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Posted on Sun, Mar. 28, 2010 10:15 PM
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Google’s strategy in China deserves praise

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When Google declared it would stop censoring its China-based search engine, the initial reaction from China was fairly measured. But soon a strident editorial appeared in the People’s Daily amid signs Beijing was pressuring businesses to abandon Google.

Google is going to pay a heavy price for its move, which is why it deserves praise for refusing to censor its service in China.

The company has begun directing queries that are made to its China-based service over to uncensored servers in Hong Kong.

Mainland users still have to go through China’s Web filter, which rakes out anything politically sensitive or pornographic. But Google’s move was a clever one: It shifted the censorship role from the company to the government.

Beijing then played its next card. Fewer companies placed ads with Google. Industry sources said the company’s revenue was falling and some of its Chinese business ties were unraveling.

The People’s Daily commentary preposterously claimed Google was in league with U.S. intelligence agencies and its Hong Kong shift was only a tactic by America’s Internet warriors, who are preparing for “Internet war.”

It’s a depressing message to potential investors in China, from a government that desperately seeks to be perceived as “modern” — but, when pressed, can’t help revealing its true nature.

Posted on Sun, Mar. 28, 2010 10:15 PM
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