Google v China: Battle of the blogs
The Google v China battle is fascinating. The company's blog post last night on "A new approach to China" made for startling reading. It's a key episode in the history of the search firm, of China's relationship with the West, and of the web's development as a supposed engine of freedom and self-expression.
And just to be clear on one point, while I found I could get access to terms like Falun Gong on the google.cn site from London this morning, Google tell me they have not stopped censoring search results in China yet. "We are continuing to operate within the law".
You'll probably have seen my colleague Robert Peston's take on the story where he made the excellent point that Baidu, a Chinese firm, is the giant in search there, not Google. But have a look at this - the extraordinary reaction on Baidu's blog to Google's move. It's turning into a battle of the blogs:
On Google Quitting China
"Google claims it will quit China. What it's proved is not what the Google fans have claimed, that Google is a 'Human Rights fighter'. Just the contrary. It's proved that Google is a hypocrite.
"What the Google Chief Legal Adviser said makes me sick. To quit for the sake of financial interest, then just say it. To beauty itself up and ostensibly mention that Google comes under attack by the Chinese, and that Gmail boxes of Chinese dissidents have been breached, and to use all these as a pretext for quitting China, such tone is insulting the intelligence of the ordinary Chinese people. However, it may well satisfy the imagination of those Westerners who have never been to China and understood nothing of China but still like to point fingers at China.
"Let's put forward one supposition: Would Google top executives still proclaim that they would 'do no evil' and quit China, if Google has now taken 80% of China's search market?
"The only feeling the whole episode has left me is nausea."