behind Google’s stance is that Chi-hackers have been targeting Google’s source code repositories. Pretty impressed with the Chinese response though. I get the impression that most of Google’s Chinese users are the urbanites – i.e. the money makers.

  • 250

    Oh god. Please don’t make me use Yahoo or, god forbid, Baidu!!

    Facebook and Youtube blocked and now Goggle pulling out. I’m still trying to get over that period when Wikipedia and BBC news was blocked! When will the madness end? Save me from the unholy trinity that is Renren, Youku and Baidu!

    Thank God for proxies. (Fauna, I can’t believe you missed your chance to promote your sponsor)

    [Note from Fauna: You're right! I have made an edit. Everyone who is worried about this news, perhaps it is really time to consider a VPN service like Freedur.]

  • http://www.southeast.devhub.com/laos sam

    google dont want to pay google adsense maybe hahaha

  • Goodness

    Good move Google! We applaud you decision.
    signed Human Rights Activists

    Yeah ditto.
    signed Baidu.com

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  • Charlie Bean

    This is only the beginning, steal business secrets and other issues regarding foreeign businesses and larger companies will follow. Is this what China wants, to have big company investments to leave?

  • LAOWAIXIAN

    HI I AM BAAAAAAAAAAACKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!
    WELL, does it matter? information is strictly controlled in china and google is a major source of information. WHAT USE IS GOOGLE IF when you need certain kinds of info the page wont open due to government blocking. HAVING google or not doesnt change a thing.

    • treasureisland

      YOUR SIGN-IN IS WHAAAAAAAAAAACKKKKKKKK!!!!

      • LAOWAIXIAN

        attention on the comment, my sign i ca take care. You come to read sign or comments?

  • dim mak

    See the different between East and West?

    On this issue:

    Westerners will point out human rights, morals and ethics first.

    Chinese will point out how much money Google would lose first.

    This is why China has the winning mentality.

    • Somethin Somethin

      Thats quite a Dim mentality. Westerners just feel like there is a bottom line in business and that line should include a basic level of decency. As a search engine and information rich corporation Google understood that it had a stake in freedom of speech. It had several other reasons to pull back: antitrust support, IP violations, etc. If your belief is that all Chinese people see in this is a dollar amount than you certainly don’t see past the edge of your nose.

      • dim mak

        Oh, that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying the Chinese put material profit and personal interest above morals and ethics, and Westerners do the opposite. A few Western friends I’ve spoken with didn’t even bring up the most important fact when it comes to Google’s decision: loss of profit. Instead they went on about how Google is setting a role model, how it was “about time”, and other unimportant things. And that, sir, is why we have the winning mentality. I’m sorry, but nice guys finish last.

  • bleah

    It seems to unreal to me to be true, the blog post seems to be too amateurish to be compelling, it does read like an offical press release. Which company of the size of Google would such an important blog post in such a style?

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  • ralphrepo

    There are clearly plenty of pros and cons to Google’s THREATENED move (it hasn’t happened yet) but the fact that the corporate office chose to express such an opinion is indeed a sea change. I find interesting the public expression of support by native Chinese citizens, while “pro-China” Chinese from overseas are quick to point out the potential windfall for Baidu. But the comment by one native Chinese respondent sort of crystalizes the thought, in which he writes:

    “Baidu is a puppet, Google finally rises up/stands up!”

    Thus, my observations have generally been, that while many overseas pro China Chinese choose to see Baidu as a home grown success story and viable contender for G’s seat; the people who’s arena they will serve consider them to be a shallow stooge of the Chinese government; that Google’s departure would be an actual loss. From the limited comments (as seen above), they seem to actually prefer Google not because it was a technically better or more advanced search engine (which it is, more later), but that Google would ultimately be a better chance of being an honest search utility over Baidu.

    Another thing that is not being discussed here is literally the rest of the world, and this is what I meant about Google being a more advanced search engine. While Baidu serves China and the Chinese reading diaspora, it is by no means on the same footing as Google in terms of international market penetration. Its integration of Google earth, Gmail, Google books, and other sundry features in many international languages is decidely an act that regional players like Baidu will find hard to replicate. Hence, while Baidu may eventually win the China contract, Chinese people would likely continue to see it as a poor man’s substitute for Google.

    IMHO, will Google’s move force the PRC to be less aggressive with its cyber snooping or bullying of foreign businesses in China? In the short term, absolutely, no. The CCP has too much at stake in terms of reputation to admit to any of the above. Further, it probably has more at risk socially if the truth of its shaded history is known to a wider range of the general populace (especially those born after 1989). So, for the immediate future there is little that is going to change. The PRC government is probably going to put its best face on and say something along the lines of Google failing the Chinese people (likely something over porn or something equally materially frivolous but politically resonant), and had been already told privately they were not going to be allowed back. Politically, this was a huge slap in the face of Zhongnanhai considering that Google is turning its back on potential billions in business to do it.

    My take? Let’s wait and see. But it certainly took a lot of gumption and I applaud Google’s new set of brass balls.

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  • Jean

    They are leaving because of loss of market share and profits. Two years ago, Baidu had a market share of 60% and Google, 15%. Now, Baidu has a market share of 80% and Google, 8%. If they really were concerned about human rights, hackings, and censorship, they should have protested when they had a market share of 15%-20%, Kai Fu Lee was president of Google China, and when they had much more leverage.

    Maybe Kai fu Lee knew Google China was coming to an end that’s why he left?

    • Teacher in China

      On CCTV9 this morning, they reported google had a 30% share. If they’re admitting to that, I’m not sure where your numbers are coming from. 30% of such a huge market (and a market that is just going to continue to grow exponentially) is still a huge amount of cash and opportunity for more cash to throw away.

      • Jean

        I just “baidued” about the possible reasons of Google exiting the Chinese market, check this out:

        http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/12/google%E2%80%99s-china-stance-more-about-business-than-thwarting-evil/

        You are right “Teacher in China” and “xmcx” about Google’s market share in China, their market share was over 30% and never as low as 8%. But the 30% market share was around 2008. You can check this website, it’s a news about Google vs Baidu two weeks before Google announced they were probably leaving China.

  • Alikese

    I’d be surprised if they hadn’t already made a behind the scenes deal.

  • FYIADragoon

    “The reasons provided by Google for the closing of their Chinese offices are rather vague if not unpersuasive.”

    The LZ must be an idiot if he can’t read between the lines that Google is trying to tell the government to back the fuck up and stop poking around for chances to harmonize activists who are using Google. Glad the netizens aren’t stupid enough to ignore the loss of a search engine that isn’t a pawn of the government.

    • B. Prichard

      I think what’s most interesting is what happens if Google genuinely closes down google.cn. My understanding (please correct me if I’m wrong) was that google.com had pretty good penetration in China before the .cn domain opened. Of course, sensitive search terms were still filtered out by the GFW.

      If Google pulls out, does the Chinese government start blocking google.com? Or does it return to the pre-.cn status quo? If google.com is blocked, I guess it’s time for me to start VPN shopping, since A9.com is not a search engine anymore.

  • Evangeline

    I only use google as search engine, it’s sad to see things like that must happen, but not surprisingly, if google not pull out by itself, it will be cut off the connection like millions of other websites to glory the harmony one day anyway.

  • Truth Hurts

    It is clear to see that the gov intentionally pushes /blocks these major players on the Internet to give a boost to its own domestic companies. All of these blocks in the name of censorship and the tiresome Tibet exposure is just a strategy to cripple these companies and pave way for copied Chinese version. Lets break this down to a science shall we:

    Youtube – blocked to give youku.com wide exposure to the Chinese and resulting in full market share of Internet videos and contents.

    Facebook – blocked to allow Kaixin001.com to dominate domestic market and market share.

    Google – cripples its service to motivate Chinese users to transfer to baidu services. Also baidu services attracted user through its free music download which google could not do without going through legal proceedings.

    This is virtual protectionism to say the least but packaged in different sorts of excuses to censor and choke off the competition.

    Now there will be no competition but also no competition will mean less truth and innovation which the country has barely started to scratch the service of.

    • dim mak

      Not to mention Blizzard.. eBay…

    • ralphrepo

      I think you’re generally right but, IMHO, you’re missing the bigger picture. The PRC isn’t making all these moves to be protectionist of home grown versus foreign companies; rather if you examine and review each of your above examples, they are all potential portals to uncensored news and information sources. THAT is the biggest perceived threat, not foreigner market share of the Chinese market.

  • Hongjian

    Got an interesting quote here:

    “In any case this has become blown up to the proportions of the Heroin smuggler now in western press if not even bigger. Google certainly scores a moral victory in the west. It is very hard for anyone to defend internet censorship even if Google made the pull out for business reasons it would not be rebuked for it given the grounds on principles. This puts the CCP in an awkward spot.

    The way Google has done this is to stop censoring google.cn not actually pull out. The ball is then in China’s court to actually kick them out, furthering the moral damage for China. On the other hand to yield even an inch to google or to do nothing would be unacceptable. Given how public Google has made the issue I just can’t see the Chinese government being in any mood to compromise.

    I wonder if that means google.cn is not censored right in China. It’s going to be interesting to see how deftly Beijing is going to manage this.”

    So, good old psy-ops, like in the 50′s.
    China is in a bad position, but one should not underestimate the political skills of a machiavellian technocracy.
    Also; facepalm at these naiive Chinese commenters there. Do they want the same kind of Civil War, thats happening in Iran now? If the CCP looses it’s power over the continous political mocking and psychological warfare of the West, nothing good will come from it.
    In a destabilized Yeltsin-China, the human-rights advocades and bloggers will have much more work to do, than under the celestial kingdom of today.

  • ybin

    I think I am speaking for a lot of Chinese people that while we are for freedom of speech (which is part of universal human rights), we are averse to the proselytization of “democracy” which is a particular way (Western way) of governance. So people (Hilary, Obama… )should probably stop talking about using technology to “promote democracy”. Apparently last week Eric Schmidt (CEO of google) discussed with Hilary the use of technology to “promote democracy”. Sticking to the discussion on the freedom of speech will strike a better chord with us.

    • Hongjian

      Yeah, this would be the ideal.

      But the reality is, when netizens get their ‘freedom of speech’ and reach their political goals, the government will be severely weakened. Considering the messy transition-phase China is at the moment, a loose of control in the country will only result in anarchy and chaos – maybe even a new civil war + famine. Ask your grandmother whether she liked the civil war and the starving. I guess not.

      In the end, the short happiness of ranting about liu-si, cultural revolution and corruption openly on the internet, will only turn into misery, when China turns into a second India, loosing everything that has been build up until now.

      This will, of course, be very well-liked by the western world, who are seeing this as proof for their Ideological and moral superiority – The West will always triumph over everyone and everything in the end.
      Dunno if this is that great.

      • ybin

        I share your sentiments on this. I am actually now on the fence about this drama. Freedom or Stability? I guess I want both. But that would be like having the cake and eating it too, at this stage. I guess one is now leaning towards stability.

        • andeli

          Still the issue of not accepting a “Western way” is somewhat strange given that the present system in China is created out of German/Soviet ideology.
          The means that China already works under one foreign created political system, which also means that it could work under another, say democracy in the constitutional based, regulatory state sense. Even now there are parts of the CCP who want interparty democracy. This shows that some in China knows this is the way to go, because a developmental state in the Friedrich List sense is not going to work forever.

          • Hongjian

            Actually, China nowadays doesent act according to the western way, If you mean that, by embracing capitalism.
            Chinese Capitalism is more like the renaissance Merkantilism, which is pretty much the natural economic system and hasnt anything to do with western culture of liberalism. China, during the imperial-time, also had an Merkantilist economic system coupled with an imperial dictatorship, which has nothing to do with the West.

            I just think that alot of Chinese netizens, who are advocating the ‘clamour of change’, are too naiive to see the inevitable consequences of such a change.

            China nowadays is like a damaged jumbo-jet, flying with one, smoking engine, while preparing an emergency landing. What the people in the West, and liberal netizens and dissents in China are advocating, is pretty much like when the passengers are rebelling against the cabin-crew and try to beat up the only capable pilot in the plane, only because they didnt like the tomato-juice they were serving.

            Just let the plane land safely. The passengers can complain afterwards.

          • ybin

            Pardon my ignorance. I am not sure exactly what a “constitutionally based, regulatory state” entails. But in my opinion, an ideal government should have the following qualities: rooted in pragmatism, with people’s well-being as the utmost priority, transparent, and believes in the rule of law. I refer to “Western democracy” in the narrower sense, whose core is the two-party (multi-party) system. I am hoping that the Communist Party can evolve (closely) into the ideal government that I described above and I will be happy with them in power perpetually. A benign authoritarian state, in other words.

            A Western democratic system may be attractive, in principle. But as one reply here rightly implies, when the democratic power falls in the hand of the un-educated and un-informed, chaos and anarchy will ensue. I shuddered to read the report in Nov 09 that a Phillipine southern clan massacred its political rivalries (57 of them) in the contest for provincial governorship. Democracy works best where the majority of the population is well educated and informed. That is not where China is now.

        • Somethin Somethin

          It’s what everyone wants. Welcome to the free world. People in Detroit would love it, if somehow the government could solve all their employment problems. Just like those factory workers in Shandong were looking to the CCP last year. Chinese people love all the shit we in the West have fought and died for over centuries. Google(while you still can) the 30 years war sometime or who Cromwell was. when you think about how easy it is being free. Democratic government is the worst kind of government until you’ve tried all the other ones. (Churchill)
          I’ve heard what both of you have said from countless Chinese mouths. I want freedom and stability and I don’t know if freedom is really worth all that blood and carnage. Can’t say from a chinese urbanite’s perspective those 700 million hungry mouths, a few million occupied peoples, and an out of control military would make me feel like lighting the torch of Liberty. Hell it would probably turn me against it toward any source of stability. I could even sell myself on being real nationalistic because that stability made me stronger. In the end though chinese people are just like any human being. They want safety, stability, and that pursuit of happiness thingy. Can’t say that all of those things come from a one party system, but hey for SOME people they do.

      • Josh

        I love how you’re essentially connecting the dots and saying uncensored internet => famine and war.

        If you look up the words “slippery slope” on wikipedia, it tells you that it’s a logical fallacy. Think about it.

        • Hongjian

          Then you obviously know nothing about China and its system of censorship.

          Chinese Internet censorship is actually not throughout airtight. People who really want to see forbidden stuff, can do it with VPN-services and proxies. Also, lots of foreign news pages and foreign websites in other languages beside Chinese are mostly uncensored in China. One just has to search in google.com and not in google.cn. So the government already knows and accepts that the great firewall is not 100% effective for people with a certain degree of education, since the language barrier is the greates and most effective form of censorship.
          What the CCP wants is just that the uneducated masses cant have easy access to critical content and get on stupid ideas about overthrowing the government. Those who are smart enough to tunnel past it are probably sophisticated enough to think critically about what they find anyway.
          In this sense, the GFW is more like a Dam; holding off water, but still letting some through.

          That said, a free internet is indeed a source of instability, if being used by ill-minded people, to spread subversive information to the uneducated masses.
          Evidently, the Iranian riots last year where heavily influenced by posts in twitter and facebook, lots of them originating from foreign members, inciting more chaos and instability. It is known, that the US government was heavily involved in these cases of destabilizing Teheran.
          So seeing this, of course China, who knows this, dont want that same game being played with them.

          A destabilizing campaign, spread in the internet by the help of the CIA, sure will result into the overthrowal of the CCP. With the CCP down, there will be a large power vaccum to fill and China will most probably fall into Chaos. Civil War will most probably break out, when Tibet and Xingjiang are using the chance to declare independence, while they are driving the ‘Han-invaders’ with pogroms out of ‘their land’. And when China descents into a Civil War, the whole economy wil crumble and the already unsufficient agriculture wont be able to support 1.3 bilion hungry mouthes.

          But lets look on the bright side: China will be a ‘democracy’ with ‘human rights’ (Of course only for those not starved to death or killed in riots), arousing the sympathy of the west and can be proud to be able to host UN peacekeepers in the Country, in an attempt to stop the several genocides that will be happening by then.

          I think I should call my family in China, that they should begin to hoard food and ammunition.

          • Hongjian

            This will be hard… Corruption in China is not like corruption in the West. Chinese corruption is embedded in the chinese culture and society. The daily low-level corruption, that is the base and source, is very hard, if not impossible, to defeat, since it draws from the extensive, cultural-based, guangxi-networks every Chinese has build up in his/her life, according to the cultural, societal traditions.

            If corruption, which is in fact the very core of almost every Chinese social problem since ancient times, must be effectively combatted, China needs lunatic mass-murderers like Mao or Qin Shihuang again, who are implementing hardcore legalism with collective executions of the corruptors family and extensive brainwashing campaigns, akin to the cultural revolution, with the aim to radically ‘change’ the Chinese culture and family values, which is the essential source of corruption. An emperor/politician like this, would certainly be the ‘massiah’.

            Nowadays, with a China that is working along the inherited commandments of Deng Xiaoping, the accumulation of power in a single person, neccessary for such a messiah, has become impossible. If there’s a idealist politician and party chairman nowadays, who wants to radically change the course of China, he would certainly be sacked by competing members of the politburo. To fight corruption and social misery, China needs to be an totalitarian dictatorship, with a single, omnipotent dictator again. But China nowadays is more an authoritarian oligarchy, consisting of competing officials with competing interersts, who are all based on the existence of corruption.

            If China becomes a democracy, the power to change something, will even be more fragmented by political parties, engaging themselves in a endless, chaotic fight for power. China would be like India then, where corruption and poverty is even more rampant than in the worst chinese province. But at least Chinese PR would be better in the world then. The west likes poverty stricken and chaotic, but democratic third world countries after all, since they dont need to fear them as future competitors.

  • JUH

    Some Google.CN refugees will probably end up in Google.TW and Google.HK. I think this is also part of the reason why pulling out wouldn’t be that bad.

  • Research

    There’s another aspect that people might overlook here, I’ll point it out. One of the best thing of having Google, and Microsoft for that matter, setting up office in China is that both Google and Microsoft have two of the strongest computing research center in the world. MSR and Google research have two of the best research labs in the world (Yahoo research as well, as they hire some of the most famous computer scientist in the world, such as Andre Boarder and Andrew Tomkins).
    You see, here’s the pink elephant in the room …….It’s kind of known to computer scientists that researchers from Chinese Universities, and that includes PhD students, master students and even professors, they arn’t too good at writing quality research papers, and doing good research. This includes even Universities like Pekking and Fudan (Tsinghua over the past year had improved dramatically due the fact that they hired Andy Yao, one of the most respected theoretical computer scientist in the world, as the director, so Tsinghua is excluded)

    The fact that Google and MSR sets up research lab in China, it’s helping a lot of the researchers and PhD students in China to learn to do proper research. As Google’s research lab in China is suuuuuuuper hard to get into, you pretty much have to fight against the other thousands of PhD students from China that wants to get in every month.

    If Google leaves China, this means that a lot of computer scientists and PhD students will not have a place that can train them to become a good researcher. Research in China will suffer because of it. And if it follows that MSR is closing it’s research lab, then China will pretty much loose two of the strongest research lab in the country, as Baidu don’t really have research labs.

    So Google’s helping China to train researchers, and it leaves China, advance education in China will suffer.

    • 水溶C100

      Good point,

      However I’ve always been under the impression that the Chinese government doesn’t care in any way, shape, or form about the quality of education. Simply that it is availible is more than enough.

      Thoughts?

      • Research

        I’m not sure, they might start to care in the future when there is a dramatic drop of Chinese researchers getting their papers published in international conference. I mean right now the method is simply “there are 1000 papers submitted from Chinese Universities to this International conference, but 1 will get in”.

  • DevelopingChina

    Be ruled by a government with a strong grip on information content or be ruled by a fat cat corporation.

    That is the question…………

    • Research

      Google is hardly corporate fat cats. I mean yes, it’s a large corporation, however it’s got some of the hippest, most trendy and innovative people working there. Also they worked as very loose but creative teams. It really doesn’t have this “evil big corporation with one man controlling it all (Bill Gates)” kind of a thing going. The “men” that “control” google is Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who are just two nerds, who still do lots of research, and arn’t really that wealthy or powerful, like they still lead research teams and work on projects like everyone else that works there.
      I’m of course talking about Google in CA, I don’t know about the offices in China

      • DevelopingChina

        I would agree on you with that now that you mention Google like that. However letting the government give permission to Google to do what it pleases just for the sake of fulling it’s “company motto” could spark a chain reaction with other corporations who could might follow suit to fulfill their motto.

        Unfortunately most of the corporations trying to break into China are probably fat cat corporations. It’s all assumption about what might happen if the government did allow Google to give unlimited access. It could actually be a good thing or even the total opposite.

  • MD

    People… Listen up… The Chinese government is very experienced at handling these kind of issues, In fact they’ve handled those that are hundred times worse… They know they have the upper hand and they know there’s nothing anyone can do about it… For the chinese netizens, it’s either Baidu or Sina or others… or NOTHING! It’s ur choice… No one is forcing you to use the internet, but if you choose to use, then there will only be Baidu, Sina, and others…

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