The Chinese goverment needs to stop browbeating Google

23 03 2010

Earlier this year, Google announced that they would stop filtering their Internet search results for the Chinese market, a request made by the Chinese government. This came after a massive attack on Google’s US-based Gmail servers which was likely an attempt by the Chinese government to get information about Chinese dissidents and human rights activists.

In the past few days, Google has moved its operations and personnel from mainland China to the less restrictively-governed Hong Kong. Google.cn will now redirect to google.com.hk.

Naturally, the Chinese government is not too thrilled about this move and even called it “the wrong choice.” Well, I’m sorry, but that’s not really your decision, is it? If Google doesn’t really want to put up with filtering results in your country while at the same time trying to sell themselves as one of the greatest research tools in history, then that is their call. The decision that the Chinese government made is to censor the Internet. They can block Google at any time.

What I found truly bizarre in all of this is that the Chinese people, at least according to the general portrayal of events in the media, actually feel sorry for Google, which confused and frustrated me a bit. Google is going out on a limb here and trying to provide uncensored material to you and feel sorry for them? I do not get it.

Good for Google. I completely agree with their decision here. The Internet was never meant to be censored by anyone, individual or government. A free and open Internet benefits everyone. Hopefully, the Chinese government will someday see the light and lift its restrictions on freedom of speech and information.

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