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[liberationtech] Google Bows Down To Chinese Government On Censorship

Karl Fogel kfogel at
Wed Jan 9 13:01:50 PST 2013

Maxim Kammerer <mk at> writes:
>On Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 8:50 AM, Martin Johnson <greatfire at> wrote:
>> This latest move was fully controlled by Google and can as such only be described as self-censorship.
>The impression I am getting from my contacts at Google is that this is
>not true. That is, Google apparently lost to Chinese Cyber experts in
>being able to keep this censored keywords system up, and decided to
>drop it altogether. PR team then, for whatever other reasons, decided
>to keep complete silence on the subject.
>Of course, one can then ask why didn't Google simply force HTTPS on
>Chinese users to begin with, but they probably considered complete
>block of Google by GFC too real a possibility, and were too afraid to
>lose market share.

[not directed at Maxim, just a general thought on this topic]

Rushes to judge Google about its handling of China should probably be
tempered by the knowledge what the Chinese government really wants is to
push local companies like Baidu.  The government's protectionist policy
for Chinese web & technology companies just happens to mesh nicely with
their censorship policy in this case.

So if Google pushes too hard, the overall result will just be to give
more market share to Baidu, which doesn't really help the cause of
freedom for Chinese Internet users either.

Google's executives understand this very well.  There's a good argument
to be made that the things they could do to look brave and principled
are not the things that would actually help information freedom in China
in the long run.

Please note that I'm not making a "shades of gray" point, just a
"complexity" point.


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