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Jan 13

Google – A New Approach to China

Written by Steve on Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 at 1:25 am
Filed under:-mini-posts, economy, human rights, media, News, politics, technology | Tags:, , , , , , , , ,
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Google issued a press release on their blog just a few hours ago pertaining to their operation in China. It is big news and will take some time to digest. I don’t want to comment, just get the story out. 

A new approach to China

1/12/2010 03:00:00 PM

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.

We have already used information gained from this attack to make infrastructure and architectural improvements that enhance security for Google and for our users. In terms of individual users, we would advise people to deploy reputable anti-virus and anti-spyware programs on their computers, to install patches for their operating systems and to update their web browsers. Always be cautious when clicking on links appearing in instant messages and emails, or when asked to share personal information like passwords online. You can read more here about our cyber-security recommendations. People wanting to learn more about these kinds of attacks can read this U.S. government report (PDF), Nart Villeneuve’s blog and this presentation on the GhostNet spying incident.

We have taken the unusual step of sharing information about these attacks with a broad audience not just because of the security and human rights implications of what we have unearthed, but also because this information goes to the heart of a much bigger global debate about freedom of speech. In the last two decades, China’s economic reform programs and its citizens’ entrepreneurial flair have lifted hundreds of millions of Chinese people out of poverty. Indeed, this great nation is at the heart of much economic progress and development in the world today.

We launched Google.cn in January 2006 in the belief that the benefits of increased access to information for people in China and a more open Internet outweighed our discomfort in agreeing to censor some results. At the time we made clear that “we will carefully monitor conditions in China, including new laws and other restrictions on our services. If we determine that we are unable to achieve the objectives outlined we will not hesitate to reconsider our approach to China.”

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.

The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard, and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today. We are committed to working responsibly to resolve the very difficult issues raised.

Posted by David Drummond, SVP, Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer


There are currently 15 comments highlighted: 58171, 58208, 58299, 58306, 58382, 58444, 58464, 58662, 58772, 58855, 58856, 58875, 58903, 66722, 66834.

272 Responses to “Google – A New Approach to China”

  1. Chops Says:

    Google may be been hacked and its exit may benefit Baidu, but even Baidu isn’t immune to attacks.

    Looks like there’s a cyberwar going on between China and Iran.

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0ed1d424-ffe2-11de-ad8c-00144feabdc0,dwp_uuid=7f5f6b12-2f66-11da-8b51-00000e2511c8,print=yes.html

  2. Nimrod Says:

    To quote a comment on a Chinese BBS, “Google being unable to compete against Baidu (in China), is using this poor excuse as a way to exit the China market…” and another, “Ever since Lee Kai-Fu left Google, it was over for Google China, poor employees of Google China, they have been played.”

    To me, the statement released by Drummond sounds very political, even shrill, and since of late there hasn’t been any personnel changes that I know of at Google’s US headquarters, where these decisions are supposed to have been made, I would tend to agree with the above assessment that it is a business decision over failure in China, written up in a way as to not anger Google shareholders.

  3. pug_ster Says:

    The problem is that google probably doesn’t want to hand over the 2 dissidents account information to the Chinese government. I don’t think google wants to be in the same situation as with Jerry Yang going in front of the congressional committee and explain why they had to give up account information of some dissident a few years back. Ultimately, google being in the information business are caught in the middle between China’s and the West’ information war. It is sad, but unavoidable.

  4. miragecity Says:

    Sure it will come back. Capitalism only care about profits.

  5. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Interesting story. Since it’s hot off the presses, hopefully there will be more info forthcoming.

    THe second half of the release essentially acknowledges that it is a business decision as much as anything else. Whether Google simply can’t compete with Baidu in China, or whether the environment made it difficult for them to compete with Baidu in China, who knows.

    It doesn’t look like Google is obligated to do anything wrt the CHinese government at this point. In fact, since the attack was anonymous and not yet traced, there’s no implication that the Chinese government has or had any interest in whatever info may or may not have been hacked.

  6. justkeeper Says:

    It doesn’t seem to me that the business side of the thing is the major issue here. Google China under Dr Kaifu Li was widely considered to be quite a success within the IT circle, whether Google China is facing brain drain or human resource crisis is another seperate issue. The three possible reasons for their quit I have in my mind right now are:

    1. The censorship boss(possibly a new one) is playing hard again, and this time with the intention of forcing Google to quit. Considering the many attacks launched against it recently, (pornography, copyrights of Chinese authors, etc), this is very likely.

    2. Someone in Google’s management have got nuts into their brains, this is not very likely.

    3. Dr LKaifu Li’s resignation leads to a human resource crisis which makes the current Google China unmaintenable.

    In any case, I would strongly suggest the correct action to take is to support the existence of the currently censored google.cn in China., which itself helps greatly in making google.com, google reader,etc, within access(albeit not unfettered) of common Chinese people. Closing down this site will nearly inevitably lead to the deterioration of atmosphere of network speech in China(the new attacks against google, whether against its copyright protection practices or huamn right activists’ Gmail accounts, may very well end up being lures of censorship authority).

  7. Nimrod Says:

    Agree with #6 that it would not be healthy for Baidu to become a monopoly in China.

  8. Chops Says:

    Tiananmen ‘Tank Man’ photo now uncensored on Google china

    http://news.smh.com.au/action/printArticle?id=1035229

    Chinese government seeking information on Google intentions

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2010-01/13/content_12804080.htm

  9. arsent Says:

    Doesn’t really matter.. people use Google.COM all the time and not Google.cn

  10. Raj Says:

    The argument that this is about money doesn’t make any sense as Google still has a significant market share in China. If it was about money they’d just carry on as normal, maybe trying to suck up to the government and censors more than they’ve done previously.

    It seems that this is about pressure, either that the hack attempts are starting to jepordise their business or that they’re being pushed too much on censorship and generally being expected to dance to the tune of officials whose own authority to demand information can be regarded as dubious. Whether that is deliberately orchestrated in the hope Google will quit is hard to say, but the effect is the same.

    I think it’s better if Google calls it a day, unless somehow (very unlikely) the Chinese government does a U-turn on the issues Google feels must be addressed.

  11. pug_ster Says:

    @Chops #1

    BTW, the so called ‘cyberattack’ in baidu.com didn’t affect baidu.com’s website. Rather, someone had hacked the dns records pointing baidu.com to some other ip address.

  12. Nimrod Says:

    Here is another article on the same. “Google’s China stance more about business than thwarting evil.”

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

    Raj, it’s more or less the same thing. It’s about whether Google China can succeed in China, and part of doing so means conforming to Chinese business norms like a local company. It is making an appeal now that it doesn’t know how.

    As the article points out, the bigger picture is, as China becomes economically more advanced, more and more of the Chinese business practices may spread outwards (think Huawei, which already hires in Silicon Valley). I’m not saying that’s necessarily a good thing, as people are accustomed to Western business practices and some Chinese practices and values are even disliked by the Chinese. However, it is just another form of culture shock for people who think just learning the Chinese language is all it takes to interact with the future China … it isn’t.

  13. Steve Says:

    Here’s an article from the Atlantic Wire that sums up the various reactions to this announcement, including some that have already been posted here:

    Why Did Google Threaten to Quit China?
    By Heather Horn on January 13, 2010 10:13am

    Google’s decision to stop censoring its Chinese portal in response to December cyber attacks is rocking technology, business, and foreign policy commentators. Google anticipates that this could mean shutting down its Chinese operations entirely–a startling suggestion given the size of the market. So is Google serious? While some applaud the stand against censorship and government bullying, others say the move could be a cynical public relations stunt or a canny retreat from a tough market.

    * ‘Last Straw’ “For years,” explains The Atlantic’s China and tech expert James Fallows, “the company has struggled to maintain the right path in China,” obeying local law despite difficulties and criticism over censorship. But clearly “the latest wave of provocations and intrusions was simply too much.”

    * Business Considerations TechCrunch’s Sarah Lacy thinks this may have been “as much about business” as human rights. “Google’s business is not doing well in China,” she points out, and “Google is ready to burn bridges. This is not how negotiations are done in China, and Google has done well enough there to know that … If Google were indeed still working with the government this letter would not have been posted because it has likely slammed every door shut.” So what’s the point? “This was a scorched earth move, aimed at buying Google some good will in the rest of the world.” She points out that Yahoo may have “played China far better,” opting out of direct competition in a country it “wouldn’t win” and instead bought “nearly 40% of Alibaba, a company that very definitely knows how to grow in China.”

    * The Good Cyberwar Fight The Guardian’s Charles Arthur is optimistic about Google’s sincerity: “The internet giant has declared cyberwar on the world’s biggest nation. Who would be brave enough to take on more than a billion people? But the method it has chosen is to flood them with the resource that is so plentiful: the world’s information.” ZDNet’s James Farrar likewise prefers to think that Google’s is a “principled stand … such bravery is sadly all too rare.” The Big Money’s Chris Thompson calls this “Google’s finest moment.”

    * A Strategy to Save Face? “I’m waiting,” writes Richard at Peking Duck, “for the conspiracy theorists who claim this is google’s creative strategy for exiting China, where things never went quite the way they expected, while making them look like the victim instead of the loser.” The Atlantic’s Marc Ambinder points to a slightly wackier theory: “Some folks are suggesting that Google is attempting to cover for the flood of complaints that its new Nexus One phone has received. That’s not likely.” Yet at Foreign Policy, Evgeny Morozov is also, he himself admits “cynical,” suggesting “Google was in need of some positive PR to correct its worsening image (especially in Europe, where concerns about privacy are mounting on a daily basis). Google.cn is the goat that would be sacrificed, for it will generate most positive headlines and may not result in devastating losses to Google’s business.”

    * Can Google Possibly Follow Through? “The common assumption,” point out Jessica Vascellaro, Jason Dean, and Siobhan Gorman for the Wall Street Journal, “is that no matter how onerous the limitations and challenges faced by foreign companies in China, the market is too big to walk away from.” Companies that withdrew after Tiananmen “mostly came back.”

    * Yes: Here’s Why Though the threat to shut down China operations “looks like sheer business lunacy,” begins ZDNet’s Larry Dignan, it’s worth pointing out that “Google’s currency is user trust,” violated in the case of the Chinese attacks. Breaches of trust in China, he argues, “can hurt Google’s other businesses,” while “Google doesn’t have as much to lose in China”–he, like others, points out that China is “one of Google’s weakest markets.” He also adds that, while the “threat to leave … may be a bluff,” there’s also potential “regulatory payoff” in the U.S. and E.U.

    The Debate

    * The Google News James Fallows, The Atlantic
    * Google Sends Shockwave Charles Arthur, The Guardian
    * What It Means Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic
    * Dramatic News Richard, The Peking Duck
    * Google Warns of China Exit Jessica Vascellaro, Jason Dean and Siobhan Gorman, The Wall Street Journal
    * Does It Make Sense? Larry Dignan, ZDNet
    * Bravo! James Farrar, ZDNet
    * Doubting the Sincerity Evgeny Morozov, Foreign Policy
    * Google’s Finest Moment Chris Thompson, The Big Money

  14. Nimrod Says:

    Local reporters interview in front of the Google building in Beijing. Some woman put flowers and card there saying “Google, Bai Bai [sic]” and another reading “Thank you.”

    Left out in the discussion is what kind of hacking took place or did not take place. There are many rumors flying on the Chinese BBS at this time about who the alleged “users who advocate human rights” are, with some saying they are Xinjiang separatists. Comparisons were also made to the USA PATRIOT Act and wiretapping. Another report that mentions a recent meeting between Secretary of State Clinton and Google, Microsoft, Cisco, and Twitter also puts a significant geopolitical spin on this, alluding to the possibility that this is part of a coordinated action over the continued ability of the US government to propagandize in China.

    Some of Google China’s branches reportedly got paid days off, and limited access rights to Google internal resources.

  15. Allen Says:

    Why all the commotion? If I were a meat packing plant that focuses on selling pork, I probably won’t be able to do my businesses too well in Muslim countries. If I am a seafood company that focuses on clams and shellfish, I probably won’t do too well in Jewish communities.

    If Google finds China an inhospitable place to do business. It should withdraw. Why make a stand trying to sell pork to Muslims or crustaceans to Jews?

    When Pizza hut and Kentucky goes into China – they tailor-made their menu to local tastes – in conformance with local culture and norms. I hope Google remains Google wherever it goes. But if Google can’t hack it in Wild Wild West China – I suggest Google leave. It shouldn’t be a political or ideological decision. Should be a simple business decision.

    Of course, I personally prefer Google stays. It’s not a Chinese vs. Western thing. It’s just that having Google in China will – through the process of competition – create a stronger overall Chinese Internet market – which will benefit the Chinese consumer and the Chinese nation in the long run.

    Find it interesting that this story should come so fast after this one http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/technology/companies/12google.html

  16. dewang Says:

    Hi Allen, #15,

    I completely agree.

    Also, the way Google has responded to its copyright infringements against Chinese authors has been way too cocky in my opinion.

    Xinhua also has an article on this:
    “China seeks clarity on Google’s intentions”
    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-01/14/content_9316514.htm

    At the end of the article is a quote from a researcher affiliated with the China Center for Information Industry Development:

    “The Chinese market welcomes competition, but maybe Google should also think more about adapting to China, rather than just working in its US way without flexibility,” Liu said.

  17. Nimrod Says:

    Quoted from here:

    Why only subject lines? If the attackers could get access to subject lines, why couldn’t they access entire e-mails? Apparently because the hackers infiltrated automated systems set up to provide such information to law enforcement in the US and elsewhere. (Getting access to the contents of e-mail messages is harder under US law than getting access to addresses, subject lines, etc, which are considered to be on the “outside of the envelope” and subject to pen register searches).

    According to a Macworld source, “Right before Christmas, it was, ‘Holy s—, this malware is accessing the internal intercept [systems].’” Later, Google cofounder Larry Page supervised a Christmas Eve meeting on the security breach.

    Fun fact: Google’s security team managed to penetrate one of the servers being used by the attackers, which was how the full extent of the attack—more than 30 companies—was revealed.
    —–

    So basically the US was snooping on Gmail, thought it was alone, and found that hey, so was China.

    No wonder Hillary is pissed. Intelligence was stolen. And in retaliation, Hillary tells Google to uncensor embarrassing results in China?

  18. rolf Says:

    The Chief Design Officer of Baidu Reacts to Google’s Withdrawal from China (01/13/2010)

    Google announced that it will withdraw from China. This does not show that Google is a “human rights warrior” as promoted by their fans. It proved precisely that Google is a profiteer.

    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.

    I will simply offer one hypothesis. If Google holds a 80% share of the search engine market in China, will the Google senior managers announce that they will withdraw from China because they “do no evil” in such a high profile manner?

    http://www.zonaeuropa.com/weblog.htm

  19. Cissy Says:

    There is another theory, more dramatic though. Yesterday, people found out that, after Google took off its filtering on words like “6.4″ “Tian’anmen square”, seems Baidu and Sougo were doing the same thing. I did click on the links to verify the claim was true at that moment, although not any more later. Hard to believe Baidu would take risks to support its rival. Could that mean Baidu has always been hooking on the Google search engine, just did some re-picking/re-sorting on results? And google used this trick to gain evidence? If so, that would be very very interesting.

  20. pug_ster Says:

    Allen, Dewang,

    I agree with you that google is not complying laws in China. I’m sure that China and google have spats over the past few months from youtube, censorship of porn, book copyright issue and now this. The problem is that google has an attitude that they think they can run their business in China the same way as they do in the US except for some minor modifications. Yet people can abuse google’s search engine and get search results like this.

    http://images.google.cn/images?hl=zh-CN&source=hp&q=tianamen%20square&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi

  21. Raj Says:

    Allen (15)

    If Google finds China an inhospitable place to do business. It should withdraw. Why make a stand trying to sell pork to Muslims or crustaceans to Jews?

    I didn’t realise that Chinese internet users find the idea of a politically uncensored web that abhorant. Or maybe they feel whatever the CCP thinks is right – thank God the Party is there to decide what’s good and bad for them!

  22. Allen Says:

    I have been putting my business and technological and legal hats on – trying to think from Google’s perspective. Perhaps it is Google’s intent to pull out of the Chinese jurisdiction but not Chinese market. Here would be the thinking.

    Suppose Google is confident enough that its search result is much better than Baidu’s on a world wide scale. Suppose Chinese users do desire to access knowledge all over the world – not just in China (in Chinese). Suppose Google can successfully wean Chinese google users from goole.cn to google.com and grow its Chinese market that way. Suppose demand for google.com is so strong that it is not feasible for the Chinese gov’t to simply block google.com. If all this is true: then perhaps Google is really trying to pursue a new business model – whereby it can access the Chinese market but not subject itself to Chinese jurisdiction – all through promoting google.com.

    What do people think?

  23. Jimmy Says:

    What I do find abhorant is that Google decided to run from the information war in China and then market it as a right move in promoting freedom of expression.

    How does Google plan to promote free access to information in China if it yield all of its market share to the semi-govenment controlled Baidu ? Nag the Commuists to death? Pushing trade sanctions and hoping the suffering of the Chinese people will make the CCP listen to reasons? It’s not a noble act for Chinese freedom, it’s a bugout equal in to the magnitude of the Longest Retreat in American Military History. Frankly it’s just one of many half-assed efforts and bugouts by Westerners to promote freedom in China, including Treaty of Versailles, Chang’s Junta, Korean War and June 4th.

    It’s hell lot easier to talk freedom than to fight for freedom, and Google is taking the easy way out.

  24. dewang Says:

    Hi Allen, #22,

    I had late lunch today with a friend and we were speculating the same. I read Google’s google.cn servers are located outside of China. So, it makes no sense for Google to keep Chinese content on google.cn. It mind as well keep everything on google.com. That being the case, it is much cheaper and less controversial to let the Chinese government do the filtering. Google spends nothing with respect to China’s local laws.

    Exiting out of google.cn with a publicity stunt like this buys Google a lot of brownie points – which it desperately needs right now facing regulatory action especially in Europe. The copyright infringement blemish can use some diversion too.

    Google fearing hackers from China on behalf of a group of human rights activists? That’s ridiculous.

    It’s also absurd thinking the Chinese government would resort to hacking Google.cn to get information. Why not simply serve up some subpoenas at Google’s China office?

  25. justkeeper Says:

    Haveing been a long time loyal user of Google services, I would call Google a hypocrite (or maybe, a coward)this time after it cites censorship and human rights as one of the main reasons for their showdown with CCP government. It speaks as if it doesn’t know that the mere existence of a censored google.cn ensures dozens of millions of Chinese network users(they have 33% search market share in China last year, that translates to about 50 million regular users) have access(albeit not unfettered) to google.com, Gmail, Google Reader, Google Doc, etc. With Google China gone, most of of these services will very likely be “harmonized”, and I would like to ask what good it’s going to do for the promotion of freedom of specch and information in China if all these services are gone? And no, I don’t buy into the excuse that they only find out the censorship is insufferable after they have been here for 4 years, and their business presence is stronger than ever here. The only thing obvious to me is that they don’t give a dime about their 50 millions strong user-base here, heck, they even want to give it up for some good reputations elsewhere.

  26. scl Says:

    Allen #22,

    Maybe entering China is a mistake for google from the beginning. I remember reading an article at http://rconversation.blogs.com/rconversation/ , although I do not remember exactly which one. It was about the internet and the stability of Chinese government. Anyway, it was mentioned in that article that 90% Chinese can get around the Great Fire Wall and access anything they want by using a proxy. Most people in China do not bother to use proxy, because they think that they have almost anything they want from Chinese sites. This lack of interest in using proxy, in some westerner’s words, is “Chinese apathy”, and such behavior limits internet’s influence in China.

  27. scl Says:

    According to http://www.techcrunch.com/2010/01/13/google-v-baidu-it%E2%80%99s-not-just-about-china/ , the google move might have something to do with the future competition between Baidu and google in the global market.

  28. brad Says:

    @Jimmy #23

    “What I do find abhorant is that Google decided to run from the information war in China and then market it as a right move in promoting freedom of expression.”

    Very well said. The western media has no sense of shame. It always amazes me.

  29. brad Says:

    @ Allen #22

    Not likely. Google is in a mess in China and desparate in need to to find out a graceful exit strategy. In addition, most Chinese don’t speak English. Google.com is not much useful to Chinese.

  30. justkeeper Says:

    @brad: Actually they have grabbed 33% of Chinese searching market share and is doing better than ever.

  31. Anon Says:

    There is some really faulty thinking going on here. Many people seem to be making the following argument:

    CCP restricts the internet —> Google will leave —> CCP will restrict the internet even more —> Google is awful.

    Take a second and look again. Who is doing the restricting? Who is controlling what people see? Who is talking down to a population of over a billion, deciding what they can and can’t access? The Chinese Government. NOT Google. Google’s motives are irrelevant, though I don’t believe they are financial – even 30% of the Chinese market is huge. The fact is that the censorship going on is wrong, and very distasteful to the vast majority of people, both foreign and Chinese. The CCP is the one and only cause of that censorship.

    People are attacking Google because they are afraid or embarrassed to admit the real source of the problem (Baidu’s statement is a perfect example of this). Ordinary people need this. They need to see someone – even Google – standing up and speaking out against what is wrong. I believe you will see a lot of support among the Chinese for this.

  32. Jimmy Says:

    @ 31

    Your logic is also faulty -> it is Google who decided to leave, and the Chinese government did not ask them to leave. Google has the choice to stay in China and offer free access information to Chinese while fighting the censorship. Instead it said to the Chinese users that it will stop fighting censorship once the cops show up. To rub it in, Google says this is good for freedom in China. Seriously, Google, being a huge company and the “champion of freedom”, even lacked the backbone of the rioting peasants in the Chinese villages.

    “They need to see someone – even Google – standing up and speaking out against what is wrong.”

    So one publicity stunt is worth the cost of denying the others 50 millions the chance to speak out? If Google really cared for Chinese censorship problem, it should stay in China as long a possible, breaking tons of Chinese censorship laws, sue the CCP in international trade courts and really standing up and fight for the common man. The question remains, how does shutting down Google China really improve the censorship situation, besides one less information outlet for the people?

    If Google really cared for Chinese freedom, they should know that 50 million Chinese with free access to information can break the censorship faster than lobbying the Western governments.

  33. pug_ster Says:

    Google’s ‘New Approach’ to China is not about cyberattacks. It is about promoting ‘democracy’ in China.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/bloomberg/20100113/pl_bloomberg/ahxeeeu1a8fg_1

    And I quote from the article.

    Clinton is scheduled to give a speech on Internet freedom on Jan. 21. Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt was among a group of technology executives who dined with Clinton at the State Department last week to discuss ways to promote democracy and development.

  34. yo Says:

    Sorry if I’m repeating this, but Bidu’s stock price on the Nasdaq shot up 13% while google’s price was flat. I guess investors don’t see this as a bad move for Google but a great opportunity for Bidu.

  35. Steve Says:

    I see this announcement by Google as a big inkblot and the reactions in the “Responses” section as a giant Rorschach Test. I believe the comments and especially the assumptions tell more about the writer’s ideology and worldview than anything having to do with Google’s press release.

  36. pug_ster Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised that these Internet and information companies operating in China are targets for the past few months. Twitter, Youtube and facebook are gone and replaced by Chinese counterparts. Yahoo is following Google’s condemnation suit, but they own 40% and not control Alibaba. The 2 other companies that are stuck in the middle are Microsoft and Cisco, whom are eerily silent.

    http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/186710/cisco_aims_at_china_market_with_restructuring.html

    It sounds like Cisco is actually doing the opposite and going into the China market.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BS0V620091229?type=technologyNews

    Microsoft made too much investment in China already and they are pushing bing into China full steam ahead.

    I am thinking of what is going to happen in 1/21 when Hillary is going to give a speech about ‘internet freedom.’ I’m almost sure that CEO’s of Google and Yahoo are there or going to make a ‘major’ announcement. They might get other disgruntled companies like Twitter, facebook and even ebay and amazon might make similiar announcements also. My guess is that Cisco and Microsoft won’t do anything.

  37. Raj Says:

    China’s initial reaction.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8458462.stm

    China has said that foreign internet firms are welcome to do business “according to the law”.

    The statement, from Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu, is Beijing’s first response to Google’s threat to stop filtering content in China.

    Perhaps Chinese officials should set an example and obey the law themselves rather than rely on “rule by diktat” when it suits them.

  38. Anon Says:

    @ Jimmy 32:

    Wrong again. Google could only enter the Chinese market by conforming to CCP expectations. Did you read the entire press release?

    “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.”

    Google wants to stay in China, but they want to stay as a free and open entity. If the CCP doesn’t allow that, doesn’t allow Google to “operate an unfiltered search engine”, then it is the CCP who is forcing Google out. Once again, the blame rests squarely on the CCP.

    So one publicity stunt is worth the cost of denying the others 50 millions the chance to speak out?

    Whether Google stays or goes, people will still be prevented from speaking out and accessing information, courtesy of your friendly Party leaders.

    Google has the choice to stay in China and offer free access information to Chinese while fighting the censorship. Instead it said to the Chinese users that it will stop fighting censorship once the cops show up.

    Google has the choice to stay in China and offer biased and one-sided views of certain hot topics. Now it says it will no longer do that, and will open the search results up. Once again, if the CCP doesn’t allow that to happen, it is on their shoulders, not Google’s.

  39. justkeeper Says:

    @Anon: Your statement is contradictory to what actually happened. After Google’s deal with Chinese government, Chinese user’s Gmail experience becomes sgnificantly more smooth(without the once in a while “connection reset”) the same applied for many other Google services, including Google.com. Can you not say this is benefit in terms of freedom of information brought by the presence of a censored Google.cn in China?

  40. Raj Says:

    justkeeper (39)

    Can you not say this is benefit in terms of freedom of information brought by the presence of a censored Google.cn in China?

    How is being able to use Gmail related to freedom of information? There are other e-mail systems that you can use in China.

  41. justkeeper Says:

    @Raj: Why not use Kaixin instead of Facebook? Why not use Sina microblog instead fo Twitter and fFnfou? Why complain about their blocking? If you want to be specific, the one benefit I can come up with is that Google won’t hand over its mail service user’s private data at anyone’s request without a subpoena from the court. That adds another level of security for certain people. And Google Reader is also often used to spread sensitive information in China.

  42. Jimmy Says:

    @38

    Wrong again on the press release

    “discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law.”

    “Discussing” with the CCP so that unfiltered search engine is “within the law”? Excuse me, Google, the king of free information, but when was the last time disscussion and following CCP laws actually worked in bypassing Chinese censorship? Is Google really that naive with the CCP? Or are they already made up of their mind to run, only use a “discussion” with CCP as a face saving measure? All I read from this passage was Google saying “We know censorship is bad but we still have to follow Chinese censorship law. In order to fully comply with the censorship law, we censor ourselves by pulling out of China entirely”

    “If the CCP doesn’t allow that”

    CCP hasn’t say anything yet and Google is acting like there are millions of cops ready to escort them out. Yeah, very brave indeed.

    “Whether Google stays or goes, people will still be prevented from speaking out and accessing information, courtesy of your friendly Party leaders.”

    Let me get this straight, on censorship, Google ran away from China is not as bad as Google unfiltering their search engine and fight to stay in China? With this logic CCP wins either way.

    “Google wants to stay in China, but they want to stay as a free and open entity.”

    Then try to stay in China as a free and open entity and wait for CCP to kick Google out. You keep on implying thay Google is already banned by CCP in China. But with no CCP reactions regarding to Google operations in China, Google kicked themselves out of China with this press release.

    “Google has the choice to stay in China and offer biased and one-sided views of certain hot topics.”

    Google also has the choice to stay in China and offer non-biased views until CCP ban their operations.

  43. berlinf Says:

    This is announced shortly after Secretary of State Clinton’s high-profile dinner with Google and other high-tech bosses. At this dinner, Clinton wants to use hi-tech tools to advance “statecraft”. Part of the strategy is to develop solutions to allow people of the world to freely visit websites. I am not sure what this super-duper, bigger (or smarter)-than-the-firewall technology is, but I suppose it might be close to getting delivered. If there are technology solutions to help people of the world to visit web sites freely and cause censorship to be irrelevant, Google has certainly done the shrewd thing to exit China, because it has the benefit of still getting visitors from China while not having to be subjugated to the legal, business and political restrictions. China wants Google to be subjected to China’s laws and regulations, but one has to admit that the rules of technology are subtly changing the way things are done those days, and even laws in the US are not fast enough to catch up with these changes. One of the major change in the game is to cause national boundaries to be irrelevant, especially if the secret tool is developed to cut through censorship barriers. Google must have anticipated this result to come, and choose to exit beforehand so that it can impress people as “having balls”, before it is irrelevant to do so. I am suspecting that pretty soon nobody can censor anything because of some technology advancement.

    Also, right now, it is very difficult for Google to be doing business in China. CCTV is attacking it on claims of pornography. The government forces it to censor certain key words. Writers like Mianmian (one of the so-called “body writers”, a small-time writer of pulp fiction) sue it for its copyright infringements… It simply gets attacked everywhere. Given all these problems, the cost-benefit ratio for Google to continue is not in Google’s favor. Forbes is having a recent article about Google owning our minds. But in China it cannot own anything. The business environment is no longer welcoming as China is “awash with cash” as an NPR report said this morning.

  44. Antonio Napoli Says:

    I think that if Google leaves china, the problem is for the Chinese, rather than for Google.
    The services provided by Google reached a quality that Baidu will have in 10 years (to be optimistic)

    Antonio

  45. Nimrod Says:

    41. justkeeper Says:

    @Raj: Why not use Kaixin instead of Facebook? Why not use Sina microblog instead fo Twitter and fFnfou? Why complain about their blocking? If you want to be specific, the one benefit I can come up with is that Google won’t hand over its mail service user’s private data at anyone’s request without a subpoena from the court. That adds another level of security for certain people. And Google Reader is also often used to spread sensitive information in China.
    +++++
    Google will hand over private information at the request of a US court, but not a Chinese court. Or maybe it will do the latter too, but China is not going to take a chance in case of a conflict of interest in which what the US tells Google (don’t release info) overrides what China tells Google (release info). Part of China’s response I see has been to promote home-grown companies that develop the technology chain, from processors to software. Add to that the importance in which media and propaganda play in social perception and politics, it becomes an even greater security concern to allow foreign companies to control the modern information and media machinery.

    Whatever you think about the legitimacy of the Chinese government’s security concerns, it doesn’t change these basic facts, which apply to any country. But these are not the only reasons companies like Google haven’t been doing well in China, which reminds me of…

    36. pug_ster Says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised that these Internet and information companies operating in China are targets for the past few months. Twitter, Youtube and facebook are gone and replaced by Chinese counterparts. Yahoo is following Google’s condemnation suit, but they own 40% and not control Alibaba. The 2 other companies that are stuck in the middle are Microsoft and Cisco, whom are eerily silent.

    There is one, often times several, copycat sites for each popular and familiar web service. We have Youku and Tudou for Youtube, Kaixin001 and Xiaonei for Facebook, Digu and Taotao for Twitter, Dangdang for Amazon, Taobao for eBay, Baidu for Google. Why does this model work? It’s because these sites don’t have much technological sophistication in them anyway. Unlike Cisco, which has a lesser albeit growing competitor in Huawei, and Microsoft, who is still a monopoly worldwide, the web-only companies are not diversified in products and do not have a long-standing track record of innovation. The fact that they do not perform well in China are several: they were late to the China market, not anticipating the importance and growth of Chinese web users; they offered a direct translation of their English site, which does not suit Chinese cultural taste and social habit; they did not do their business in a way that business is done in China, including complying with censors if need be.

  46. Brad Says:

    @ justkeeper #30

    Timesonline netizen reports :

    “Scot Richards wrote:
    Manny Barwin said: ‘Google would probably have overtaken the home grown Search giant if it was allowed to go uncensored as the Chinese people would clearly love to access the real world news. Many Chinese are frightened to use Gmail fearful of being thought to be dissident by doing so.’

    What a load of utter rubbish! Chinese AFRAID to use Google? That is truly funny. Greetings from Beijing.

    The truth is that Google’s ‘technology’ (I use the word in jest) doesn’t work with Chinese langauge or ‘character set’. I don’t use it because its crap, not because I’m AFRAID.

    And to state that the Chinese government would brand me a ‘dissident’ because I use gmail is one of the most pathetically paranoid statement I have ever read. I don’t use gmail because I’ve read Google’s Terms and Conditions. I suggest you do the same.

    January 14, 2010 8:28 AM GMT on community.timesonline.co.uk Recommended (18) Report Abuse Permalink

    source:

    http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article6987377.ece

  47. pug_ster Says:

    http://mediamemo.allthingsd.com/20100107/guess-whos-coming-to-dinner-eric-schmidt-and-the-technorati-visit-the-state-department/

    In case you are interested: here’s the list of invitees at last week’s State dinner with Hillary and Eric Schmidt.

    Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey
    Howcast CEO and co-founder Jason Liebman
    Clay Shirky, author and New York University professor
    Jared Cohen, Member of Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning staff
    Andrew Rasiej, founder of Personal Democracy Forum
    Shervin Pishevar, founder of Social Gaming Network
    Tiffany Shlain, founder of the Webby Awards
    Luis Ubiñas, President of the Ford Foundation
    James Eberhard, pioneer of mobile content and services

    @Berlinf 43:

    Somehow I am seeing twitter and the US government are sleeping together. Twitter was involved in Iran and now in Haiti (not that there’s anything wrong in Haiti.) Perhaps that is why you see Twitter in the news so much.

    I agree with your statement about that perhaps the next front of war to ‘promote democracy’ is in cyberspace. However I don’t really see the point. I’m sure that the West has been subsitizing tools like vpn’s and proxies to go thru the GFW for years yet many Chinese remain unconvienced of the West’s ulterior motives. So even if there was some kind of super-duper firewall penetration technology, it is no use people don’t trust it.

    One thing that it didn’t mention is social gaming like World of Warcraft. I wonder if they will become the next casuality as the result of this.

  48. dewang Says:

    Hi Berlin, #43, Nimrod, #45,

    Interesting stuff!

    Don’t forget Chinese Internet companies like Tencent are hella innovative too, and they made a lot of social features on the Internet very material which the West is copying. The point is that web services are really easy to duplicate once you see them in action. So its both ways.

    U.S. has issues with jurisdictions too – for example gambling sites offshored to Bahamas and etc.. As long as Google targets users inside China and derive revenue there, I think there is grounds for “jurisdiction.” Its a complicated mess for sure.

  49. Steve Says:

    @ Brad #46: I collapsed your comment because it didn’t reference Google’s statement, it didn’t reference something written in an article about Google’s statement, it didn’t reference a comment made on FM but instead it referenced a comment made in the comments section of the Times Online article. That’s a little too far from a legitimate source. We can all rip apart ignorant online comments but it serves no purpose.

  50. miaka9383 Says:

    @Pug_ster
    I am afraid you were a little behind on gaming news. World of Warcraft was already banned in China. For reasons unknown and a lot of speculations. Could be the creation of the Death Knight class and new instances and dungeon quests.
    WOW have already been a casualty of the Government Censors.

    @All
    As for google, we should all wait and see what happens. I think it is pointless arguing google’s intentions and if the move is correct.. until they made a move. Many American online posters already have shown their support. But it is all up to Google. I mean guys, it could all just be an ideological move. Maybe they realize that they have a different philosophy than the Chinese Government and since their ideology do differ and one is hoping to change the other… which causes conflict.

  51. Brad Says:

    @ Steve #49

    How do you judge online comments are ignorant or not? I haven’t seen any netizen’s in China praise how good Google.cn is. justkeeper #30 implies Google is quite good without reference Google’s statement, without reference something written in an article about Google’s statement, without reference a comment made on FM. I am just countering it with netizen’s 1st hand opinion in China with Google experience. As far as I can see, it is directly related to the ongoing Google show in China. It provide the necessary context. You are more than welcome to disagree with me.

    On a side note, I thought this forum is a place for freedom of speach, and a place to help to get the voice of Chinese out in the English speaking world. Instead, I am seeing increasing sensorship against Chinese posters on FM.

  52. Steve Says:

    @ Brad: If you want to respond to justkeeper’s comments with your own opinion, go right ahead. The “ignorant” comment I was referencing was Manny Barwin’s, which was not made on this blog, something you seem to agree with.

    I’m going to collapse both this comment and your previous one, because neither is pertinent to this discussion. Your comment wasn’t censored, it was collapsed.

  53. Otto Kerner Says:

    @Allen #15,

    Your analogy is all messed up. Clearly, a pork dealer won’t be able to do much business selling to observant Muslims or Jews. But you might do a healthy trade selling pork in a predominantly Muslim or Jewish country to other people — either religious minorities, or people who don’t care to follow the dietary rules of their religion. You might even find that most people in that country do not actually object in practice to eating pork. If you sell to the people who want to buy your product and not to the ones who don’t, then the only problem you would have would be political interference from the government, viz laws forcing Muslim or Jewish dietary rules on everybody. Is that the model you expect China to follow?

  54. Charles Liu Says:

    Miaka @ 50, “it could all just be an ideological move”

    What else could it be? If one doesn’t read the news reports carefully, it’s very easy to conclude the Chinese government’s involvement is proven. But where’s the evidence? Has anyone seen any concrete proof, beyond the “it must be them” rhetoric?

    The targeted corporate attacks (not just Google but 30 some companies) used Trojan Hydraq malware to open back door, and these attacks were traced back to servers in US(Rackspace) and IP addresses in Taiwan – but not China or government addresses. To me the inference made with “known to be associated with Chinese government”, “from China” is far from proving the Chinese government is involved.

    Not only is the linkage between Chinese government and these corporate attacks weak at best, they are not even related to the phishing scam against Gmail accounts found in a separate investigation, where two of the thousands of affected Gmail accounts were used by human rights activists. Google presented no evidence these phishing scam came from China, let alone from the Chinese government, as the phishing scam is done via mass email rather than targeted attack.

    If there is evidence I’d like to see it. Cite a government official, a phone call, something.

    References:

    http://news.cnet.com/security/?keyword=targeted+attacks
    http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/01/hack-of-adob/

  55. pug_ster Says:

    http://in.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idINIndia-45346320100113

    Going back to my comment #47, looks like Microsoft Corp research chief Craig Mundie, and Cisco Systems Inc Executive Vice President Sue Bostrom was also there last week. According to the article:

    Alec Ross, Clinton’s senior advisor for innovation, said in an interview that Clinton will unveil a tech policy initiative on Jan. 21. He provided few details except to say it would focus on “Internet freedom.”

    Berlinf #43, looks like some kind of policy change and not some super duper firewall breaking software:)

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100114/ts_alt_afp/uschinaitcompanyinternetgooglerightsmicrosofthp

    Looks the only companies which is ‘bailing out’ from China are Yahoo and Google so far. Microsoft and HP are not joining. Though I don’t know why HP would be one of the companies involved.

    @Miaka 50,
    You’re right. I stand corrected.

  56. Jimmy Says:

    @50

    “WOW have already been a casualty of the Government Censors.”

    Uhm, first of all, it’s a casualty of corruption and bureaucratic infighting between two Chinese agencies working against each other. Second of all, what casualties?

    http://www.gamespot.com/news/6239334.html?tag=other-user-related-content;3

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/07/world/asia/07china.html?_r=1

    http://www.gamespot.com/news/6244882.html?tag=other-user-related-content;2

  57. Steve Says:

    Though I didn’t think his analogy was accurate, I agree with Allen’s general remarks in #15. Rather than the anything goes “Wild Wild West” scenario, China has exerted more control over information rather than less. When I first arrived in China, the internet censorship was pretty bad; no NY Times, no Wall Street Journal, no Washington Post, etc. That changed when Jiang opened things up in 2001 after a NY Times interview where after it was over, their reporter asked him off the record why their website was banned in China. The next day they weren’t, along with a lot of other big news sites. At that time I figured censorship would continue to loosen up over time.

    I believe Google made that same assumption when they came into the China market. But in reality, the censorship under Hu has steadily increased over time, making Google’s business model (gradual censorship reduction) obsolete. Google is an information provider and its advantage is bringing a wide range of information to the customer. Restricting information takes away some of their competitive advantage. So as Allen said, they made a business decision to exit a market that didn’t cater to their expertise. China also went against Google’s business philosophy of openness so it just wasn’t a good business fit. In the end, they weighed all the different factors including security breaches, etc. and made a decision. It made sense for them to announce it on their website since they knew it’d be big news.

    What I find interesting is that Google isn’t being leaned on for providing banned information, they’re being leaned on for directing people to sites that provide banned information. My guess is that the people who work on the GFW use Google to find those sites that they eventually block. I’d expect them to use google.com to find them in the future.

    Google never accused the Chinese government of anything. They gave the reasons they felt made it in their best interest to leave the market if it continued as it is. There are other alternatives to choose from over there so it’s not like people can’t have access to a search function. I’m sure things have changed since I was there but from what I remember, Baidu was used at home and for recreation while Google was more common in academia and the workplace. Google also sees themselves as offering not just a search function but a variety of semi-bundled applications for their customers. With many of those offerings off limits in China, their business model was not functioning and therefore another reason to walk away from the market.

    I also agree with DeWang in #16 about those books, not just in the China market but in most every country. Yeah, it’s great to get literature out to the masses and I can understand it for works that are out of copyright, but an author should be rewarded for his/her efforts. Google started doing this a few years ago and it bothered me then. That’s really been my only gripe with them over time.

    If the Chief Design Officer of Baidu really made that comment, it was very unprofessional. The Golden Rule in business is to never say anything good OR bad about your competitors.

    @ Allen #22: I don’t think there’s any “magic bullet” in Google’s gun. Some users in China will continue to use google.com through VPN and proxy servers because it serves their academic, business or personal purposes but I’d guess the vast majority will simply use Baidu or another available search engine.

    One other thought: The Chinese government has shown that it cares very much about maintaining control of information within the country. From a practical standpoint, this is best accomplished by working with Chinese companies that are willing to work with them. Working with foreign entities will always be more difficult. If Google leaves, they can spin it as “Google bad” while Google spins it as “China bad” and maintain much tighter control with significantly fewer headaches. So in the long run, isn’t it in the Chinese government’s best interest to see Google leave? And if so, were they possibly trying to nudge them out of the market?

  58. justkeeper Says:

    Let me make a clarification if I’m causing any misunderstanding: the main reason I and many other people I know use Google’s services(e.g, Gmail) is their superior performance and functionalities, security is of course one concern, but it has very little to do with Google’s reputation of not handing in private information under pressure. I cited Google’s privacy policy as a benefit because I want to find something that is unique to Google, which no other company will follow.

  59. jxie Says:

    The searching business roughly consists of 3 parts. The part 1 is crawling and indexing the Internet. It’s heavy lifting and needs a lot of space/servers/bandwidth, but not very fancy per se. If you happen to have a web server of your own, and capture/analyze the access logs, you should be able to see the bot accesses from the likes of Google, Ask, Microsft, Baidu, & Sohu. So no, Baidu and Sohu don’t rely on Google for search result. That’s simply preposterous.

    The part 2 is the secret sauce part. How you rank the pages and present to the end users. Nowadays there is very little meaningful difference between searching companies. A new feature, or a new searching algorithm put out by a searching company can often quickly be matched by another company. Often, especially in China, Google is simply a follower to other searching companies. However, worldwide more people are sticking with Google due to more a habit than choosing a superior service. If a few asteroids hit the earth and take out all Google engineers and servers, it may take a while for the current Google users to get used to the other searching engines’ look and feel, and learn where certain features are buried under. But I doubt anybody will notice any difference soon.

    The part 3 is the paid search part. How to go from keyword searching to getting paid in dollar or yuans. If Google either loses its ICP license in China or pulls out of China, it won’t be able to get paid by most Chinese companies, however “immaterial” the revenue may be, or whether Google’s motivation of entering China was “never really a financial move”.

    An interested question is what exactly Google’s searching market share in China is. For analyses of the brand name pure search, i.e. the user sessions start at the searching engines’ home pages, it seems that Google’s market share percentage is in the high 10s and decreasing (see CIC’s & iResearch’s reports). For analyses based on traffic sampling, Google’s market share percentage is in the 30s (See Analysys International’s report). An educated guess on the discrepancy is: Google has spent a lot of money in China to acquire traffic, e.g. search deal with Sina & Soso. In other words, Google has tried to buy growth in China, but end users still like Baidu better and are getting more so. Which brings up a point… is it possible that Google is actually losing money in China?

  60. Nimrod Says:

    Latest rumor says there were some Chinese spooks planted in Google’s Shanghai office, under the cover of engineers, and they downloaded the source code of Gmail to analyze for security vulnerabilities and exploits. The fact that they were able to hack into some mail headers compromised Google’s reputation for safeguarding private mail, which threatened its core business worldwide, and that’s why Google had to pull out in haste and cut off its China engineers from further access to restricted company resources with little warning.

  61. Charles Liu Says:

    @ 60, Nim hurry, write a movie script, Richard Gere and Bai Ling will star in it.

    Call it Red Code, where a handsome ex-pat tech exec goes Rambo in China to rescue a demure female Chinese engineer who’s life is in danger, after alerting the company of evil plot to assassinate the US president by detonating the president’s smart phone with maleware planted by government spooks.

    Oh wait.

  62. justkeeper Says:

    @jxie: Google certainly understands the importance of the market in China, the annual revenue of its China branch is about 200 million dollars, compared to its 26 billion dollars total revenue worldwide. Even if it’s now losing money in China, Google would not have been so short-sighted and refused to give up only a small portion of their income for the exploration of the Chinese market. And Google China under Kaifu Li was widely considered to be doing well within the IT ccircle and had a stronger than ever presence in China.

  63. Chops Says:

    Looks like Google has no choice but to leave China.

    Whether it’s bluffing or not, it has insulted the Chinese government with its press release.

    Who gets away with insulting the Chinese government?

  64. dewang Says:

    China Daily carried a comment piece from cnhubei.com that’s really interesting:

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-01/15/content_9328782.htm

    1. Most Chinese users of Google actually access Google’s English search site: google.com, NOT google.cn.

    The point here is Google conveniently hides this information according to the comment piece. I suggest you guys take a look at Allen’s comment #22 above.

    Some of you assumed google.com is blocked in China. What made you come to that conclusion?

    2. The comment piece also cited a September 2009 report of google.cn at 12.7% market share vs. Baidu.com’s 77.2%.

    I’ll suggest reading Jxie, #59 – indeed, Google may be loosing money in China and don’t have a good strategy to take on Baidu.


    Below is a copy of the China Daily article, and I have highlighted couple of key areas, and definitely a worthwhile read:


    Comment: Google is simply not successful in China
    (chinadaily.com.cn)
    Updated: 2010-01-15 16:23

    The following is an excerpt from a comment posted by an Internet user named Gaoren on cnhubei.com based in Hubei province.

    In an unusually high-profile move, Google publicly announced that it may quit China – sparking a wave of reaction around the world.

    “We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn … We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China,” David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, said in a statement posted on the company’s official blog.

    The statement, entitled “A new approach to China”, claims that the company had detected a highly sophisticated and targeted attack from China that resulted in the theft of the company’s intellectual property.

    The news echoed around the world and the western media immediately seized the opportunity to attack China’s censorship and heaped praise on Google, which is not surprising, as indicated by their previous records. But the question remains: Does Google’s threat to pull out really result from what the company and the Western media have claimed, namely, China’s censorship?

    To begin with, Google has always placed great importance on China. Google would be condemned if it ignored the Chinese market, which has almost 400 million Internet users and is still rimmed with huge potential. The fact that Google risked lawsuits in 2005 to prize Kai-fu Lee from Microsoft is the best evidence. It is no coincidence that Google.cn was launched shortly after Kai-fu Lee’s arrival.

    The problem is Google.cn simply cannot compete with its main domestic rival, Baidu.com. A report from China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) shows that as of September 2009 Baidu.com’s market share in China stood at 77.2 percent, far stripping Google,cn’s 12.7 percent. In fact, the majority of Google’s users in China choose Google.com as their first choice.

    After nearly five years’ pushing for the brand of Google.cn and after investing heavily in Google.cn, their efforts in the Chinese market are simply not successful, to say the least. Kai-fu Lee’s abrupt departure from Google in September 2009 wasn’t helpful, either. To answer for its investors and for shareholders to understand a not so favorable environment of global economy, Google’s decision to pull out of China comes as no surprise.

    Indeed, Google is not the first or only one that fared miserably in China’s Internet market. The online auction and shopping website E-bay’s defeat against the domestic Taobao.com, Alibaba’s acquisition of Yahoo China, and QQ.com’s dominance in China’s instant messaging market, to name just a few, seem to have already foretold Google.cn’s fate.

    China’s censorship, as a matter of fact, is just Google’s management’s ingenious excuse to flee the Chinese market in which they failed their investors and shareholders. For one thing, Google entered the China market after censorship was instituted, not vice versa. If anything, China has been loosing its censorship since Google’s entry. The best proof is perhaps the free debate over the installation of the filtering software Green Dam, in which the Chinese government finally budged.

    A number of notable “mass incidents” are also freely discussed on the Internet – the mass protest over the death of a girl in Weng’an county in Guizhou province, the mass protest over the death of a chef in Hubei province, and the waitress who resisted sexual advance by killing a local official, not to mention quite a few corruption cases that have been brought to the spotlight through the Internet.

    Many claim, most likely with ulterior motives, that the shutdown of Google.cn will leave Chinese netizens isolated from the outside world. That is, simply, untrue. The closure of Google.cn has little, if any, effect on the Chinese users, as Google.com, its global website, is the primary channel they access to search for information. Unfortunately, Google didn’t even bother to explain that.

    Google’s motivation was clear and simple: to earn its share of this huge market. When the company cannot attain the goal and pocket enough money and hopes to find a way out, the Chinese government and its censorship, which the West frequently picks up, just become two convenient scapegoats.

  65. dewang Says:

    Btw, CNET.com has an article out and Steve Ballmer (Microsoft’s CEO) was quoted saying security concerns are the same everywhere, regardless of where your servers are. This is a response to Google’s insinuation of extra security risks in China.

    I heard through second hand an executive who happens to be on Google’s Board of Directors made a similar comment as Ballmer about Google’s security concerns.

  66. Raj Says:

    Chops (63)

    Who gets away with insulting the Chinese government?

    Anyone who doesn’t live in China so can’t be arrested on the oh-so-serious charge of thumbing their nose at people in authority?

  67. alessandro Says:

    @raj
    Ahahahahaha…u’r very good in distorting Chops words and meaning

  68. rolf Says:

    Microsoft, HP fail to back Google’s China move
    http://www.chinaview.cn 2010-01-15

    Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft, described the affair as “the Google problem” and said: “Every large institution is being hacked. I don’t think it’s a fundamental change in the security environment on the internet.”

    He refused to comment on whether Microsoft would now stop censoring results on its Bing search service in China, but said that the software company saw a big business opportunity in China.

    Mark Hurd, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, described China as “an amazing market with tremendous growth”. Strong demand from Chinese customers was one of the main supports for the US tech industry last year.

    Both executives also played down any wider threat to internet security from what Google had described as a “highly sophisticated and targeted attack” that had been aimed at more than 20 other companies. “I’d hate to run off on this one example and say it’s a threat to the evolution of the IT industry,” Mr Hurd said.

  69. raffiaflower Says:

    Rebecca Fanning wrote an article in Forbes Dec 21 speculating on the likelihood of Google’s exit from China. This sort of story doesn’t make its way into print without some public relations manipulation.
    Google was jockeying 4 some sort of advantage but probably had to make good their threat when the cookie didn’t crumble their way.
    It probably is just about the $$$ but claiming sudden pangs of conscience (with some vague claims about cyber-attacks) plays well to the Western gallery. If Google truly believes in freedom of speech/information/whatever and not just shareholder’s returns, it should prioritise it by continuing to help create parameters/define new boundaries for China, however long the haul may be.
    Some censorship practices are truly frustrating and petty but China vaulted from relatively recent closed-door paranoia to Internet mobility for millions, and wants to form some kind overarching concensus, ie, “guide public opinion”.
    America did just dat when media fell in line with the Iraq war (BBC’s “flag-wrapped journalism”) and “guided” most opinion in its support.
    And,as noted elsewhere, Google should realise that this is 21st century China and no company can expect extra territorial concessions in operating above sovereign law, however much you pretend to dislike it. But if you really do, then kissing China off is the right thing.

  70. pug_ster Says:

    @Raffiaflower:

    Thanks for the insight. Here’s the link to the story.

    http://www.forbes.com/2009/12/21/google-baidu-internet-intelligent-technology-fannin.html

  71. scl Says:

    In today’s World Journal (http://74.208.72.72/wjepaperlogin/showpaper.aspx?20100115, Chinese only), it says that a lot of Google’s Chinese employees started to look for new jobs in November last year, because they heard Google had decided to withdraw the part of business involving searching from China.

  72. Charles Liu Says:

    scl h/t to you on this find. Here’s the link to your article on Google CN employee’s mass exodus on rumors of impending withdraw after announcement of Lee Kaifu’s departure and hiring freeze:

    谷歌公司一名不願具名的發言人14日告訴英文「中國日報」,谷歌決定關閉在中國的業務,僅僅是谷歌中國網(Google.cn);其他的一些業務,如谷歌手機業務(G-phone)及電子郵箱業務(gmail)將不會受到影響。
    An unanmed Google spokeperson told China Daily, Google decided to only close the web business unit (Google.cn); other business unit, such as Google phone (G-phone) and Google mail (gmail), will not be affected.

    谷歌欲退出中國市場的消息,引起各界譁然。但早在去年底,谷歌中國就已傳出可能終止中國市場業務的聲音。
    News of Google’s withdraw from China market caused an uproar. However wispers of stopping China business were emenating from Google CN since end of year.

    去年十一月底,推特(twitter)流傳一條訊息:「谷歌內部離職的一大批,剩下的一小批正在準備離職,谷歌中國快要撤退了」。
    A twitter in end of November noted: “Large contingent already left Google, rest are in the process of leaving. Google CN is read to go”.

    據悉,不少谷歌員工當時已一一投奔「前主子」李開復所開設「創新工場」的懷抱。
    The word is, by then many Google employees already went to a new venture started by former boss Lee Kaifu.

  73. Steve Says:

    An article in today’s Wall Street Journal covering some misstatements and misconceptions:

    * January 15, 2010, 5:32 AM ET

    Clearing Up Confusion on Google and China

    From Silicon Valley to Zhongguancun, Google’s surprise announcement that it may pull out of China has fueled an enormous amount of discussion in recent days, not all of it 100% accurate. Below are some misstatements and misunderstandings we’ve seen:

    1. Google failed in China

    Google’s China operations contribute a small fraction of the company’s overall revenue – the company doesn’t disclose the amount, but analysts estimate it was a few percent of its total $21.8 billion in 2008 revenue, or several hundred million dollars. But Google has made significant progress in China in recent years, raising its share of the Internet search market to roughly 36% in the fourth quarter of 2009 from 13% when it started its Chinese-language google.cn site in early 2006, according to data from research firm Analysys International.

    Many other foreign companies doing business in China would gladly forgo big profits in the short term for comparable market-share growth in China—especially in an industry where China has more users than any other country (384 million according to the latest statistics). Google has also been particularly popular among the highly sought-after demographic of young, educated, white-collar urban professionals. The company’s powerful brand of business and ethics (“don’t be evil) has also earned it a fair amount of good will among Chinese Internet users, many of whom are now mourning its (still uncertain) fate. While rival Baidu still has a much larger 58% share of the search market, its brand has suffered as a result of scandals involving paid results and allegations of censorship of sensitive news stories.

    Google doesn’t say if it’s profitable in China, but there’s certainly no reason to assume it’s not. Baidu, its chief rival, reported net profit of about $153 million on revenue of $468 million for 2008, when it said it had 6,387 employees. Google’s revenue would have perhaps half or two thirds that amount, but it likely has a much lower cost base in China than Baidu, since Google is believed to employ well under 1,000 employees in the country, and can use technology developed by its U.S. headquarters.

    2. Google.com is not accessible in China

    Before Google introduced its China-specific search engine, Google.cn, in 2006, its global site Google.com was subject to periodic blocking in China. But for the last four years, Google.com has been almost always accessible to users in China.

    However, the fact that Google.com can be accessed from China doesn’t mean that Internet users can get to forbidden content listed in the site’s search results. Links to sites that are blocked in China will still return error messages or time out when they are clicked. (In contrast, Google’s Chinese search engine, Google.cn, will filter out links to sites that don’t comply with Chinese laws and regulations.)

    And of course, given the unpredictability of China’s Web restrictions, there’s no guarantee that Google.com will continue to be available to users inside China, at least not without “scaling the wall.”

    3. Google has Gmail servers in China

    Some reports have said that the reason Chinese hackers were able to access Gmail accounts is that Google has email servers physically located in China. This is not the case. Google says it has no email servers in the country.

    Indeed, Google has said keeping its servers out of China was a deliberate move to help protect user information. When the company announced its plans to launch google.cn in January 2006, executives said one of the safeguards it planned to use to protect user interests was that it wouldn’t host user-generated content like email and blogs on servers in China.

    Google had reason to be careful. In 2005, there was widespread outcry among rights activists and the U.S. government after Yahoo turned over user information to the Chinese government, which was used as evidence to sentence journalist Shi Tao to 10 years in prison. Yahoo said that, because its Chinese mail servers were inside China, the company felt compelled to comply with the authorities’ request.

    4. Google.cn search results are already uncensored

    After Tuesday’s announcement, Web users ran amok on Google.cn, looking up sensitive terms such as “Tiananmen 1989,” “tank man,” and even “sensitive words.” But many have been disappointed with the results, as searches for these terms still turned up the familiar disclaimer that “in accordance with local laws and regulations, a portion of the search results are not displayed.”

    Google says that it hasn’t yet started to remove content filters on Google.cn, a process that could take weeks.

    How to explain the images of tank man and links to sites about the Dalai Lama found via Google.cn? Many of the searches yielding fruitful results appear to have been conducted in English, a trick that often turns up fuller results on Google.cn than a search for the same term in Chinese. (To see what we mean, compare these Google.cn results for “Dalai Lama” in English and Chinese).

    5. Google has identified Chinese dissidents as the targets of cyber attacks

    Since Google revealed that it has been the target of cyber attacks, and that it had identified two Gmail accounts that had been compromised, a number of prominent Chinese activists have reported that their Gmail accounts have been hacked, in some cases repeatedly. Google says that these intrusions were not part of the larger, sophisticated attack on its security infrastructure, but likely the result of more pedestrian phishing scams or malware.

    6. Google has already shut down its business in China

    On Friday, Ministry of Commerce spokesman Yao Jian said that neither MOC nor the Beijing Municipal Commission of Commerce had received any information from Google about a planned withdrawal of its investment. A person close to Google also denied rumors that Google employees in China have ceased to report for work.

    –Sky Canaves

  74. Charles Liu Says:

    SCL @ 71

    Also found a Feb 09 QQ News article on 3 of Google CN’s 4 top executives (the four housemen) leaving to start their own venture:

    谷歌中国当年的“四驾马车”,如今只剩下李开复坚守阵地。其余三人自立门户,开荒播种。
    Google’s original “four horsemen”, only Lee Kaifu remains. The other three started their own venture, opening new grounds.

    此三人,包括曾经担任谷歌中国联合总裁的周韶宁、谷歌前亚太区市场总监王怀南以及谷歌中国前首席战略官郭去疾。前两者和李开复,本是谷歌进入中国以来,最早开拓市场的组合。但2006年相继离开。而郭去疾也在2008年8月离职。
    These three include former Google China CEO Zhou Zaoyu, former Google Asia Pacific market GM Wang Huainan, and Google China chief stratagist Guo chugi. The first two, and Lee Kaifu, formed the team that opened up China market for Google. But they started leaving in 2006. Guo left in August 2008.

  75. Rhan Says:

    When something don’t work, blame the world? Very CCP and Communist huh!

  76. Steve Says:

    A few of you have mentioned Dr. Kaifu Li, how much he is respected and how his loss hurt Google’s China operation. There have also been a couple of references to statements made by Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer. That got me thinking about something I remembered hearing when Dr. Li left Microsoft. It took me awhile to dig it up, but I finally found it here. Here are some excerpts from a CNET column dated 9/2/2005:

    Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer vowed to “kill” Google in an expletive-laced, chair-throwing tirade when a senior engineer told him he was leaving the company to go work for Google, the engineer claimed in court documents made public on Friday.

    The allegation, filed in Washington state court, is the latest salvo in an increasingly nasty court fight triggered when Microsoft executive Kai-Fu Lee jumped to Google in July in what Microsoft claims is a violation of a one-year, non-compete agreement.

    In a sworn statement made public Friday, Mark Lucovsky, another Microsoft senior engineer who left for Google in November 2004, recounted Ballmer’s angry reaction when Lucovsky told Ballmer he was going to work for the search engine company.

    “At some point in the conversation, Mr. Ballmer said: ‘Just tell me it’s not Google,’” Lucovosky said in his statement. Lucovosky replied that he was joining Google.

    “At that point, Mr. Ballmer picked up a chair and threw it across the room hitting a table in his office,” Lucovosky recounted, adding that Ballmer then launched into a tirade about Google CEO Eric Schmidt. “I’m going to f***ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to f***ing kill Google.” Schmidt previously worked for Sun Microsystems and was the CEO of Novell.

    I also noticed that “Ballmer declined to directly address reports that a new unpatched vulnerability in Internet Explorer was partially to blame for the attacks on Google and other companies.”

    I’d take anything Steve Ballmer said about Google with a boulder sized grain of salt. He’s not exactly an unbiased observer, based on his past behavior.

  77. pug_ster Says:

    http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/15/can-google-beat-china/

    An interesting blog about ‘combating’ censorship in China. I have no doubt that Hillary will use this kind of theme to openly criticize the Chinese government on 1/21.

    Edit: Here’s an interesting blog from some internal employee from google China cause this whole mess.

    http://zonaeuropa.com/201001b.brief.htm#012

  78. Josef Says:

    Steve, about MS and Google you could find in BBC:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8463516.stm

    “German government warns against using MS Explorer …” which suggests that the security issue is (at least also) an MS problem. As the details are known now, the attacks can become more popular and they suggest to change the security level to “High” (which I just did now).

    Another quotation is the impact to other companies and business (pug_ster #55). Related also to Allens #15 and Otto Kerner’s reply #53.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8456950.stm

    I quote from there:

    Duncan Clark, an analyst at the Beijing hi-tech consultancy BDA, says he sees a “mismatch” in perception between the Chinese authorities and the foreign firms doing business here.

    “People here think no-one can do without China, and I think now some companies are thinking no-one can deal with China,” he told the French news agency AFP.

    I dont think so, I guess it is a bluff.
    To continue with the analogy: If pork is not allowed and you sold Dou Fu instead for while, you might decide to give up, as you ruin your reputation as pork seller…(that is like Steve wrote in #57)

  79. interesting Says:

    http://pop.6park.com/life2/messages/2805.html

  80. pug_ster Says:

    Talking about google and censorship. Here’s an interesting article.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/6967071/Google-denies-censoring-anti-Islam-search-suggestions.html

    Personally, I’m switching bing as my default search engine because Google is just too much.

  81. Steve Says:

    Hi pug_ster~ You might want to take a look at this article in The Atlantic comparing Google to Bing. James Fallows, who has good friends at both companies, spent a week comparing the results from the two and wrote this article about it.

    I did sorta the same thing when Bing came out and found I like Google for my search function but I prefer Bing for getting travel information. It’s great when you’re looking for low airfares, etc.

  82. Peter Says:

    Why China don’t allow freedom of speech and democrasy. This website are must read among others for central committee members.
    http://www.asiafinest.com/forum/lofiversion/index.php/t178920.html
    http://www.rense.com/general53/BBCliedagain.htm
    Should such paranoia are common .

  83. pug_ster Says:

    It is true that Google does censor its search results and not because China tells them to. I recall how people was able to take advantage of Google’s page rankings technology is during the 2004 election where people search for ‘miserable failure’ and Bush’s whitehouse page comes up. This is called a google bomb. I’m not a fan of GWB, but that’s not right. 2 years later, google removed this google bomb from its search engine so it won’t work anymore. Isn’t that a kind of censorship?

    I haven’t given much thought to Bing’s search engine until recently, and they do censor search results that was plagued by google bombs. But how many people actually want to search for ‘Chinese people eat babies’ anyways when they type in ‘Chinese people’ in google?

  84. jxie Says:

    Sky Canaves’ Google China profitability estimate may be quite a bit off. The base of her estimate is from Analysys International’s report. The methodology of its report is not known to the public. However, compared to other reports, it’s pretty obviously — to me at least — it’s based on some sort of traffic sampling. (Personally read a report by another firm that gave Google the similar market share and it’s based on server side traffic sampling)

    But you have to distinguish the different type of traffic. By far the most profitable search is organic search, i.e. search directly from the home page or browser-imbedded toolbar. Google’s market share of organic search is about 15% to 25% of Baidu’s, per the reports by CIC, CNNIC & iRearch.

    Then there is acquired traffic. It has far lower gross profit than organic search. For every dollar you take in from advertisers through Google Ads (the annoying text boxes), or Google’s Doubleclick (flashy banner ads), etc., you pay the web site owners x number of cents. Moreover, for instance, the search deal with Sina is likely losing money given their respective positions when they negotiated the deals: Google wanted growth in China then, and Sina wasn’t in a hurry to leave the search market.

  85. Wuyeun Says:

    I do not have comments here but questions as follows:
    a)Have not Google hacked by any countries including its own turf ie US and it announces its decision to pull out?
    b)who controls Google? Why Google is allowed to keep buying its competitors with its strong share price without raising any issue from its own country?
    c)Anyone know how comprehensive and immensely amount of personal information held in Google database? Does anyone know how much information Google has about him or her with its massive number of services provided?
    d)Have ever Google not asked to turn in personal information or its competing fellow countries to the its Government?
    e)Does anyone know how Google treat its business partners including internet marketers and advertisers?
    f)How could Google’s 3D map view help any Tom, Dick and Harry in their daily lives when they can see other people backyard?
    g)How could Google calls it free information and advertising for pulling information from other people websites and business without first asking for prior permission?
    h)Does anyone know Google behave like what it is trying to label its one of its biggest client ie China, undemocratic when it executive its permanent ban on its advertisers on a blanket basis without even a reason as and when it feel like it or to tell the world how “not to be evil” it is?
    i)Does anyone know there is only one company on the earth which can successfully make money from both sides of the coin and yet it is fully in charge?
    j)Does anyone tell that there is no close enough business rival like even Microsoft and Yahoo which could not come up same sort of search engine facility like Google? I thought profoundly and only came to one conclusion, Google must have some sort of powerful politicial support behind it.

    Google is in an information and intelligence business, it has extremely powerful commodity which every single soverign government wants incl …..But who control it and really audit its business as history tell external auditors most probably fail to do those functions?

    Is it not rather too simplistic and naive that Google gave such reason now after it has accepted in the first place a few ago when it first entered China market? Just too many questions in my mind?

  86. Steve Says:

    @ Wuyuen~ Sometimes comments can pose as questions. ;)

    So here’s my responses to your questions/comments:
    a) It seems they haven’t been hacked to this extent in the past, though we can only speculate on that.
    b) Like any other corporation, Google is controlled by its management and board of directors. Google, like any other corporation, can buy anyone it wants as long as it doesn’t break the law by creating a monopoly. Are you referring to any specific acquisitions?
    c) Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Baidu, etc. all have massive amounts of information about their users in their database. That’s the nature of their business. Google has the most because they are the largest. In China, Baidu has the most because they are the largest.
    d) Sorry, I don’t understand this question.
    e) Google, like every other IT corporation, negotiates with its suppliers for its own benefit. The suppliers negotiate for their own benefit. Baidu operates in exactly the same way.
    f) I use Google maps all the time and I never look into anyone’s backyard. Google drives a van around neighborhoods and takes shots from it. They lowered the camera height in Japan after people complained about it. What does this have to do with Google leaving China?
    g) The same way Baidu and every other search company does it. Once something is posted on the net, it is public information.
    h) Sorry, I don’t understand this question.
    i) Nor this one either.
    j) Google has proprietary research that allows their search engine to be more successful than their rivals. That’s how most business works. There are many GPS manufacturers out there but most people buy Garmin. Why? Because their GPS system is easier and more intuitive to use than the others. Does that mean they have powerful political support behind them? The Chinese rivals to Yahoo and eBay are far more successful in China. Is it because they had powerful political support behind them, or that they created a service that was easier to use and more intuitive to the Chinese customer?

    After Enron, external auditors are under a lot of pressure to audit more carefully than in the past. Where is your evidence that this is not the case concerning Google? And do you feel Google isn’t being audited correctly while its competitors are?

    Why are Google’s reasons “simplistic and naive”? Just because you say they are?

    I’m not trying to take Google’s side in this. Personally, I have no access to any of the details and realize that we’re all just speculating here. Let’s just admit it’s speculation. Rather than worry about why they’re leaving (if they actually do, that’s not a given yet), I think we should be discussing the consequences to China, whether positive or negative, of their potential exit from the country. Our opinions would have a lot more validity in that area.

    Wuyuen, we’ve all read Plato and understand Socratic dialogue. If you want to give your opinions in the form of questions, go right ahead but don’t pretend like they’re not opinions.

  87. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    nice response. I love point by point responses, cuz you’re not cherry picking anything. You got a question, here’s an answer, moving on…

    Regarding point (f) of #85, I too have some qualms about the potential invasion of privacy with Google maps. However, Google appears to have been reasonable in its application of it thus far, and also responsive to citizen concerns. They blurred out license plates and faces. And if you find yourself in a photo unedited, and would prefer to not be there, you can contact them and they’ll do something about it. It’s a great thing if you’re traveling, and you want to see a place to get the lay of the land before you actually go there and see it. Besides, although the information might be there, a user has some questions to answer for if they actually go and zoom in on someone else’s backyard. All that being said, I agree that it has nothing to do with China, unless someone wants to compare how Google invades privacy with, say, how the Chinese government does it.

    Point J is hilarious. Google’s search engine is best because of politics? I guess IE does well because of politics, EU antitrust rulings notwithstanding. And Windows has market share because she’s a regulatory darling. I particularly enjoyed how you turned the point back towards China.

    We’ll see if Google is actually on her way out of China. If she is, she’ll have nothing to lose and won’t mind burning bridges along the way. Her initial statement you provided here might be the first step of her earth scorching. And who knows, it might rouse some popular support among Chinese netizens along the way, whatever that’s worth wrt the CCP’s censorship proclivities. That said, such a sentiment is in short supply among the comments here; then again, most of the people here aren’t even in China.

  88. Wuyuen Says:

    Hi Steve, thanks for replies. You are exactly right. I did not pretend to pose questions as opinions. All the questions posted in the original post are indeed my personal opinions but in the form of questions. I always believe free speech is beautiful and I believe this post is all about. I believe Google will support this sort of blog post. No point for me to keep circling about the same line of thought and discussion. I just want to bring in some new information and perspective of how thing work when business mixed with politics. Such possibilities are always there. I am absolutely disgusted about invasion of privacy and double standards too. As a matter of fact, I could understand the bad feeling of Google of helping the China Government to impose filtering of information over the past 5 years since it first entered the China market. If Google does not have evidence that this hacking to do with the China government, why it threaten to pull out of China? On the other, Google shold bring the China Government to the international court if it has evidence which I believe is the right approach. If someone from US hack into Google, would Google pull out from US too? If not, this should be a police investigation matter. Google should not pre-empted the proper legal process. Please correct me, does Google’s pull-out means the Chinese people could not search the net using Google anymore? I believe the more plausible action Google should take is to ban Gmail access etc from China completely since some of its Gmail account users were being hacked. And let the Chinese Gmail account holders to put pressure on China Government to submit to Google’s requirements.

    The other points that Steve made which I perfectly agreed with is that it is simply not enough and at best misleading and partial information provided from the Chief Legal Adviser of Google. We simply do not have enough information or otherwise this is just speculation discussion. We also do not have the right information about Google business in China. If we are talking about competition, yes, any pull-out of the information providers such Google, Yahoo, MSN etc will be a loss to the China people.

  89. Chops Says:

    Well, there’s also Google Hong Kong – http://www.google.com.hk/
    Office @ Tower 1, Times Square, Causeway Bay

    This site unlike the .cn counterpart, apparently returns uncensored results.

    If google.com.hk servers are located in Hong Kong and the GFW blocks this site, it would be ironic since Hong Kong is part of China.

  90. pug_ster Says:

    Chops,

    The problem with google’s search engine is that it can be manipulated and google is known for turning a blind eye towards that. For example, they can google bomb 163 to go to some chinese dissident website.

    The dns hack towards baidu’s website could’ve been done easily and I would not be surprised that it will happen again… soon.

    I do think that the West is trying to spread its influence using democracy into China one way or another. In Hong Kong, they have moderate progress as Democratic parties can form there. In China, Demmocratic parties are not allowed to form, so they are using ‘internet freedom’ as an excuse to spread democracy.

  91. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Hi Chops,

    you’re right, the .hk site seems to return plenty of links to searches of the usual list of “hot” topics (like TAM, etc). And the links themselves actually work (at least the ones I tried, like to wiki). Whether this was always the case, or only since Google adopted this “new approach”, I can’t say. Also, can’t say whether such searches using the .hk engine would be quite as successful if attempted from within China. I also haven’t compared whether you get the same number or nature of links as if you searched the same topic on .com or .ca engines. Nonetheless, as you say, it is ironic that .hk allows unfettered searches, since it is a part of China (albeit a “special zone” until 2047).

    I tried to search TAM on .cn, and even that is returning some links; once again, the ones I tried actually work. I presume this is a new development owing to this “new approach”. Seems like a good thing. As an aside, one of the links was to a China-hosted message board, where the post-author asked, in 2006, when the TAM incident had occurred. It was simultaneously funny and sad.

    To Pugster:
    “I do think that the West is trying to spread its influence using democracy into China one way or another.” — but there’s nothing to worry about, unless, of course, Chinese people feel that there might be something to this democracy thing after all, the best efforts of the CCP notwithstanding. Besides, Google is a business, and I don’t think it’s trying to embody “the west”.

    “so they are using ‘internet freedom’ as an excuse to spread democracy” — well, I certainly think more internet freedom would have helped Google’s business. I don’t know if internet freedom helps to spread democracy; but the types of restrictions on said freedoms as seen in China certainly aren’t the work of a democracy.

  92. Cissy Says:

    Some new progress on this issue:

    People’s daily hammer Baidu on porno contents;
    Google Ads on chinese TV;
    Google delay Android phone launch in China
    Seems compromise is on the way…

    BTW, I wish this site has some little expression icons. Pure B&W can be boring after a while.

  93. justkeeper Says:

    Did anybody else notice that keywords like “天*安*门”, “共*产*党” and “毛*泽*东“ (all without the *) are no longer filtered by GFW? (confirmed in two far-away mainland locations) I’m surprised to find that there’s nearly no discussion anywhere. I sit just GFW upgrading or there ‘s some progress on the negotiation between Google and CCP?

  94. Samantha Says:

    I just came across an article revealing Google’s connection with CIA and US military.
    http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article16486.html

  95. dewang Says:

    Hi Samantha, #94,

    Interesting link. But I was thinking the story is actually lot simpler. If Google had cared about “human rights”, Google should have threatened to leave the U.S. when the U.S. invaded Iraq on the false pretense of WMD.

    So, now I wonder if Google censors images of innocent Iraqi deaths.

  96. Steve Says:

    Hi Samantha~ welcome to the forum. We try to stay away from the conspiracy stuff here, so I collapsed the comment. People can still read it with one click if they are interested.

  97. dewang Says:

    Hi Steve, #96,

    I don’t think the link provided by Samantha was conspiracy theory. Why did you think so? I have uncollapsed it.

  98. pug_ster Says:

    Here’s Rob Painter’s linkedin link. Interesting what he does in google.

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/ripainter

    Rob was also Chief Technologist and a Senior Manager for Google Federal focused on evangelizing and implementing Google Enterprise solutions for a host of users across the Intelligence and Defense Communities, Homeland Security, and many others. Rob’s work history includes several senior advisory roles supporting strategic, tactical, and operational objectives within numerous federal government, defense, and law enforcement organizations. He has held leadership roles at Northrop-Grumman/TASC, Lockheed-Martin, Harris Corporation, and Ohio University.

  99. miaka9383 Says:

    @DeWang
    I am deeply offended by your uncollapsing that comment. Because I am offended by reading that article. So a person or a company hosts technology for the U.S government ergo U.S government buys technolgoy from them means the Compnay must be state controlled and they don’t care about human rights.
    I am taking it personally. I WORK in the Defense Industry, does this mean every word that I spew or say on this forum must be government controlled?
    My God guys, think a little. Google refused to supply user information under the Patriot Act. They are just doing the same thing. Plus, the government is their Customer therefore, if that user information is hacked, it affects Google’s ability and credibility to do business. And because of that customer status, Google can choose not to do business with them when the customer is asking for unreasonable things.
    Please collapse that comment. Anyone who works in the IT industry or defense techonology industry should be offended by it. In fact yes, I am offended by that conspiracy theory because there is no direct proof.
    Also, Google would not pull out of the U.S because U.S did not violate people’s right of freedom of information.
    Stop adding in miscellaneous facts that does not relate. I can’t believe you are made moderator.

    @Pug_ster
    So what?

  100. dewang Says:

    Hi Miaka, #99,

    Are you equally offended by Google’s conspiracy that the Chinese government is behind these cyber attacks? Where is the proof?

    I thought a legal based society such as the U.S. would be more interested in wanting to see the facts first. Not interested, anymore, eh?

    Should all the Chinese people who work for the Chinese government be “deeply offended”?

    The article Samantha linked to is about Google’s supposed concern about human rights – which the author suggests none. That is a core part of this Google PR, which is what this thread is all about.

    Why censor that view offered by Samantha’s link? This is an irony isn’t it. Isn’t Google’s gripe about censorship too?

  101. miaka9383 Says:

    @DeWang
    They posted on their blog what they have investigated to them as fact. To you it might be conspiracy and they have no obligation to me or you to show the fact.
    Collapsing is not censoring. If you think so, then that is where you and I differ in defiinition of CENSORING
    The core part of google’s pr is to not be affect by government and business IS business. You have to distinct of WHICH human rights they were talking about. What Google is advocating for free flow of information. Question, how is it relevant to discuss WMD in a thread like this?
    Yes if Google’s allegation is proven to be false of course I will be deeply offended and so far there has been none. As for Samantha’s link, I read through it and read your comments, by your opinion, I am just as guilty as the company that I work for since I work in the defense industry.
    Should all Chinese people who work for the Chinese Government be “Deeply Offended”? I don’t know and that is not my concern, but I am deeply offended.

    P.S Don’t highlight my comment or yours, they are not valuable comments to be highlighted.

  102. pug_ster Says:

    I agree with dewang. I think that google wants to paint themselves as a ‘do no evil’ company yet there is evidence mentioned here otherwise. Google being in the information business might be very well be a business for good when they advocate against censorship but could be a ‘evil’ company when they are involved in information manipulation for misdirection. I don’t think we should assume that it is one or another.

    The same can be said for people in the Defense industry as DARPA produced some products like GPS that benefitted mankind because GPS helps us to find directions but also produced GPS guided bombs. I think the same can be said about the internet.

  103. Charles Liu Says:

    Justkeeper @ 93, “Did anybody else notice that keywords like…”

    You know, this “TAM is censored” bit pretty much just comes up every June, matters not if it’s true or false. For example last year, or a week ago.

  104. dewang Says:

    According to this Bloomberg article, “Google Said to Have Tried to Get Support Over Attack (Update2)”, Google failed to get other U.S. company to go along, so it let out the bombshell:

    Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) — Google Inc. approached other companies to seek their help drawing attention to a cyber attack from China last month and was frustrated by their reluctance to come forward, according to a person familiar with the matter.

    Google announced this week that it was one of at least 20 companies targeted in a “highly sophisticated” computer attack and wanted others to talk about the incident, the person said. The companies refused, and Google made the announcement by itself, the person said.

    According to a fund manager ($2 billion USD):

    “Companies are not going to be cutting off their nose to spite their face,” James said. “It’s an underlying problem that exists in terms of dealing with a country where they don’t necessarily follow all the same rules that we do. More experienced firms have a better grip on how to navigate that.”

    This is not the first time Google has run-in with censorship issues in China. Google was in fact violating Chinese censorhip laws when Google failed to censor pornography.

    In this CNet report in June 19, 2009, Google has clearly violated Chinese censorhip laws. Google admitted to making “substantial engineering effort” in censoring pornography on Google.cn after confronted by the Chinese government:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10269184-93.html

    In this case, however, Google was quite willing to state that it met with Chinese government officials to “discuss problems with the Google.cn service and its serving of pornographic images and content based on foreign language searches,” a Google representative said in a statement.

    The company is also putting some serious effort into making sure it complies with China’s antipornography drive. “We are undertaking a thorough review of our service and taking all necessary steps to fix any problems with our results. This has been a substantial engineering effort, and we believe we have addressed the large majority of the problem results,” Google said.

    Ministry of Public Security was reported by NYT publishing a report in December 5, 2008 where 19 companies were in violation of China’s censorship laws with Google and Baidu among them.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/06/world/asia/06pornography.html

  105. Charles Liu Says:

    Dewang @ 104, “cyber attack from China”

    It seem Bloomberg is repeating some unverifiable claim as truth here. Can you say “Echo Chamber”, boys and girls?

    The servers used for the attacks were in Texas and IP addresses were traced to Taiwan. Trust me if there’s any concrete information like Chinese government IP Address, we’d hear it a thousand times already. The fact the closes accusation I’ve seen is “proxy of the Chinese government” tells me somebody is making this stuff up.

    Think about what we are supposed to believe – hack 35 Fortune 100 companies because they want to see emails from a handfull of human rights activists? Why not just target/spam/phish these accounts directly? Easier yet subscribe to their email lists?

    That would be too rational – no, it’s got to be some sort of Hollywood James Bond nonsense, so our media can sell this “Red China” POV to the unsuspecting public.

  106. Josef Says:

    I found the article on “Evidence Found for Chinese Attack on Google” again, it was NYT:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/20/technology/20cyber.html?ref=technology
    I extract some lines:

    .. the attack contained a module based on an unusual algorithm from a Chinese technical paper that has been published exclusively on Chinese-language Web sites.

    and

    He [Joe Stewart, a malware specialist ] acknowledged that he could not completely rule out the possibility that the clue had been placed in the program intentionally by programmers from another government intent on framing the Chinese, but he said that was unlikely. “Occam’s Razor suggests that the simplest explanation is probably the best one

    it might be “some sort of Hollywood James Bond nonsense” and it is certainly no proof (requested from dewang), but potentially the simplest explanation.

  107. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I thought this blog was about things that have something to do with CHina. And that this thread was about Google.cn’s relationship with, and ongoing role (if any) in, China.

    But for the last little while, it seems to be “let’s dump on Google” day on this thread. Or how about some conspiracy theories and innuendo about Google.com’s relationship with the “establishment” (not the Chinese establishment, no; the US establishment, cuz that’s worth more in terms of chest-thumping mileage).

    Maybe Google had it coming, what with dropping a bombshell, then staying silent. You know what they say about a vacuum…and there appears to have been no shortage of people eager and willing, if not necessarily able, to fill it.

    There’s no expectation of “zero censorship”, I don’t think, on any side of any pond. With regards to things like pornography, I think most people can agree that, even if adults are to be allowed a choice on whether to consume it or not, minors should definitely be barred access. If China wants to protect minors by trying to restrict access for all-comers, it might be one way to go. And if Google.cn chose to comply with such restrictions (after falling off-side to begin with), I’m not sure they deserve to be chastised for it. That said, it might be more useful to look at the areas where Google.cn did chafe under China’s censorship demands, and consider individually whether each of those areas of contention was potentially legitimate. Of course, that becomes an “eye of the beholder” scenario. However, in this case, the only eye that matters is Google’s, since it’s their engine. Likewise, while some might mock Google’s “do no evil” mantra, they should remember that “evil” is as seen in the eyes of Google. If their vision differs from yours, then I’m afraid you’ll just have to go out and build a most-awesome and nearly ubiquitous search engine yourselves.

  108. Samantha Says:

    @miaka, dewang, and Steve,

    Sorry for stirring up so much emotions/troubles. I was merely looking around the web to learn what’s going on and to share what I found. I’m not here to make accusations or to condemn anyone.

    Here is why I find the article interesting.

    1. Google’s connection/involvement with CIA is nothing short of a business strategy. US military annual budget is larger than rest of the world combined. No surprise that businesses compete to dip their hands into this deep pocket.

    2. Google as a search engine serves as a handy tool for spy agencies to collect information especially in times of heightened ‘anti-terrorist warfare’ cyber or physical.

    3. What really strikes me is the section about Visible Technologies and its specialty “monitoring social media”. Quote:
    “The ‘Visible’ technology can automatically examine more than a million discussions and posts on blogs, online forums, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Amazon, and so forth each day. The technology also ‘scores’ each online item, assigning it a positive, negative or mixed or neutral status, based on parameters and terms set by the technology operators. The information, thus boiled down, can then be more effectively scanned and read by human operators.” Mind you, you are watched!

    4. ‘Visible’ technology reminds me of the recent David Coleman Headley case. Here are some interesting details in the criminal complaints: “He also had numerous phone and e-mail conversations in which he discussed the status of his work or planned reconnaissance trips. During such conversations, Headley would use terms to disguise the true objective of his work. For example, when referring to attack plans, Headley and his alleged co-conspirators reportedly called them “investment plans” or “business plans,” and when discussing the plot against Jyllands-Posten, the newspaper that published the Mohammed cartoons, Headley and his co-conspirators referred to it as the “Mickey Mouse Project,” the “MMP” or “the Northern Project.” “Headley also used a common militant communication method of creating messages and then saving them in the drafts folder of a Web-mail service rather than sending the message.” (quoted from Stratfor) Why so? Because the emails will be sniffed.

    5. US government uses Google to collect information for its spy agencies, while the Chinese government uses it to block certain information. They are really two sides of the same coin.

  109. pug_ster Says:

    Samantha,

    Excellent point. I think that social media is the next source of medium where us tries to spread its influence china over issues of censorship. It is not just about censorship per say bot how some information being prioritized and some information being thumbed down. An example that a few people here were offended that google and government work together. Google’s search engine merely facilitates this by putting information that others want you to see on top and putting the consipracy theories and other information that some people don’t want to hear in the bottom. There is a term for this it is called information domination. Personally, I think this is no worse than censorship. However google who wants to defend itself as don’t be evil company merely blame on the chinese government when it is going to see itself in more controversy in the future.

  110. Steve Says:

    Here’s a long discussion from Slate/New Foundation America about this topic. The participants are:

    Featured Speakers
    Evgeny Morozov
    Contributing Editor, Foreign Policy Magazine
    Yahoo! Fellow, Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University

    Rebecca MacKinnon
    Fellow, Open Society Institute
    Co-Founder, Global Voices Online

    Tim Wu
    Schwartz Fellow, New America Foundation
    Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
    Contributing Writer, Slate

    Alec Ross
    Senior Advisor for Innovation
    Office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

    Moderator
    James Fallows
    Board Member, New America Foundation
    National Correspondent, The Atlantic Monthly

  111. Steve Says:

    Hi Samantha~ Upon further thought, I posted your comment and in doing so, it makes sense to post all the responses.

  112. pug_ster Says:

    Actually, I should correct the term on my comment on @109 it should be information dominance. That’s what happens when I post comments in my blackberry:)

  113. Cissy Says:

    “Countries that restrict free access to information or violate the basic rights of Internet users risk walling themselves off from the progress of the next century.” —Hillary Clinton

    This time, I am against Chinese government.

  114. Charles Liu Says:

    Joseph @ 106,

    Um, can you point to me where does Stewart, a self-proclaimed “reverse engineer“, states there’s Chinese government involvement? The article speculated about a “Chinese author”, which narrows down to ~1.5 billion people, the global Chinese diaspora including Taiwan, where the spear phishing attacks originated. An algorithm that’s public publication available world wide but has no translation? What’s the name of the publication? Algorithm? How did Stewart, a non Chinese speaker, become ware of it?

    If one believes Occam’s Razor, then the simplest explination is the Chinese government is not involved. Think about it, for this claim to be true, first complexity is Joe Steward must know Chinese (and let me remind you of that one security expert who found proof of He Kexin is uderage 8)

    Miaka @ 99, “Google refused to supply user information under the Patriot Act”

    The Canadians are balking at Google’s compliance with Patriot Act, because it violates their privacy protection law, FIPPA.

  115. Josef Says:

    Charles, I only provided the link.
    I put the whole attack now in one box: In #78 i supplied a link from BBC that the German government gave a warning about the usage of MS explorer, which was also issued a few days later from the French government. The interesting point in their argument was not so much that the same hacker could be active again, but rather that a method, which they claim to be impossible to be applied by individuals, is due to the publication in the Internet, now feasible also to individuals.
    I don’t think it is narrowed down to ~1.5 billion, but to professional groups within China. To my opinion, for business relations it would be better for China if it was a government near group. But what we have seen until now is, that other business branches are more afraid of some overall negative impact on the US-China relations, than to be attacked by some, well, you could call criminal private institution or group. Might be that they also do not see a business related hacker company behind it.
    And there is certainly also always the option that someone wants people like me, seeing it like that…

  116. r v Says:

    Google is an internet business. Getting out of China hardly keeps it safe from “attack from Chinese hackers.”

    Any computer programmer would know that.

    And just because of some Chinese codes use? Well, unless these computer hacking codes are all written in Chinese instead of binary, it’s pretty easy for it to get around hacker community.

    Just sounds like Google is trying to play hardball on a soft excuse.

    I like Google, I have friends at Google, but Google upper management better wise up.

    When you are a small business, no one cares what you say.

    When you get big, it’s easy to keep your customers, (just look at Microsoft, much hated, but still growing.)

    But when you are big and wealthy, there are only 2 things to worry about, neither is about human rights.

    (1) taxes, and (2) lawsuits.

    both can end a big business. Just read the news about Google. Google’s “human rights” and hacking problems are nothing compared to all the anti-trust and copyright lawsuits, such as the book scanning lawsuits.

    Microsoft is not evil, Google is not “don’t be evil.”

    Microsoft is just savvy. It knows that its competitors can easily use its size to drum up public hostility against Microsoft. But Microsoft is smart enough to know that the least it could do is to get the Governments on its side. It may get sued for antitrust, but it gets slaps on the wrist and walks away without saying anything bad about the Governments that imposed fines on it.

    Does Microsoft threaten to pull out of EU?

    Don’t tell me that Microsoft doesn’t get hacked in China.

    You know what Microsoft did when it had a piracy of its OS problem in China? Microsoft repackaged its OS for the Chinese to sell at 1/3 of its original price tag.

    *Personally, I believe some upper-middle Google management cronies wanted to justify their own paychecks with some political sloganeering, and cooked up this ridiculous campaign.

    Perhaps that was the reason why Google China’s boss decided to quit, he saw a political campaign coming and decided that he was not going to have anything to do with it.

  117. r v Says:

    What’s “hacking” any ways?

    If a person circumvents internet/computer security of some kind illegally, he’s a “hacker.”

    Does that include that would-be human rights activist who try to circumvent the Chinese “firewall”?

    The Echelon Project in US, monitors electronic signals, even private emails and phone calls, and look for key words. Is that “hacking”?

    Really, who is hacking whom? Everyone is hacking everyone. (Except me of course.)

    And finally, the Chinese government owns the internet backbone in China, they really don’t need to hack anyone’s email account.

  118. Charles Liu Says:

    Joseph @ 115, “a method, which they claim to be impossible to be applied by individuals”

    I’m sorry, Joseph, I read your citations, and they don’t seem to make this claim. Can you cite a passage to this effect? The articles you cited provided no proof the Chinese government is involved.

    “but to professional groups within China”

    Okay, does this in any way implicate the Chinese government? Have you any proof of this, when facts of the case show the command and control for this attack originated in Taiwan (citation provided abvove).

    Granted, similiar malware was used back in September by Chinese hackers against western journalists in China, because they were unhappy with their biased Olympic reports. But back then no one said anything about the Chinese government.

    Wouldn’t the simplest explination be that hackers, who’s always found new ways to hack, is at it again?

  119. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Samantha #108:
    Point 1 – agree.

    Point 2 – Google offers a legal public service. It’s there for people to use. I think any agency that deals with information, spy or otherwise, would be remiss to not attempt to use any and all tools at their disposal, especially a free and legal one.

    Point 3- anyone looking for a job today knows (or ought to know) that HR types are checking on the online lives of potential hires to see if there are skeletons that didn’t see the light of day during the usual vetting process. People should also know that the expectation of privacy should be minimal when it comes to what they do on social networking sites….or at least that they need to change default privacy settings if they want to protect themselves. But if people put themselves out into the public domain of the internet, they should conduct themselves accordingly. If one is going to roam the streets of the public online world, one really shouldn’t be surprised that there might be cops or other authorities walking the beat there as well.

    Point 5 – one is sorting through information in the public domain; the other is trying to prevent people from accessing information that’s in the public domain. I’d say those are rather different coins.

    To 109:
    that’s looking like more conspiracy theories again.

  120. admin Says:

    James Fallows: More on Hillary’s speech

  121. Charles Liu Says:

    Admin @ 120, “Internet Freedom”

    Our tax dollars have paid for “Counter-Censorship Technology in China” before.

    Between 03-05, Congressional funding via the BBG (the agency who funds VOA) gave Falun Gong practitioner Bill Xia over US$2,000,000 to start Dynaweb and Ultrareach, to send junk email and staff QQ chat to prostalize their religion which is banned in China.

    Our tax dollars well spent I tell ya.

  122. admin Says:

    A comment highlighted by NYT editors and recommended by 174 Readers.

    “I’m one of Chinese netizens. I’m here to voice my support for Mrs Clinton because Mrs Clinton rather than so called Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman spoke for the Chinese netizens as well as the Chinese people. If there is an presidential election in China, I believe Mrs Clinton will be elected president of China. The current Chinese government cannot even represent 0.1% of the Chinese population if there is a survey carried out in China.”

    http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2010/01/23/world/asia/23diplo.html#postComment

  123. Charles Liu Says:

    Interestng, does China allow foreign-born non-citizen to be president? US law forbids foreign-born citizens, as well as non-citizens, for the presidency. Hu Jintao, AFAIK, was born in China. Hu also had a 20-year career in public service, plus 15 years of political career, before China’s electoral, the NPC (an indirectly elected body), nominated him for the presidency.

    Boy, hate to think 99.9% of the Chinese population are ignorant of their own political system, like this guy.

  124. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Admin,

    thanks for that link. Assuming that Chang is in fact a Chinese netizen in China, it’s interesting to see that at least one Chinese internet user does not wholeheartedly approve of the CCP’s methods. And at least he/she would be speaking from experience and walking the walk, as opposed to extolling on the virtues of CCP censorship without having to live with it.

    I also found comment number 60 from one “eyc” in Jersey to be quite enjoyable, though it might hit a little close to home for some.

    To Charles,
    yes, Ms. Clinton probably wouldn’t fly as a PRC presidential candidate. However, when it comes to elections and related concepts, I don’t think there’d be too many PRC citizens with substantial knowledge of, nor direct experience with, the concept. Wonder why that would be.

    You know, the CCP probably does ably represent more than 0.1% of PRC citizens; however, as to exactly how representative they are, I can’t say. For that matter, neither could Hu Jintao. And I wonder why that is?

  125. r v Says:

    Illogical.

    How is it possible for anyone to discuss virtue of any censorship in China, if it is indeed that bad?

    That is, if indeed a Chinese netizen have “lived with it,” then he/she should be already silenced by it.

    Far too often, those who say they have “lived with it,” have NOT!

    For example, many of those who speak of living in Freedom, know not what Freedom is, or the limit of it.

    Blind leading the fool….

  126. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I can’t say if anyone waxes on about the virtues of censorship in China while being in China. But there is no shortage of such sentiment among some people in the US, for instance. One needs to look no further than entries on this very blog. Usually, such “virtues” are couched in the context of “stability”, yada yada. As for how Mr/Ms Chang managed to get his/her opinion onto an NYT board, I can’t say. One would have to assume that he/she actually isn’t in China, or has managed to get around the GFW. Even the CCP, try as she might, isn’t perfect with her censorship. So it is equally illogical to think that someone who has “lived with it” must therefore be “silenced by it”. But whatever floats it for ya.

    As I already stipulated, I can’t say with any certainty whether this “Chang” is who he/she says he/she is. But unless you know this individual, neither can you. If you choose to discount Chang’s sentiment on this basis, that is certainly your prerogative.

    As for knowing what “freedom” is, perhaps I can take a page from how the Supreme Court described “pornography”, of course being careful to clarify that those 2 things aren’t otherwise comparable, and simply say that “you’d know it when you’re deprived of it”.

  127. Nimrod Says:

    Here’s an interesting article in BusinessWeek on Hillary’s speech.
    Internet Freedom Is Not a Universal Value, Secretary of State Clinton

    http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/NussbaumOnDesign/archives/2010/01/internet_freedo.html

    As even Americans realize from the US Supreme Court’s recent decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, free speech isn’t what it’s cracked up to be, when you haven’t figured out how to control the volume of speech and which voice is heard. People have limited attention span, and as a practical matter, censorship (a form of regulation on the free market of ideas, if you will) is simply a necessity if you want to get anywhere useful.

  128. Charles Liu Says:

    Nimrod @ 127, “internet freedom is not a universal value”

    Dude, some of our BFF Arab kingdoms women can’t freely show their face (let alone wash car in bikini to Welcom To The Jungle) in public. How tragic we ain’t rescuing them with free Guns & Roses album. Or should we respect their culture, national perogative and not force our rock & roll bikini carwash freedom on them?

    r v said in another comment that freedom is defined and limited by law. Now, China’s law on use of internet reminds me that we too asked the question if ISPs are responsible for user content. If we asked this question 20 years ago, what’s not to say the Chinese too can ask similiar question, and arrive at their own answer, based on their own laws, culture, politics, conditions?

  129. r v Says:

    Perhaps some blankly ignores the simple illogic of “lived with censorship” and talking loudly about it.

    Well, at least the blind can make others blind as well, apparently.

    As for “pornography,” I don’t think the Supreme Court Justices would agree that they have to be “deprived of” it to “know it.”

    That too is illogical. In fact, societies define “pornography” according to what they have too much abundance of.

    By that logic, the “Peddlers of Freedom” are as desperate as the “Peddlers of Pornography.”

    I may agree in principle that the human body is naturally beautiful, and there is nothing ugly about human sexual activities, but I do not need every aspect of such natural things plastered in public.

    But hey, maybe if you object to pornography, then you are impotant, by your logic.

  130. r v Says:

    One other thing on internet law, which most people are ignorant of, is the issue of whether any information you send through email service or websites are your “personal property.”

    In US, the issue was somewhat decided by privacy laws only few years ago, but even then there are boundaries and questions to “personal information” ownership on the internet.

    For example, just because you register for a website name first, doesn’t mean you can violate someone else’s trademark name doing it. That’s call cybersquatting, and it is a civil offense.

    Most “personal ownership” of net space/information is based upon a simple promise that you are not owning something to do something illegal. (that’s the fundamental assumption that everyone ignores.)

    If a person uses anything on the internet for any illegal purposes, spamming, hacking, defamation, that person’s internet “properties” are no longer protected. (That’s the simple bottom line. No one can hide from governments behind internet companies.)

    And it’s up to each government to define what is illegal. That’s also quite simple. (Afterall, US government will and have raided people for violation of DMCA, even if such may not be a crime in some other countries.)

    *
    Lastly, Personal Property laws are different in China. Frankly, it is ignorant to assume that internet information is “personal property”, (even for US, that’s not true.)

    (You don’t own information you put into email, you have “expectation of privacy”, but that’s contextual, and depends on what you do with your information. Under US laws, if you use information to harm another, you have ZERO “expectation of privacy”!)

    It is not Google’s place to determine what information has “expectation of privacy,” it’s up to the judicial system of each individual country.

  131. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Nimrod:
    interesting opinion piece. Mr. Nussbaum certainly isn’t alone in being impressed with Clinton’s speech while still finding it seriously flawed. Mr. Fallows’ piece suggests a similar opinion (thanks Admin for the link). I think Clinton accounted for herself well from a domestic consumption standpoint (heck, she may have even sounded “presidential”), but the impact on China overall and the Google dispute in particular will both likely be negligible.

    However, he’s also arguing against points that no one is making. For instance, in para 1, who is advocating for “absolute” internet freedom? Being a North American resident, I didn’t realize I shared in such a value until he informed me of such. He also compares tolerance of tracking cookies to distaste for government censorship. The difference is that the former involves a choice on the part of the consumer, compared to the absence of such choice wrt the latter. Those are 2 separate things, and hardly equatable.

    Finally, his para 2 seems to suggest that Google failed in part due to their reluctance/inability to play the guanxi game. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. Besides, censorship might be a bad thing, but corrupt censorship might be even worse.

    To 129:
    Living with censorship but going around the GFW to complain about it are not mutually exclusive things. Not sure why this is so difficult for you to understand. To each his own.

    Adding to the ongoing tally of people who would prefer to argue against what they hoped someone wrote, rather than what they actually did write, allow me to direct your attention to this line in #126: “of course being careful to clarify that those 2 things aren’t otherwise comparable”. Since you spend the rest of your precious 129 comparing those two things, then either I didn’t spell it out carefully enough for you, or you weren’t reading. I’ll let you decide which one is closer to reality. But I’ve got a pretty good idea.

    But if I can spell it out even more plainly for you, I was merely taking the “I know it when I see it” line, and altering it to fit what I was trying to say. So whereas they know what pornography is when they see it, so too that one might know what freedom is when they’re deprived of it. Hope that helps.

    “societies define “pornography” according to what they have too much abundance of.” — I don’t know about you, but mere abundance of “something” doesn’t make that “something” pornography. For example, I think Southern California is currently wading through record amounts of rain, but not record amounts of pornography.

    I’m not sure how to respond to the rest of your “logic”, cuz, well, it doesn’t really seem all that logical. But it’s in the eye of the beholder, as I always say.

  132. pug_ster Says:

    @SKC 119

    Information Dominance is not some kind of fabricated conspiracy theory and has been practiced in some sort in the US and UK governments. The US Navy even has a Center of Information Dominance. Here’s an interesting globaltimes editoral that even China admits that they are losing this war of information:

    http://opinion.globaltimes.cn/editorial/2010-01/500324.html

    Upon listening to Fallow’s speech on @110 and Clinton’s speech that I concluded that these people have a frank talk about removing censorship in China as if it was some kind of ‘white man’s burden’ to do so. I am not against censorship, but I think this sort one sided information flow from the west is part rhetoric, part information, but all propaganda is even more dangerous because they thought they are right when they are not. People who think they are right refuse to listen the information from the other side and thought it is ‘offensive’ and some kind of conspiracy theory when it is not and I think this is happening more in the West due to their information superiority.

    We should hear arguments from both sides of the coin to analyze and make an objective opinion based on it. We should not be afraid to be the dissenter.

  133. r v Says:

    To #131:

    if you seek to compare 2 things, and then disclaim them as largely uncomparable, then it’s your own illogic, not mine. (and yes, they were largely uncomparable, other than your own little “borrowed authority” paraphrase of US Supreme Court justice, which was not even accurate itself. Last I looked, “see it” and “deprived of it” are not even close in comparative meanings.)

    And before you start pulling your hair out misquoting Supreme Court Justices, get your terms straight: the quote was for “obscenity”, not “pornography”.

    Obscenity is illegal in US, but not all pornography is obscene.

    And as for excess rain in Southern California, Society has so far not defined it as “pornography”, but that’s not an impossibility.

  134. r v Says:

    I believe Merle Goldman, the leading China expert in US, who wrote books on Chinese history, recently said, all the experts in the West who thought they knew China have been consistently wrong about China. And Professor Goldman admits, he cannot imagine what will happen in China in the next 10 – 20 years.

    About the direction of Socialist China, the result and pace and success of economic reform in China, etc. etc.

    So, “experts”, give it a rest.

    “Democracy experts” and “human rights experts”, take a sabatical.

    It’s obvious that someone is overpaying you all for bad advice. I would have better results going to a fortune teller.

    But, then again, I understand that it is very profitable to write bad fantasy novels.

    As I recall, an English professor once told me that all romance paper back novels are written according to a predictable plot line.

    Obviously, the “predictable plot line” written by some “China experts” have not changed in 50 years (and quite probably much longer than that): China better learn Western ways soon, or it will die a horrible death. China improves with Western ways, but it’s still not enough.

    Only goes to show, real experts admit to mistakes and shut up, real fools just keeps on talking.

  135. pug_ster Says:

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-01/22/content_9364327.htm

    Interesting Comment on US wants to extend its hegemony thru the internet.

  136. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To 133:
    “if you seek to compare 2 things,” — ahh, but here’s the thing…I wasn’t seeking to compare. As I had already initially stated, this is what I was doing :”perhaps I can take a page from how the Supreme Court described “pornography”” (SKC #126). I really hope that’s clear enough for you, cuz by any metric I think I’ve “drawn the intestines out” for you.

    My mistake about conflating “obscenity” for “pornography”.

    “And as for excess rain in Southern California, Society has so far not defined it as “pornography”, but that’s not an impossibility.” — neither is a pig taking flight, nor the appearance of a blue moon. I suppose we shall see, though I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    “Only goes to show, real experts admit to mistakes and shut up, real fools just keeps on talking.” — talk about delicious irony.

  137. r v Says:

    to 136:

    “take a page”? with what logical basis for this “intestine”?

    How do you get from “freedom” to a quote about “obscenity” from the Supreme Court?

    let’s see an inaccurate quote about something completely irrelevant? Gee, I love to hear the logic behind that.

    *and it may surprise you that Society has redefined MANY MANY things in the past few decades, including “pornography”.

    I’m not holding my breath.

    keep on talking.

  138. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “and it may surprise you that Society has redefined MANY MANY things in the past few decades, including “pornography”.” — not at all. However, i would be surprised if Society would take an abundance of something, then redefine that “something” as pornography, as you had suggested in 129. That I’d love to see. Just like how I’d like to see pigs fly without the assistance of an airborne craft, or a blue moon.

    “How do you get from “freedom” to a quote about “obscenity”” — you remind me of someone else on this blog who was very dense. I wasn’t going from A to B. I took a quote and changed it around to fit. Whereas with obscenity, one might know it when one sees it, with freedom, one might better understand what it is when one is deprived of it. Be my guest if you want to remain dense.

    You might want to take a sabbatical and learn to become less dense.

  139. r v Says:

    “Blue moon” is a documented event in some atmospheric conditions. Not my problem if you don’t encounter it.

    I know it wouldn’t take long for you to reach for personal attacks again.

    That’s when I know you have nothing to say.

  140. S.K. Cheung Says:

    You know, you really have a gift. You take a response about knowing what freedom is, then focus on anything and everything (like “pornography” and “blue moon”) superfluous rather than the crux of the response (that you’d know it when you don’t have it). You then run with it for the next 20 hours+ and counting. Is this what’s taught in law school, that dredging up sideshows increases your billable hours or something?

    So how about this….

    “many of those who speak of living in Freedom, know not what Freedom is, or the limit of it.” — you, in #125.

    To which I would now say: I think you’d know what freedom is when you’re deprived of it.

    I hope that’s simple enough for you. Feel free to dispense with your sideshow at any time.

  141. r v Says:

    “Dense”, from you, in 138. personal attack.

    Simple enough for you.

    “I think you’d know what freedom is when you’re deprived of it.” From you.

    I see nothing about that supposedly coming from a Supreme Court justice about “pornography.”

    Maybe you should stop embellishing your comments with irrelevant and inaccurate authorities.

    My mistake thinking that you brought up “pornography” and Supreme Court justice quotes for a reason.

    Gee, maybe next time you should mark the parts of your sentences that you really mean!

  142. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Your firm must be really pleased with your billings, if your proclivities here translate to your professional work.

  143. r v Says:

    I see no point in this discussion of my billings and my professional work.

    They are both fine.

    And you are going off tangent, habitually.

  144. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “I see no point in this discussion of my billings and my professional work.” — that’s fine. Besides, it’s not the billings that matter here, but your penchant for sideshows.

    “And you are going off tangent, habitually.” — once again, there’s a perfect kettle/pot phrase that applies here. I already pointed it out for you in para 1 of #140. Reading is also a good habit.

  145. r v Says:

    My opinion is that Google has no intention of leaving China.

    The threat of leaving China is merely economic leverage, or squeaky wheel gets the grease, or perhaps even a little PR diversion from Google’s other PR problems.

    Afterall, now that Google is big, some in the public are starting to wonder if Google is really still sticking by its “do no evil” motto.

    That tag line is not working, so naturally, PR to renew the tag line.

    Google’s CEO is already making backtrack speeches on how Google “wants” to stay in China.

    “Do no evil”? You don’t make that much money by “doing no evil”.

    On the Contrary, you would have to take money from some very shady people, from all over the world.

  146. r v Says:

    “sideshow”, personal attack, irrelevant, from SKC.

    Tangent repeated is still irrelevant, simple enough for you?

  147. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “Tangent repeated is still irrelevant” — then as I had already suggested nearly 2 hours ago in #140, why haven’t you stopped with the silliness yet? That said, 145 is a start.

    I agree with #145. I think, whether Google stays or leaves, ultimately it will be a business decision. That is assuming, however, that Google is allowed to decide for herself. She may have burned enough bridges that the CCP will see to it that she goes.

    However, who are these “shady” folks of whom you speak so highly?

  148. r v Says:

    I should stop because you keep bringing up my “billing”?

    Maybe you should stop your “sideshows”, or I should bring up your family into the discussion to make you stop?

    “silliness”? More personal attack from SKC.

  149. S.K. Cheung Says:

    You were doing so well in 145….listen, as soon as you stop your sideshows, you would spare me the trouble of having to call you on it. It’s really a win-win situation.

    In my attempt to redirect you to the frame of mind that allowed for the genesis of 145, perhaps I’ll ask this: do you think it’s still up to Google to decide whether she stays in China, given what’s transpired? Discuss.

    BTW, I said your arguments pertaining to “pornography” and “blue moon” were a sideshow, not you. And that your behaviour amounted to silliness, not you. Whining less and making better arguments are both worthy goals for which to strive.

  150. r v Says:

    you brought up “pornography” in context of discussing “freedom”, and making irrelevant inaccurate quotes, and “blue moon”.

    Why are they my “sideshows”?

    you are the one introducing all these “sideshows” and “silliness”.

    If I answer your questions about my comments, all I will get are more irrelevant personal attacks, eventually.

    You will bring up something like “blue moon”, and call it my “sideshow”, when I call you on it.

  151. r v Says:

    Perhaps I should answer SKC’s questions with some irrelevant inaccurate quote of my own.

    Don’t call me on it, SKC, or it’s your “sideshow”, your “silliness”!

  152. pug_ster Says:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10440115-71.html?tag=newsLatestHeadlinesArea.0

    Talking about google and censorship, I thought that this is funny.

  153. tanjin Says:

    Simply put, Google and its founders, in this case, appear as a “spoiled child” of its own commercial success.

    According to this report, German and South Korea have more restrictive internet policy than China

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/comments/2010-01/24/content_12861036.htm

    “A URL that otherwise would have appeared in response to your search,?was not displayed because that URL was reported as illegal by a German’ regulatory body .. ”

    “Google has received a legal complaint and submitted it here to the Chilling Effects database, as described in Google’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act policy. In response to the complaint, Google may have removed content from a search results page or hosted page ..”

  154. tanjin Says:

    BBC NEWS:

    “Isn’t it true that even in the United States, the homeland of Google, certain government agencies are also reported of often entering a massive number of personal e-mail accounts with certain excuses?”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8478005.stm

    America’s internet strategy was “to exploit its advantages in internet funds, technology and marketing and export its politics, commerce and culture to other nations for political, commercial and cultural interests of the world’s only superpower”.

    It also described the US government as being hypocritical, saying the country’s “certain government agencies” had reportedly illegally checked a massive number of personal e-mail accounts.

  155. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To 150:
    “you brought up “pornography” in context of discussing “freedom”, and making irrelevant inaccurate quotes, and “blue moon”. Why are they my “sideshows”?”

    I brought up “pornography” once to try to give context to a quote I wanted to use, and my fault for mistaking it with obscenity. However, I think to most people, the point had nothing to do with pornography, or any comparison of that with freedom. Unfortunately, you seem not to be “most people”.

    I brought up “blue moon” in response to your characterization that abundance = pornography. Again, I think most people would realize that the crux of the point did not lie in “blue moon”. Instead of saying, “you know what, you’re right, abundance does not equal pornography”, you give us a meteorological definition of “blue moon”.

    Do it once, and maybe every now and then you can’t see the forest for the trees. Happens to the best of them. But this isn’t the first, or the hundredth time for you, is it?

    If you don’t like “sideshows” or “silliness”, I’m happy to offer synonyms upon request.

  156. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Pugster #152:
    it is humorous indeed. But I don’t think censoring cuss words in a voice to text feature on a cell phone is on the same scale as what Google is talking about wrt China.

    To 153:
    if that is in fact the case, maybe Google will examine her business viability in Germany and South Korea too at some point. But it doesn’t really change the situation in China.

    To 154:
    does America exploiting her advantages for American benefit surprise anybody? In fact, I’d be surprised if she didn’t.

    It does seem unfounded to accuse the Chinese government of any involvement in the hack job, but neither Google nor Clinton said that in their statements. There are certainly lots of people jumping to conclusions, however.

  157. tanjin Says:

    well, well, SKC dude, you are still not yet tired and sicked by your own childish and silly comment :-) LoL, LoL

  158. S.K. Cheung Says:

    yo, how’s your twin doing?

    I responded to your posts. If 157 is the best you can do….well, I really shouldn’t have been expecting much more than that out of you (or your twin).

  159. tanjin Says:

    LoL. My cousin won’t be bother to deal with little “banana” like you :-) LoL, LoL.

  160. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Ahh, you are such a classy guy. Your twin was as well, as I recall. Wonder who we have to thank for that? Too bad they didn’t do better.

  161. alessandro Says:

    I can see very little resemblance between RV’s and Tanjin’s comments….to say they are the “same” person seems a little like jumping to conclusions to me.
    And who this “they” in 160 should be please??

  162. Charles Liu Says:

    161 Exactely. That’s why I don’t bother responding to these trollish behavior.

  163. tanjin Says:

    Bill Gates: Obey countries’ laws has always been part of game for doing business there, China’s internet censorship has been “very limited”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/jan/25/bill-gates-web-censorship-china

    “Less than two weeks after Google said it planned to uncensor its Chinese search engine in protest at attempts to break into the email accounts of human rights activists, Gates criticised his rival’s decision and insisted that agreeing to Beijing’s demands was just part of doing business in the country. “You’ve got to decide: do you want to obey the laws of the countries you’re in or not? If not, you may not end up doing business there,” he told ABC’s Good Morning America programme.

    He also brushed aside accusations that Microsoft has been complicit in helping filter the web by saying that it was not an issue because any censorship could be circumvented with technical knowledge. “Chinese efforts to censor the internet have been very limited,” he said. “It’s easy to go around it, so I think keeping the internet thriving there is very important.”

    Gates’s comments echo those last week by Microsoft chief executive, Steve Ballmer, who took a swipe at Google by suggesting that the company had over-reacted in China. “People are always trying to break into other people’s data,” he said on Friday. “There’s always somebody trying to break into Microsoft.”

  164. tanjin Says:

    US Expert: Sino-US cyber war not likely

    After some US-based bloggers and commentators, later joined by some hotheads from India, publicly calling an “all out war” with China triggered by this google matter, US appears NOW softening its own stance on this issue through a well-known foreign policy expert.

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2010-01/26/content_9374928.htm

    “To avoid any devastating consequences developing from the row, the two countries should restrain their cyber activities, which should not encompass espionage, said James Lewis, a senior fellow directing the Technology and Public Policy Program at the US based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in an interview with the Oriental Morning Post of Shanghai

    A cyber war is “unlikely to break out if the two countries stick to this bottom line,” Lewis said in the interview with the Shanghai based newspaper.

    His remarks came amid the escalating war of words resulting from the Google row, which analysts say has been politicalized by the involvement of the US government.

    Lewis pointed out that information stealing is common practice in cyber space, citing a US national defense official who said that “every day their computers are attacked nearly 300 million times, some banking systems are attacked over 7,000 times, and the websites of power companies are attacked 2,000 to 3,000 times.”

  165. Charles Liu Says:

    tanjin @ 164, ” information stealing is common practice in cyber space”

    According to CNCERT, 2765 websites in gov.cn domain were hacked into last year, with US originating IP addres ranked #1. (I have posted the translated article in Letters section.)

  166. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To 163:
    Bill Gates has a point. When in Rome, as they say. Of course, that doesn’t mean one needs to agree with how the Romans do things. Or that one can’t complain about how Romans do things while going along with it for a while. Whether it makes business sense to say that they’ve had enough of that, is really a decision for Google.

    However, I also can’t read Gates’ or Ballmer’s take on this without a chuckle. They’ve been playing second fiddle to Google for a while, and it’s no surprise that they would want to stick it to them when given the free shot. Besides, no Google might mean more for Bing, so playing kissy kissy at this point with the CCP also makes good business sense for Microsoft.

    It’s also interesting to note that, the title notwithstanding, the latter part of the article does not necessarily agree with Gates’ characterization of the current state of CHinese internet censorship.

  167. r v Says:

    Some would choose to ignore Gate’s obvious by implied meaning: “If you don’t want to obey the local laws, don’t do business there.”

    Google went into China with eyes wide-open, and there is nothing in any international agreement that would give anyone a pass on local laws.

    Like I said, it’s not like Censorship or Hacking is anything new to Google (or anyone else for that matter).

    If Big businesses want to get into the business of making social/political changes? That would explain a great deal about why Washington DC has so many corporate lobby offices, spending billions to get favorable laws for the rich and corporations.

    Maybe US will accept lobby money or threats from foreign companies, China won’t play that. (Incidentally, US doesn’t either.)

  168. alessandro Says:

    Yes…let’s see how self-righteous guys as SK Cheung would react if different companies should start to act contrary to US laws….When in America, do as americans do….Where’s written everybody likes what “americans” do?
    I think SK Cheung answer would be quite different…

  169. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “Where’s written everybody likes what “americans” do?” — ummm, you seem to have completely, totally, and utterly missed the point of the “Romans” phrase. There’s no stipulation that, if you go to “America”, you WOULD like what Americans do; nonetheless, you SHOULD still do as they do, cuz you’re in their house. That would seem to be the thrust of China’s, and in this case, Gates’ argument…if Google is to play in China, she SHOULD do as the Chinese government wants her to do, whether Google likes it or not. Now, a visitor to the US who disapproves of how Americans do things can certainly complain about it; so too can Google in China. As for what such complaints achieve? Tough to say

    “let’s see how self-righteous guys as SK Cheung would react if different companies should start to act contrary to US laws” — that’s easy. I’d like to see US courts apply US laws. And yes, same goes in China. That should be pretty obvious.

  170. Steve Says:

    Per r v’s comment in #168, The NY Times had this article in today’s paper about lobbying in China and a new policy from the government to try and get it under control.

  171. r v Says:

    When I visited Beijing in year 1993, I stayed at one of these provincial “lobby houses.” (And it was the Xinjiang “lobby house”.)

    It is about time that the Central Government did something about these practices. These places were originally intended as hospitality organizations for provincial representatives who needed places to stay at while visiting Beijing, but these “lobbying” activities have gone too far.

    Then again, I live now in DC metro area, and there are lobbying offices for nearly every large corporation in the US.

    Intel, Microsoft, HP, Dell, all the major banks, not to mention the defense contractors, all spend $MILLIONS each year, lobbying in DC area.

    They lobby the Senators and the Congressmen, who in turn lobby on Capital Hill, to get favorable laws for corporations.

    Which is more corrupt? Some would say, at least in US, the lobbying is done with “private money.”

    I would say, the difference is, in China, there are corrupt officials, whereas in US, there are corrupt officials and corrupting individuals with deep pockets.

    *As I was saying before, in US, is it against the law for foreign companies to lobby in US, (meaning engage in political activities behalf of foreign principals), without specific registration as “foreign agents”, under the “Foreign Agent Registration Act”.

    And foreign principals does not have to be a foreign government, it can be a foreign individual or business.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/22/usc_sup_01_22_10_11_20_II.html

    Politicians who accept lobbying activities or funds from foreign agents can be found guilty of various charges, including possibly treason.

    Foreign agents who do not register can be fined, imprisoned, or deported.
    Registered foreign agents are required to submit additional disclosures about activities, financial transactions, as well as submit to political “inquiries”. (Or face fines, imprisonment, or deportation for refusal to cooperate.)

    Now, if Google is a Chinese company, and it comes to publicly talk about US politics and US laws in DC, it would be classified as a “foreign agent.”

  172. alessandro Says:

    @169…it is not obvious at all, cause ur words say that u don’t want the same for China.
    As for the “make as the romans”…please, I actually am a roman, so I’m quite familiar with that saying, and I’ve quite understood what u meant…cause u wrote it quite plainly. Google all of a sudden decided for this PR campaing making it appear as a stance on some moral issue..it criticized..and its critics have been noted (and in fact they’re talking with the government)..But also in the US there’s no guarantee that ur criticism will be accepted and things changed accordingly..is there? So what’s the difference SK? Often in the US (as elsewhere) u’d be just answered “this is the way things work here…if u like it stay, if u don’t, that’s the door”…so, again SK, what’s the difference?
    If u rightly would like the US courts to uphold US laws, then u should also like that ur country’d stop meddling and messing with other countries internal affairs (and i’m not talking only China here)…Is it so into u to play the self-righteous guy is it?

  173. Steve Says:

    @ alessandro #168 & 172: You can reply to SKC’s points without calling him names. BTW, he’s not American.

    Note~ The story behind the ‘When in Rome’ saying: When St. Augustine arrived in Milan in 387 A.D., he observed that the Church did not fast on Saturday as did the Church at Rome. He consulted St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan, who replied: “When I am at Rome, I fast on a Saturday; when I am at Milan, I do not. Follow the custom of the Church where you are.” The comment was changed to “When they are at Rome, they do there as they see done” by Robert Burton in his Anatomy of Melancholy. Eventually it became “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” A more elaborate explanation is here.

  174. alessandro Says:

    Ahem Steve…..where did I call him names? It’s a behaviour I didn’t even use during elementary school, but u’re welcome to show it to me where I did, thank u. Is his nickname S.K. Cheung or not? So I see….ur calling him SKC is normal, my calling him SK (for the same reason u call him SKC…which is BREVITY) is “calling him names”….wow, talking about “double standards”, mm….
    As for him being american or not (it’s not exactly written in his nick, now, is it?)….how does it matter? Many here are from US, the US example was exactly that, an example from a reality many here know.

    Thank u.

  175. Steve Says:

    @ alessandro: “self righteous”. I thought it was pretty obvious. Attack the argument, not the person. I’ve collapsed SKC in the past for the same reason. Ad hominum attacks are the sign of a weak argument.

    You wrote, “If u rightly would like the US courts to uphold US laws, then u should also like that ur country’d stop meddling and messing with other countries internal affairs (and i’m not talking only China here)…”

    “ur country”? Sounds like you made that assumption, huh? BTW, this isn’t Twitter. Normal spelling would make your comments much easier to read.

    You might want to re-read your own comments before responding.

  176. Charles Liu Says:

    alessandro @ 174, worse things than “self righteous” have been uttered in FM, yet “Steve the style police” hasn’t really piped up. Since Steve is not responding as a moderator (there’s no style police in FM), he can say what he wants, and you are free to do what you please.

    BTW, SKC is North American.

  177. Steve Says:

    @ Charles: Interesting comment coming from a guy who complains more than anyone else on this blog about this same sort of comment, many of which I’ve collapsed or deleted, btw. I guess when you agree with a comment, then it’s OK for it to be disparaging. But if you disagree with it, then you get impatient if it isn’t deleted within two minutes of its being posted. That’s when you beg for the “style police”. Funny, I’ve never seen you complain when I’ve collapsed SKC’s remarks. Your objectivity leaves much to be desired.

    You might want to re-read the blog rules before you advise others. Alessandro, Charles is not a moderator nor an editor. Your comment wasn’t collapsed and it wasn’t deleted. I just made a suggestion and we do eventually collapse ad hominum attacks if they continue to be repeated. Again, it’s fine to attack the message but best to avoid attacking the messenger.

    Personally, I don’t think it’s productive for S.O.S Clinton or the US Government to get on China’s case about censorship. If the US has a complaint, they can address it through the proper channels, which in this case would be the WTO. If not, they ought to stay out of it. I think the US Government lectures others too much and doesn’t spend enough time cleaning up its own house. I think SKC’s point is that we can all criticize the US Government on this board without penalty while if we lived in China, our ability to politically express ourselves on the net in a critical way towards the Chinese government is limited. That’s a fair point, which has nothing to do with the actions of the US Government.

    If Google wants to stay in China, it’ll be per the rules they work out with the Chinese government. If they can’t abide by those rules, they are free to leave. End of story. Speculating on ulterior motives is just that, speculation. There’s nothing the matter with speculation as long as you label it as such.

  178. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To 172:
    “please, I actually am a roman, so I’m quite familiar with that saying, and I’ve quite understood what u meant…cause u wrote it quite plainly.” — well, I would never assume an Italian to be able to fully grasp English phrases. But if you say you did, then I’m quite confused about how you misconstrued “do as the Romans do” with ““Where’s written everybody likes what “americans” do?”” (your #168).

    Yes, Google is apparently negotiating with the Chinese government. And yes, this occurred after she complained. But this is a business decision by the Chinese government as well. Not nearly the same thing as the Chinese government responding to the complaints and criticisms made by her own people.

    “But also in the US there’s no guarantee that ur criticism will be accepted and things changed accordingly..is there?” — besides death, taxes, and maybe the sun rising from the east, there aren’t too many “guarantees” in life. So i would agree that both China and the US are similarly lacking in a guarantee of responding to citizen complaints. But I think there are systems in place that vastly increase the likelihood of a response to citizen complaints in the US, as opposed to China. You’re welcome to speculate about what those mechanisms might be.

    ““this is the way things work here…if u like it stay, if u don’t, that’s the door”…so, again SK, what’s the difference?” — the difference is that I’m not talking about a system that would respond to one person complaining. I don’t think anybody is talking about wanting a system that responds to individual squeaky wheels. But if there are enough squeaky wheels, then hey, maybe that would be something worth having a system with which to address them.

    “then u should also like that ur country’d stop meddling and messing with other countries internal affairs” — actually, I’d want my country to do what’s best for my country. Unfortunately in some ways, it’s a country-system world in which we live.

  179. my mother Says:

    alessandro,

    To elaborate more on Charles’ comment (176), SKC is a Canuck like my great grandfather. I read through tons of his comments, and I really don’t know if he knows anything about China. But he does know a lot about Canada though.

  180. r v Says:

    Steve,

    “we can all criticize the US Government on this board without penalty while if we lived in China, our ability to politically express ourselves on the net in a critical way towards the Chinese government is limited.”

    That would depend on your definition of “political expression”. I would hardly say that “criticism” in US (or Canada) of US (or Canadian) government are “political expressions.”

    A lot of useless gripes that don’t get anywhere are not “political expressions.”

    They may sound “political,” but they rarely advocate anything actionable.

    Anything actionable may get too close to “revolution,” “unrest,” or even “terrorism.”

    You want to try something really “political” in US? Try donating money to a group with suspected ties to “terrorists,” or merely solicit money on behalf of those groups. (Then find out how much trouble mere suspicions from the government will get you into.)

    Problem is, you are not expressing a hot button issue in US or Canada. The People/voters squabble over little issues and call it “political expression.”

  181. Charles Liu Says:

    r v @ 180, former UN weapons inspector Scotter Ritter is a good example – he criticized the Iraq war, and was accused of pedophilia and silenced.

    And who says the Chinese don’t BS on forums like we do on FM? Chinese citizens criticize their government as much as we do. Here are some choice words from page 1 of above search:

    “中国政府傻X”
    “stupid $%^# Chinese government”

    “绝对傻X的政府”
    “absolutely stupid $%^# government”

    “通州市委、市政府、建委的傻X都该去死”
    “Tongzhou city coucil, government, development coucil stupid $%^# all go to hell”

    “为什么会出现这么傻X的政府”
    “why do we have $%^# stupid government”

    “政府那些狗娘养的傻X随便放个p”
    “Those b!tch raised government $%^# fart where they go”

    “中国政府这个大傻X还在增买美国长期国债”
    Chinese government stupid $%^# keep buying US debt”

    While violating FARA (Chi Mak), Foreign campaign contribution (John Huang) will get you jail in America – any action the Chinese government takes is limiting freedom (proscuting Liu Xiaobo for subversion; the guy advocated abolition of China’s constitution while taking US$650,000 from the US government via NED grants).

    If we can say citizen’s political asperation isn’t genuine if it’s foreign sponsored, why can’t China? This is a difference I can not reconcile.

  182. Steve Says:

    Gentlemen, your examples have proven that the American justice system and freedom of the press is decidedly inferior to the Chinese one. Thanks for clearing that up.

  183. r v Says:

    Steve,

    That might be your conclusion. I didn’t say anything about either system being “inferior.”

    But people don’t listen.

    If the People listened, they wouldn’t need Fox News (which apparently recently was voted the most “trusted” in US).

    If the Press listened, perhaps the People would trust them more (than say Fox News).

    For that matter, if the Western Justice system actually listened to the People, we wouldn’t need lawyers to do all the talking.

    The infection of “not listening” is indeed great now in Westernized societies.

    And “self-righteousness”, and consequently “religious extremism” run rampant.

    *like I said, I await the time when the enlightened people of the West actually learn to listen to each other and others, as easily as they fight for their own pet causes.

  184. Chops Says:

    Is Google backtracking?

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/print/9149924/Clock_may_be_ticking_for_Google_to_act_on_China

    “Google outlined its position in a very public and explicit way, At some point soon, people are going to start wondering if Google is going to back up its words with actions. If Google fails to follow through, it’s going to look like they violated their principles for money. Their reputation will take a pretty big hit if that happens.”

  185. r v Says:

    It is rather unusual for Google to be shooting its mouth off in such high profile, especially considering that Google is usually very quiet about everything it does.

    I wonder if Google is having an internal power struggle that is showing up in odd public statements.

  186. r v Says:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/6081473/Google-faces-15-million-lawsuit-for-releasing-blogger-information-in-model-row.html

    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/12/28/google_monopoly/

    http://searchengineland.com/germany-says-google-becoming-giant-monopoly-33311

    Google faces privacy lawsuits, antitrust probes in US and Germany.

  187. r v Says:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-10441824-245.html

    “IT and security executives across the world show great ambivalence toward the United States,” the report said. “It is the nation most often cited as a model in dealing with cybersecurity. At the same time, executives from many nations, including many U.S. allies, rank the United States as the country ‘of greatest concern’ in the context of foreign cyberattacks, just ahead of China.”

  188. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve #182:
    that’s a good one. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), the sarcasm was lost on some.

    To 181:
    “That would depend on your definition of “political expression”.” — indeed. And arguing about the definition is unlikely to be a rewarding exercise.

    But let’s say we use your definition. How far does one get in China with “political expression” as you have defined? Probably not very far either. So the conclusion of your argument is that, when defined in a certain way, the status of “political expression” in China and the US may be quite similar. And that might be useful if we were (constantly) comparing the US and China. But it still wouldn’t change the status of “political expression” in China, and China happens to be the topic of this entire blog.

    Of course, if we define “political expression” as something other than “resulting in revolution”, the CCP probably doesn’t come out looking as rosy, on its own, or in comparison to others.

    To 183:
    your example doesn’t go to show that people don’t listen; it only goes to show that they don’t necessarily choose to listen to what you would want them to listen to. And that’s the choice that people over here get to make…and the concept might also serve as good fodder for a comparison with China, if comparing is what you would like to do.

  189. r v Says:

    Hearing what was never said, is rather a delusional version of “hearing”.

    I didn’t say anything about “inferior”.

    If someone “hears” that, they better get their hearing checked.

    If you can “choose” to hear something that wasn’t there, that’s called lying to one’s self.

  190. r v Says:

    “they don’t necessarily choose to listen to what you would want them to listen to.”

    Gee, if only some people can choose to listen to their own words, they might realize that they just made themselves fodder for comparison.

    Ironic. And stating the obvious and the irrelevant.

    Obviously, People in China can choose not to listen, to the CCP, or to some schmuck from the West, or to Google.

    If someone thinks the People of China don’t have that choice, they are out of touch with reality, again serve as their own fodder as examples of the worst tendencies of self-righteous behavior in Western Democracy.

  191. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To 189:
    “I didn’t say anything about “inferior”.” — that’s nice. If you read #188, you would also notice (well, maybe you wouldn’t) that “inferior” does not appear within it.

    In the past, you’ve been…ummm… shall we say rather “selective” in what you respond to. Now you’re accusing me of making a point that I never made. So you don’t respond to stuff when you’re left with no reasonable response, and you “respond” to things there were never said. Wow, those are certainly the ingredients for a “creative” debate…logical? Not so much. Useful? Unlikely. But certainly “creative”.

    To 190:
    “Ironic. And stating the obvious and the irrelevant.” — those are big concepts. Now, how about you try to explain how my words that you quoted are “ironic”, “irrelevant”, and a “stating of the obvious”. Based on what you wrote in 183 (“If the People listened, they wouldn’t need Fox News”), the concept seemed anything but obvious, at least to you. Since my response directly addressed the concept you were trying to sell, seems to me to be fairly relevant to what you wrote. As for irony, you’ve lost me on that one. So by all means, explain away.

    “Obviously, People in China can choose not to listen, to the CCP” — from a literal standpoint, sure. And I’m realizing that that is your forte. I’m sure they are physically capable of turning off the radio, changing the channel, or clicking to a different website, or tossing the newspaper. But listen or not, they still have to do what the CCP says, without much in the way of recourse. But admittedly, and thankfully, your reality and mine are most definitely not proximate things. And it’s probably best that they remain that way.

  192. r v Says:

    To #191:

    Not precise, is you. You were commenting on Steve’s “sarcasm” in #182 and my reply to him in #183.

    Steve wrote in #182: “Gentlemen, your examples have proven that the American justice system and freedom of the press is decidedly inferior to the Chinese one.”

    HEAR the word “inferior” in his comments!

    Like I said, you have no ears.

    Well, obviously, you are not going to grow ears in this life time.

    Obviously, I’m not “holding my breath”.

  193. r v Says:

    “But listen or not, they still have to do what the CCP says, without much in the way of recourse.”

    Don’t change the subject.

    I choose not to listen to your irrelevant tangent.

  194. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “HEAR the word “inferior” in his comments!” — nope. But I did see it. Now, your use of “inferior” was in line 1 of your #183. My response to your 183 was directed at your line 3. This I know for sure…your capacity for sight is nowhere to be seen. And by extension, your capacity for reading is also consequently severely handicapped.

    “Don’t change the subject.” — what is the subject? When debating someone with your “debating” style (and I’m using that word loosely), the subject does get obscured in the funny English, fuzzy logic, and constant desire to ape other peoples’ phrases.

    BTW, you probably think you’re pretty clever by taking “I’m all ears” to accusing me of having no ears. Do you know why people call it aping?

  195. r v Says:

    If you want to be “selective” about what you want to respond to my post, you need to be specific.

    So you are the “selective” one, afterall.

    I rest my case.

    “BTW, you probably think you’re pretty clever by taking “I’m all ears” to accusing me of having no ears.”

    Nope, just being consistent to the words you used.

    “what is the subject? When debating someone with your “debating” style (and I’m using that word loosely), the subject does get obscured in the funny English, fuzzy logic, and constant desire to ape other peoples’ phrases.”

    if you don’t know the subject, don’t inject your irrelevant mis-characterization of other people’s comments. You are just doing plain personal attacks.

    Obviously, you have no idea what was being discussed.

    I choose not to listen to your “sideshow.”

  196. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “If you want to be “selective” about what you want to respond to my post, you need to be specific.” — ok, you tell me, do you think a paragraph that starts with “your example doesn’t go to show that people don’t listen” is addressing this (“I didn’t say anything about either system being “inferior”) or this (“If the People listened, they wouldn’t need Fox News “)? If you can’t figure that out…well, I guess I’m not surprised. Here’s a hint: it’s the latter.

    “Nope, just being consistent to the words you used.” — aping 101. You’re all over it. Kinda like the “sideshow” reference that comes up later.

    “if you don’t know the subject” — I know what I’m talking about. Who knows what you’re talking about. And the whining…will it never stop?

    “you have no idea what was being discussed.” — I certainly have no idea what you’re “discussing”. The more salient question is, do you?

  197. Allen Says:

    @RV, SKC,

    I think you should stop the back and forth. When others read (skim) your comments, I don’t think people are keeping scores. Make a point and if the other is not responding, then let it be. It will save you some time, and save people skimming the comments for things to learn from some time also.

    It may also cut down bandwidth usage of the internet – which saves energy – which is good for the planet.

    Thanks.

    Allen

  198. Steve Says:

    I’ve been traveling so just saw the last stream. I completely agree with Allen. Make the point once and score your point. Repeat the same point multiple times or make no points at all and it’s annoying… hence, the collapsing.

  199. alessandro Says:

    @Charles 176…Don’t worry, I hardly listen to Steve’s “double standardized style police”, it’s only funny to point out his double standard and self-righteous teachings every now and then (as for the “twitter” part, I think if he doesn’t want to read is his prerogative, as writing with the style I see fit is mine. Period)…Thank u

  200. Charles Liu Says:

    Joseph @ 106, it appears the “Chinese code” evidence cited by NYT is not reliable. The code fingered by security expert Joe Stewart turned out to be a very common code in the embedded world:

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/26/aurora_attack_origins/

  201. pug_ster Says:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10447279-83.html?tag=newsLatestHeadlinesArea.0

    Report: Google, NSA talk defense partnership

    I guess there’s little doubt that Google sleeps with the US government.

  202. Chops Says:

    Google facing many risks in China standoff
    Excerpt from http://mobile.reuters.com/mobile/m/FullArticle/CINT/ninternetNews_uUSTRE61408520100205

    Many analysts believe the Chinese government would have no qualms shutting down an uncensored search engine. But experts on Chinese law warn that Google employees in China could also face prosecution for breaking the law.

    “If they have a lot of personnel in China and they suddenly decide to change what they’re doing in a way that was not permitted by the Chinese government, then that could lead to problems,” said Donald Clarke, a professor of Chinese law at George Washington University Law School, noting Google staff could be at risk of everything from arrest to harassment.

    STATE SECRETS: A CATCH-ALL

    Websites in China are prohibited from publishing content that jeopardizes the security of the nation, divulges state secrets and disturbs the social order.

    “It would be normal for anybody running a high-profile, politically controversial operation in China to anticipate worst-case scenarios, and to do everything possible to guard against them,” said Rebecca MacKinnon, a fellow at the Open Society Institute who has written extensively about Internet censorship in China.

    Google is therefore more likely to voluntarily shut down its search operation if it is unable to reach a compromise with China, rather than unilaterally lift censorship, she said.

  203. tanjin Says:

    Google right now is like a dog with tail between its legs, LoL !

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9152978/After_China_pull_out_bluster_will_Google_backtrack_

    “Perhaps more significant, Schmidt seemed to pull back on Google’s original certainty that the hack attacks had originated in China. He described the attacks as “probably emanating from China with the origin details unknown” and added that the matter was “still under investigation.”

    Google, he said, would make “some changes there” in a “reasonably short time,” without being more specific.

    That was more than two weeks ago.

    In the meantime, Google spokespeople have been very tight-lipped about the China issue, in sharp contrast with the bold attitude displayed on Jan. 12. Many things aren’t clear. For example, even if it pulls out of the China search engine market, will Google still pursue other Chinese markets, such as mobile or other future opportunities, say, in enterprise software? Will Google exit China for good or will it leave the door open to some business there?

    With each day that passes without Google acting on its promise, the possibility grows that it has decided not to walk the talk. If that’s where this is heading, Google would do well to clarify the matter sooner rather than later. The expectations it set a few weeks ago are pretty big — as is the claim it staked on the moral high ground.”

  204. pug_ster Says:

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-02/08/content_9440667.htm

    Meanwhile, China did came down hard on hackers. Too bad that the US don’t care about it.

  205. pug_ster Says:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/LB09Ad01.html

    Interesting article about China increasing its cyber-warfare capability.

  206. Steve Says:

    FYI, I ran across this today:

    Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of Internet threat management solutions that protect against all forms of malicious software including viruses, spyware, hackers and spam, has revealed that Chinese cybercriminals were the most prolific source of digital pollution on the Internet in January 2010.

    Kaspersky Lab continually monitors the IT threat landscape around the clock and each month publishes its malware statistics. In January 2010 China topped the list with a 36.2% share of malware infecting the Internet. The nearest specific originator of malware was Russia at 5.8%, with then UK only attributing 2.4% of the global total.

    The results were as follows:

    China – 36.2%
    Russia – 5.8%
    USA – 4.4%
    India – 3.9%
    Germany – 3.9%
    Egypt – 3.2%
    Mexico – 2.9%
    UK – 2.4%
    France – 2.3%
    Turkey – 2.2%
    Other – 32.8%

    David Emm a member of the Global Research and Analysis Team at Kaspersky Lab comments: “The results may be surprising for some as traditionally there has been an assumption that a lot of malware and digital pollution came from Russia and east European countries. Our figures suggest the largest share comes from China – which at 36.2% is much bigger than any of the other single countries on the list. Another myth it dispels is that digital pollution only emanates from poorer economies – eminent world economic giants such as the USA and China, as well as the leading EU members Germany, UK and France are all featured in the list. ”

    To find out more about computer threats visit: http://www.kaspersky.co.uk/threats

  207. Chops Says:

    A series of online attacks on Google and dozens of other American corporations have been traced to computers at two educational institutions in China, including one with close ties to the Chinese military, say people involved in the investigation.

    They also said the attacks, aimed at stealing trade secrets and computer codes and capturing e-mail of Chinese human rights activists, may have begun as early as April, months earlier than previously believed. Google announced on Jan. 12 that it and other companies had been subjected to sophisticated attacks that probably came from China.

    Computer security experts, including investigators from the National Security Agency, have been working since then to pinpoint the source of the attacks. Until recently, the trail had led only to servers in Taiwan.

    If supported by further investigation, the findings raise as many questions as they answer, including the possibility that some of the attacks came from China but not necessarily from the Chinese government, or even from Chinese sources.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/19/technology/19china.html

  208. tanjin Says:

    ” … The developers of the code, who took advantage of a vulnerability in systems using Internet Explorer 6, include students who “hack for prestige,” said one source. He added that investigators have narrowed the list of hackers to about six individuals but declined to identify them. …”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/19/AR2010021902643.html?hpid=moreheadlines

    ” These code developers did not execute the attack or “nose around” in the networks of Google or other firms, he said. “They’re out in the open with it, passing the code back and forth to one another on open source hacker forums,” in some cases with their “hacker handles” attached, he said.”

    What Google and Obama/Clinton team is going to say and do now? Fire Google’s founders ? :-)

  209. Charles Liu Says:

    I’m laughing my a$$ off. Here’s the vocational school NYT implicated:

    http://www.lxjx.cn/main.htm

    Look at their course offerings – auto repair, CNC operation, computer operation, excavator operation, welding, culinary school, cosmetology, cell phone repair.

    It looks like semi-skilled training for highschool dropouts. We are supposed to believe this is where the Chinese government find their best and brightest to wage cyber war?

    Here’s my favorit comment titled “Go ahead discriminate vocational school people”:

    “上技校 选蓝翔,oh yeah!”
    (Want vocational training pick Lanxiang, oh yeah!)

    Here’re some more good ones for those of you read Chinese:

    http://www.webjb.org/webjb/viewtopic2.php?topic=10090347&forum=01

  210. flags of the republic Says:

    Hey Charles,

    Don’t laugh. My mechanic told me that he hacks in to DOS and F things up for fun on his spare time.

  211. Charles Liu Says:

    Chops, Flags, the NYT article accused a 3rd rate vacational school of training computer scientists and technology officer for Chinese government, an internet meme has been circulating in China:

    Why Lanxiang Vocational School is better than Harvard University

  212. jxie Says:

    There are certain aspects of NYT’s reporting style that I don’t particularly care for. It’s an outfit that gave you Judith Miller and Jayson Blair. Many NYT fans would like to believe that those were only 2 rogue reporters, but in reality the same reporting style is everywhere in NYT. For example,

    * “‘[Lanxiang]’s computer network is operated by a company with close ties to Baidu, the dominant search engine in China and a competitor of Google.”
    The links, from Lanxiang to the mysterious company, and from the company to Baidu, need to be spelled out, fully qualified and quantified. Otherwise we are all one link away from Adolf Hilter.

    * “Evidence acquired by a United States military contractor that faced the same attacks as Google…”
    It’s understandable that the military contractor may not want their name to be released. But with the 1 of the 2 writers being a “technical writer” (the term being used loosely), you pretty much need to spell out what the “same” attacks are — are they both “cyberattacks” or attacks out to exploit a very specific software/system weakness?

    * “Some analysts have privately circulated a document asserting that the vocational school is being used as camouflage for government operations. But other computer industry executives and former government officials said it was possible that the schools were cover for a “false flag” intelligence operation being run by a third country. Some have also speculated that the hacking could be a giant example of criminal industrial espionage, aimed at stealing intellectual property from American technology firms.”
    Here is the give-away. They found the source IP addresses, did a reverse DNS lookup and/or checked the geolocation database, and that was ALL. Heck, I expect more from a computer science grad from a vocational school. Forensic investigation on cyberhacking takes skills and experience, and it can be very hard. BTW, it’s a whole lot more likely the machines from which the attacks originated, were some bot machines taken over by malware.

  213. jxie Says:

    Here is far better reporting that gives you concrete facts and an understanding of the ecosystem of underground hacking society in China:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704140104575057490343183782.html?mod=WSJ_Tech_LEADTop

  214. Charles Liu Says:

    jxie, right you are. I have no problem with connecting Jiaotong Univ. or such underground hacker network. What I object to is our media bullying bunch of poor high school dropouts at Lanxiang Vocational School.

    Instead of reporting the likely scenario that they too are victim of cyber crime, our media is trying to pin the Google hack on the Chinese government by linking Lanxiang’s military enlistment program to the hacking.

    Take the following passage from a Washington Post article:

    “Lanxiang Vocational helped create what has become known as China’s “Great Firewall,” which filters Internet information in the country. According to the school’s Web site, it established a military department in 2006 to train “high quality technology officers.” Many of those students have gone on to form “the important technology backbone” of the People’s Liberation Army, the site said.”

    And it appears this claim originated from some very bad translation by China Digital Times:

    http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2010/02/two-chinese-schools-said-to-be-tied-to-online-attacks

    CDT linked Lanxiang Vocational to the Chinese military by citing a report about 17 Lanxiang grads joining the military

    However, the news report stated the 17 students were cooks and mechanics. CDT ignored this and translated “technical” as “technology”, so this tacit military connection suddenly becomes technology, hacking, GFW related. AFP also reported 38 Lanxiang grads that enlisted since 2006, were all cooks and mechanics.

    The truth is Lanxiang Vocational School is a 3rd rate voc tech for high school dropouts, and searching Chinese blogs complaints about its poor student accommodation, tacky infomercial, can be easily found. Couple China blogs have since covered this:

    http://www.zonaeuropa.com/201002b.brief.htm#15
    http://globalvoicesonline.org/2010/02/23/chinese-netizens-make-fun-of-charges-for-hacking-google/

  215. pug_ster Says:

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-27080_3-10461935-245.html?tag=newsEditorsPicksArea.0

    An article describes Aurora Attack as ‘oldschoo’l and it was tested last summer.

  216. tanjin Says:

    Is Google too big too fail to US government? No, Google is not too big to fail to Chinese government.

    read this interesting report

    “China and Google Are Talking. Unless They’re Not.”

    http://www.thebigmoney.com/blogs/feeling-lucky/2010/03/08/china-muddies-waters-google

  217. pug_ster Says:

    http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2010-03/11/content_9572837.htm

    Looks like google is leaving.

  218. r v Says:

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Google’s words have not been as reliable as it used to be.

    As we say in contract law class, it’s not the real deal until they sign.

  219. pug_ster Says:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62C0K920100313?type=technologyNews

    Don’t be too sure.

  220. r v Says:

    google’s 99.9% “sure”. Somehow, I’m still waiting for the real deal.

    That’s like I’m 99.9% sure that I will buy a new car.

    *incidentally, Google’s stock dropped today on that news.

    honestly, if Google does leave China, will it gain more users? (99.9% unlikely).

    If Google stays in China, will its users boycott Google? (99.9% unlikely.)

    Now, does anyone still think there is any incentive for a business like Google to follow through with its threat to leave China?

    (At the end of the day, Google is still a business.)

  221. Charles Liu Says:

    Time to watch and buy Microsoft stock. I can see millions of Chinese start using Bing.

  222. pug_ster Says:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35886780/

    Looks like Google makes good on its promise (uncensoring that is.)

  223. r v Says:

    I would not be so quick to hand a trophy to google.

    It sounds like the Chinese state monitors are readjusting their firewall, and had a some intermittent holes.

    *I would also warn that this could mean an even smarter and stronger Chinese internet firewall/software.

  224. pug_ster Says:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/BUSINESS/03/18/china.google.report/

    According to the article that Google is going to make an announcement next Monday 3/22 that they are leaving on 4/10. Let’s see if that is true.

  225. tanjin Says:

    Analysis: Chinese Animosity To Google Is Rising Quickly – Google Should Have Googled “Opium Wars”

    http://www.siliconvalleywatcher.com/mt/archives/2010/03/analysis_chines.php

    “Google has demonstrated a shocking lack of historical knowledge and lack of understanding of Chinese culture in its dealings with the Chinese government.

    For a foreign organization to give the Chinese government an ultimatum on changing its laws is like poking a sharp stick into an old wound. Google should have Googled “Opium Wars” before it issued its ultimatum.

    The British forced the Chinese to make opium legal, which led to huge amounts of instability in Chinese society, and resulted in two brutal wars, the second one included the French.

    The Chinese government is concerned that without Internet censorship, there will be instability in its society. Yet Google makes those demands, angered by a “sophisticated” hacker attack, and brings up the issue of human rights when it was a non issue when it entered the Chinese market.

    - Google has not provided the Chinese government with any of its evidence that sophisticated hackers were acting as agents of the government. Those attacks now appear to be amateurish rather than “sophisticated” as it originally claimed.

    - Google has allowed the National Security Agency (NSA), the world’s largest spying organization, to help it with its security — a move that has badly backfired. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, ACLU, and Electronic Privacy Information Center have all warned about Google and the NSA getting together. [Was China An Excuse For GOOG + NSA Collaboration?] “

  226. tanjin Says:

    Google’s Exit Threat Won’t Change China’s Investment Environment

    “Google’s threat to exit China has led some people to hastily conclude that China’s investment environment for foreign-funded enterprises is worsening.

    However, they should not be prejudiced by an individual case but see the broader picture that China remains one of the best investment destinations in the world.

    Just as China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said last week,Google’s possible withdrawal is only an individual business act, which would not affect China’s investment environment or change the reality that most of the foreign enterprises, American companies included, have been doing well and making profits in China.

    There are 660,000 foreign-funded enterprises tapping a booming market in China and Google is only one of the 480 Fortune 500 firms reaping the fruits of China’s near-double-digit economic growth.

    Even if Google’s threat materializes, what would change is not China but Google itself — China would continue to adhere to its policy of reform and opening up, but Google would lose the business opportunities offered by China’s 384 million Internet users and be remembered for backtracking on its promises.

    On entering the Chinese market four years ago, Google clearly stated that it would respect Chinese law. And, no country allows unrestricted flow on the Internet of pornographic, violent content, or content posing threats to a nation’s security and unity.

    Since announcing in January that China-based cyber attacks had targeted its databases and email accounts, Google has provided no sound evidences to support the claim.

    It is groundless to accuse China of creating headaches for foreign investment, given one after another international brand, while often bogged down in other countries, have posted surging revenues and profits from the expanding Chinese market. ”

    http://english.cri.cn/6909/2010/03/23/1722s558482.htm

  227. pug_ster Says:

    Looks like the news is official. But they are redirecting people to Hong Kong?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35981427/ns/technology_and_science-security/?ns=business-world_business

  228. tanjin Says:

    Google’s has its own page to track content availability in China, much of those got blocked is still blocked.

    http://www.google.com/prc/report.html#hl=en

    Meanwhile, Google’s chief legal offer put out an update on “Google’s new approach”, still accusing China on those things

    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/03/new-approach-to-china-update.html

    And Google’s co-founder did a news interview on NYT, making a BIG political statement

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/23/technology/23google.html

    So where is Google’s CEO? This drama continues to be two-man show from Google …

    One can be assure that it is only matter of time before Google got kicked …

  229. tanjin Says:

    What It’s Like to Search the Web in China Right Now

    This blog entry indicates things are quite usual despite a move by google

    http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2010/03/what-its-like-to-search-the-web-in-china-right-now/37861/

  230. Wukailong Says:

    I’m happy Google didn’t just pull out, not only because of the employees but also because of the possible ramifications. Unfortunately I guess most of the sale employees will have to leave, but R&D is apparently safe. I guess the latter fact falsifies my theory that there was a major leak in source code from the Beijing office that made the top brass upset, and had them look for reasons to leave.

    Redirecting to Hongkong is actually a good solution, since Google aren’t breaking any laws by doing that, but then the Hongkong site will probably be locked down soon.

    I guess your view on this topic depends very much on where you are. If you are in the West I can understand you’re upset at the Western media, but here I’m more upset with the censorship. I can use a proxy, but it’s slow, unreliable and gives a bad user experience. Certainly you can go on forever with finding conceptual similarities between China and the West, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is the most locked-down internet I know. The only thing that makes me happy in the whole thing is that the local internet is indeed thriving, and people are more and more connected.

  231. tanjin Says:

    Google could eventually lose its internet content provider license on “google.cn”. It is pretty certain right now since they are not able to renew it, nor get approved.

  232. tanjin Says:

    Questions For Google If/When Google.cn Shuts Down

    http://digicha.com/

    “If the rumors and speculation are correct, Google.cn may shut as soon as this week.

    Most pundits will likely praise Google for staring down the Chinese government and choosing “doing good” over “doing evil”. To help Google shareholders and the rest of the world better understand this decision (assuming it occurs of course), would Google please answer the following questions?

    1. Exactly what was targeted in the hacker attacks, and what IP was stolen? Did the attacks lead Google to worry that its growing enterprise Google Apps business could be damaged? Google owes its users a detailed explanation of what happened;

    2. Google is attacked hundreds or thousands of times of day. The attack(s) of some bad actor, very likely in China, precipitated Google’s decision that led to the shutdown of Google.cn. Google is ultimately responsible for protecting its networks and its users’ data. Were any Google employees, contractors or vendors disciplined or replaced for the lapses in Google’s security that allowed the compromise of some user accounts (some were compromised by phishing attacks directly on users), the penetrations of Google’s networks and the theft of IP? If any were disciplined, who are they and how were they disciplined?

    3. What is the breakdown in search traffic originating in China between Google.cn and Google.com, quarterly since 2007? How much China search market share is Google surrendering with this decision?

    4. What were total 2007, 2008, and 2009 China revenues for Google? How much revenue came from Google.cn and Google Adsense distributed on sites within China, and how much revenue came from sales of overseas advertising to Chinese enterprises? How much of this revenue does Google expect to retain?

    5. Did Google approach any Chinese firms to discuss purchasing or otherwise taking over Google.cn, along the lines of the deal Yahoo struck with Alibaba?

    6. What are the ramifications for Google-invested firms in China like Dianping, Xunlei and Ganji? Is Google doing anything to compensate these firms or their other investors for revenue and/or traffic lost by Google’s withdrawal from China? Does Google plan to continue to make minority investments in Chinese firms?

    6. How is Google ensuring the security of the PRC citizens who have legal liability for any actions of the PRC company which held the Internet Content Provider (ICP) license for Google.cn? If they are out of the country, how can Google guarantee that they and/or their relatives will not suffer repercusions, legal, financial or otherwise?

    7. Will Google disclose the processes and systems through which Google China knew which topics and keywords were to be filtered on Google.cn? If not, is it because Google is concerned about the safety of the employee(s) who were in regular contact with the “relevant authorities”, or is Google worried about the public embarrassment such disclosures might cause?

    8. There have been rumors and unsubstantiated reports that one of more Google China employees may have been involved in the hacking and/or IP theft. Can Google confirm or deny that Google China employees were involved? Has Google conducted an investigation using external security experts? If Google believes any Google China employees were involved, will Google release their names, so that other foreign firms know the risks before they hire them?

    9. On the evening of Monday, March 15, several users found clear evidence that the Google.cn filter was removed for at least one “sensitive” search term. Will Google please explain why the filter stopped working?

    10. Does Google have plans to offer a Google VPN or other technologies that will allow netizens in China (and other countries with filtered Internets) to access blocked information beyond their respective borders?

    11. Has Google considered sponsoring the US Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo/World’s Fair? Why is Google not a sponsor?

    12. What are the total, direct costs incurred in the closure of Google.cn?

    13. What impact did Secretary Hilary Clinton’s speech on Internet freedom have on Google’s negotiations with the Chinese government? Did Google lobby to have Secretary Clinton mention the Google China situation, or did Google try to have her omit mention of the issue?

    14. Did Google ever really believe it could negotiate a desired outcome with the Chinese government? Or did management understand that such a public challenge likely doomed Google’s prospects from the start?

    15. Does Google have evidence of any efforts over the years by Baidu or other Chinese firms to instigate the Chinese government and/or Chinese media to investigate Google China for pornography, tax problems, or other issues? If yes, which ones?

  233. pug_ster Says:

    Wukailong 230,

    I think that google will go away from China slowly. Many Chinese companies will slowly unwind its business ties with google because they see Google as a ‘business risk.’ Like you mentioned, going to Google will slow down to a crawl, making user experience unacceptable. Some Chinese entrepreneurs will make products similar to google apps and will eat into Google’s share. With the Ad money dwindling and hits from China minuscule, I would not be surprised that Google will probably shut down its offices within 1-2 years time. Twitter, facebook, and youtube went away from China there there’s not much fanfare in months time, I suppose that Google will go away the same way.

  234. Wukailong Says:

    @pug_ster: Yeah, that seems likely, though if I were Google I would try to have a reentry strategy.

  235. tanjin Says:

    All media put up some degree of censorship, whether in the West or China, either through reporters, editorial, publisher or regulation.

    Google is just too slow to realize itself is just another form of media publisher. So there is no possibility to avoid that law.

    Too bad, it still considers itself a free content repository that just aggregates content with a web search interface.

  236. tanjin Says:

    Google’s China Misadventure: Not a Harbinger of Darkness

    “Google’s demand that it be allowed to operate an uncensored, non-monitored website was extremely naive. The Chinese authorities, ruthlessly pragmatic, are often open to compromise, albeit negotiated through a prism of acute self-interest.

    It’s true China has always and will continue to vigorously defend its interests — as well as promote its “strategic” industry sectors — and we must anticipate an increasingly mercantile modus operandi. So they’re being marginally tougher on foreign business than in the past, but only marginally. The government knows foreign businesses can’t be pushed too far, too hard. When it cross a line that discourages investment, it will back off. The Party knows how its bread gets buttered.

    The Google case was a Google botch. Google’s public condemnation of and demands against censorship touched the third rail of government insecurity. Anything that directly or directly threatens governmental control — i.e., the ability to frame the debate — and always been and will always be approached with zero tolerance. Google committed every sin that China 101 warns against and, in the end, did neither the consumers nor their bottom line any favors. The fact that their complaints were released, stridently, in public also caused a massive loss of face, a near-unforgivable sin to any Chinese, government cadre and corproate warrior alike. And, finally, we shouldn’t ignore the fact Google knew perfectly well the conditions of maintaining a Mainland operation when they entered the market.

    Google has repeatedly exhibited a lack of understanding about what makes China business tick. Relative to Baidu, their primary online competitor, they underinvested in a sales force, rather arrogantly assuming a “build it and they will come” mentality, based on competitive advantages on engineering and technological levels. Their tone deafness was even evident when they launched in 2006. Google’s name in Chinese translates as “gu ge,” or “valley song,” hardly a label that connects with ambitious Chinese youth, eager to expand their horizons, liberate their potential and connect with the world. ”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-doctoroff/googles-china-misadventur_b_510844.html

  237. Steve Says:

    In The Atlantic, James Fallows interviewed David Drummond, Google’s Chief Legal Officer, about the situation in China. This is what he had to say:

    It may not be quite obvious that this is not really a “shutdown” of either our operations in China or of our mainland China-focused web site. We have moved the physical location of it [to Hong Kong], and the virtual location. The experience we are trying to offer to Chinese users is like the one on Google.cn, but done without the censorship on our part.

    [Would this make any difference to users in mainland China, whose search results are still going to be "filtered" by the Great Firewall?] There is a difference in that we are censoring nothing. The Firewall can block access to certain kinds of search results regardless of how you get to them. They are treating Google.com.hk – treating it like Google.com [that is, as a foreign source that is screened by the Firewall]….

    People tended to see this as an all or nothing kind of battle between us and the Chinese government, and that based on what we said, we were either going to pull out of China entirely, or else say, Never Mind! From the beginning our view had been, we would like to stay in China and have an operation there and serve the market there, and serve it as locally as we can. We’re just not willing to censor the search results any more.

    I think there has been some grumbling or people questioning whether this is some kind of “deal” with the Chinese government. That’s not the case. We had conversations with the government. Would they be willing to lift the search- censorship requirements, in terms of the substance and even more the lack of transparency? They made it clear that the self-censorship policy as it is now practiced was not going to change.

    The initial premise, that it all started from a hacking episode, is not quite right. We did have a hacking incident. Most hacking incidents that you see are freelancers — maybe government sponsored, maybe not. They are out there trying to steal intellectual property, make some money. Or they might just be hackers who want to damage something for whatever reason. That’s a fact of life that internet companies deal with all the time.

    This attack, which was from China, was different. It was almost singularly focused on getting into Gmail accounts specifically of human rights activists, inside China or outside. They tried to do that through Google systems that thwarted them. On top of that, there were separate attacks, many of them, on individual Gmail users who were political activists inside and outside China. There were political aspects to these hacking attacks that were quite unusual.

    
That was distasteful to us. It seemed to us that this was all part of an overall system bent on suppressing expression, whether it was by controlling internet search results or trying to surveil activists. It is all part of the same repressive program, from our point of view. We felt that we were being part of that.

    That was the direct connection with the hacking incident. It wasn’t in isolation. Since the Beijing Olympics, our experience in China has gotten worse. Although we have gained market share, it has become more and more difficult for us to operate there. Particularly when it comes to censorship. We have had to censor more. More and more pressure has been put on us. It has gotten appreciably worse — and not just for us, for other internet companies too.

    So we increasingly came to feel that the original premise of our entry into China was being undermined. We thought when we went in that we could help to open the country and things could get better by our being there. Things seemed to be getting worse.

    We don’t know what to expect. We have done what we have done. We are fully complying with Chinese law. We’re not operating our search engine within the Firewall any more. We will continue to talk with them about how to operate our other services.

    We originally went to them with a request [for a change in the filtering rules]. They made it clear that the self-censorship system was the law there and it wasn’t going to change. We’ll keep talking with them about everything else.

    We certainly hope they are not at risk. They had nothing to do with these decisions, and what we are doing is within Chinese law. So there should not be any reason for them to be at risk.

    We did not stop censoring immediately because we wanted to engage with the government about how and whether we could keep operating. And if self-censorship is the law, we weren’t interested in blatantly violating the Chinese law within the Firewall –much as we disagree with that law. As I said in the blog post, it was hard to sort this through. But we needed a way to continue that was consistent with our principles.

    I thought it’d be a good idea for us to hear it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

  238. Steve Says:

    Another take on the situation with Google, also from James Fallows’ blog. This was written by a western reader living in China:

    Google positions its departure as a principled stand. Nationalist idiots like [names deleted - JF] suggest that Google is pulling out because it lost the China market and is using “human rights” as face-saving cover while it slinks away, tail tucked between its legs. Equally nationalist US media like the NYT just cannot stop their gasping, breathless praise of the principled sacrifice that Our Lord and Savior Google is making.

    I think they are both correct – the move is both pragmatic AND principled, but spinning the story as an either/or obscures a single major fact that eclipses all other considerations on the table when Google decided to leave China, namely: Google could never possibly be allowed to win in China, and they knew it.

    Here’s why:

    Internet search and analytics companies today have more access to high quality, real-time information about people, places and events, and more ability to filter, aggregate, and analyze it than any government agency, anywhere ever. Maybe the NSA can encrypt it better and process it faster but it lacks ability to collect the high value data – the stuff that satellites can’t see. The things people think but don’t say. The things people do but don’t say. All documented in excruciating detail, each event tagged with location, precise time. Every word you type, every click you make (how many sites do you visit have google ads, or analytics?), Google is watching you – and learning. It’s their business to. This fact has yet to sink in on the general public in the US, but it has not gone un-noticed by the Chinese government.

    The Chinese government wants unfettered access to all of that information. Google, defending its long-term brand equity, cannot give its data to the Chinese government. Baidu, on the other hand, would and does…

    Now, consider the quality of the data that Baidu can furnish the Chinese government with if it owns 30% of Chinese search traffic, as opposed to 70%. 40% of your literate population is a pretty big blind spot. This is a primary reason that Google believes it can never “win” the Chinese market as it has “won” the markets of so many other countries. As Google gains market share, the Chinese government loses an important barometer of real-time data about what Chinese citizens are thinking about right now. This barometer is all the more valuable in China, where the authoritarian, single-party government has precious few mechanisms like elections or an independent judiciary to address social grievances, much less gauge them.

    It is for this reason that the PRC has a vested interest in granting a monopoly in search to one and only one company, over any competitor foreign or domestic. It’s all about making sure the government has the highest quality data about everything that Chinese citizens are doing and thinking. Having a losing Google around made the market look nice and competitive, made indigenous Chinese companies look talented and strong, and as a bonus, occasionally provided a scapegoat for nationalists to pummel. Google tried to engage, but eventually understood what its role was from the perspective of the PRC government. And their bonus was to give the PRC government little black eye on the way out.

    So Google has, for years, been the victim of anti-competitive practices sponsored by the Chinese government, certainly with the purpose of restricting sensitive information like photos of 6-4 [Tiananmen Square, June 4, 1989], but more importantly giving Google’s market share to a cooperative local monopoly. Most of these anti-competitive practices have been well documented, but some have been largely ignored. Outright domain-level blocking of Google services like youtube, gmail, and docs, selective blocking based on keyword search (used to get your internet connection hosed for 5 minutes for searching for “bad” words like, “freedom” – no joke). But there were more subtle indications that very sophisticated tactics were employed – for years I ran traffic through two browsers side by side. One browser used an encrypted tunnel, one browser used the Chinese internet directly. Google searches through the encrypted browser were snappy. Google searches through the China direct browsers dragged and stalled. The traffic was being filtered and / or bottle-necked – when the automated censors could see it. This caused a perception of poor service within China that would give Baidu an edge gradually over time, with a low-level of detectability by anyone.

    This is just another example of the PRC’s brilliant take on authoritarian government: you don’t need total control, you just need effective control.

    I sell this hard like a conspiracy theory, but I realize that it’s probably only one of many factors that led to the pullout. I just haven’t seen it get much play.

    Note: At the end of this passage, Fallows writes, “I agree with the final point: probably not the whole story, but probably too one of the factors at play.” Again, it’s a different viewpoint and one that hasn’t been mentioned in our past discussion.

  239. tanjin Says:

    Life goes on. US and China should not bare teeth at each other, but learn patiently to live with difference and appreciate the different ways of life.

    Google was founded by a bunch of young, well-educated tech-hippies. The current saga is like someone got rich, then feed up with a job situation and decide to quit. That is just part of daily life, shouldn’t be surprised, nor should get too excited like a few western writers. Google knows it did not invent Internet, but was just very good about the game, made tons of money, got lots of talents and resources. But, still it couldn’t change China, nor could US. US politicians put a false hope on Google, are partially to blame on this ugly show.

    US established itself a couple of hundreds ago by a mix of mostly European immigrants, occupied a huge land with vast resources. So opportunities have been abundant to everyone, and individualism and common participation are important to get things done there.

    China has a completely different scenario, got a huge population and little resource per capita. Suffering a great deal in modern history. A huge chunk of population is still poor and under-educated. An orderly society is important for many good reasons.

  240. Jason Says:

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/OPINION/01/23/schneier.google.hacking/

  241. Wukailong Says:

    @Steve: I think the theory in #238 makes a lot of sense.

  242. Charles Liu Says:

    Hmmm, last time I checked HKSAR is still part of China.

    IMHO the google lawyer’s claim is without merit. Wouldn’t Chinese hackers go after human rights activist they find distasteful? Chinese hacker went after journalists who reported on the olympics with bias, and there were no complaints or links to the Chinese government.

    Where’s the government link here? NYT found a handful of cooks from Lanxiang Vocational enlisting after graduation, and eggheads at Jiaotong Univ. with no obvious government link.

  243. Wukailong Says:

    Hong Kong is part of China, but for all practical purposes it’s still like a separate country, with their own borders, immigration control (which takes ages to pass) and even their own constitution. I heard something about a plan to bring Shenzhen and Hongkong closer together, but as long as the arrangement stays this way it’s probably not going to happen.

  244. Steve Says:

    Here are the CCP’s instructions to domestic news websites on how to portray Google’s decision:

    All chief editors and managers:

    Google has officially announced its withdrawal from the China market. This is a high-impact incident. It has triggered netizens’ discussions which are not limited to a commercial level. Therefore please pay strict attention to the following content requirements during this period:

    A. News Section

    1. Only use Central Government main media (website) content; do not use content from other sources
    2. Re-posting must not change title
    3. News recommendations should refer to Central government main media websites
    4. Do not produce relevant topic pages; do not set discussion sessions; do not conduct related investigative reporting;
    5. Online programs with experts and scholars on this matter must apply for permission ahead of time. This type of self-initiated program production is strictly forbidden.
    6. Carefully manage the commentary posts under news items.

    B. Forums, blogs and other interactive media sections:

    1. It is not permitted to hold discussions or investigations on the Google topic
    2. Interactive sections do not recommend this topic, do not place this topic and related comments at the top
    3. All websites please clean up text, images and sound and videos which attack the Party, State, government agencies, Internet policies with the excuse of this event.
    4. All websites please clean up text, images and sound and videos which support Google, dedicate flowers to Google, ask Google to stay, cheer for Google and others have a different tune from government policy
    5. On topics related to Google, carefully manage the information in exchanges, comments and other interactive sessions
    6. Chief managers in different regions please assign specific manpower to monitor Google-related information; if there is information about mass incidents, please report it in a timely manner.

    We ask the Monitoring and Control Group to immediately follow up monitoring and control actions along the above directions; once any problems are discovered, please communicate with respected sessions in a timely manner.

    Addition guidelines:

    – Do not participate in and report Google’s information/press releases
    – Do not report about Google exerting pressure on our country via people or events
    – Related reports need to put [our story/perspective/information] in the center, do not provide materials for Google to attack relevant policies of our country
    – Use talking points about Google withdrawing from China published by relevant departments

    Here is another interesting article which concerns a reporter from Radio Free Asia trying to confirm a story with the government that Google is leaving China. A rough transcript of that conversation (you can access a recording of the conversation through the link) reads as follows:

    Reporter: May I ask, is this the State Council news bureau?
    S.C. Worker 1: Yes.
    Reporter: Oh, it’s like this, I’d like to ask whether Google is leaving the Chinese market or not.
    S.C. Worker 1: Oh, this… [...] we still don’t have that…we’re still not very clear on it.
    Reporter: Why?
    S.C. Worker 1: So you’ll have to ask another department, this office hasn’t received any news.
    Reporter: You haven’t received any news. But isn’t this the State Council news bureau?
    S.C. Worker 1: Yes. But we have many offices.
    Reporter: Oh. Then what office should I ask? What office is this?
    S.C. Worker 1: This is the news office.
    Reporter: The news office, yes?
    S.C. Worker 1: Yes.
    Reporter: And at the news office you haven’t heard anything relating to [this piece of news]?
    S.C. Worker 1: Uh, this, perhaps it is not our office that is responsible for this [piece of news].
    Reporter: In that case, what office is responsible for it?
    S.C. Worker 1: Uh [long pause] it’s…the propaganda office.
    Reporter: Oh, the propaganda office?
    S.C. Worker 1: Yes, maybe it’s the propaganda office.
    Reporter: But have you heard the news that Google is going to leave China?
    S.C. Worker 1: I saw it on the internet, but this office isn’t responsible for it. [...]
    Reporter: OK, so can you tell me the phone number for the propaganda office?
    S.C. Worker 1: You could send a memo over and I could pass it along to them, how’s that?
    Reporter: Oh, that might not be convenient, could you just directly tell me the propaganda office’s number?
    S.C. Worker 1: Uh…I don’t have it now, wait a minute, I will ask [pause] OK, call 65226165 and ask.
    Reporter: 65226165, and what office is that?
    S.C. Worker 1: It’s an office responsible for dealing with reporters
    Reporter: Oh, OK. Thank you.
    S.C. Worker 1: Bye bye.

    [Reporter calls that number]

    Reporter: Is this the State Council news bureau office responsible for dealing with questions from reporters?
    S.C. Worker 2: Yes, who is this?
    Reporter: It’s like this, we saw that Google is going to leave the Mainland and wanted to ask about this news.
    S.C. Worker 2: That…is it convenient if…which media outlet are you from?
    Reporter: I’m a reporter with Radio Free Asia.
    S.C. Worker 2: Oh, why don’t you send a fax, OK, send it to 65226115.
    Reporter: 65226115?
    S.C. Worker 2: Yes. Write your question on the fax, OK?
    Reporter: Is this news real or not?
    S.C. Worker 2: Uh, because I’m just the person who answers the phones, personally, I don’t have any way of responding to your question. We prefer to receive faxes.
    Reporter: So do you have any information at all [about the news Google is leaving China]?
    S.C. Worker 2: If you want to ask me this in detail, because I only answer the phones, I personally…you probably can understand, there are different jobs within an office. How about this, going by the normal system, you should send a fax to the number I just told you
    Reporter: And then?
    S.C. Worker 2: And write your question and your name and how to get in touch with you on the fax. Then on this end we will deal with it according to the system. We will get in touch with you.

    Thoughts:

    Obviously, this kind of thing happens to reporters everywhere from time to time, but the fact that the government department responsible for dealing with reporters and news couldn’t answer a simple question is sort of concerning even when one doesn’t take into account their rather antiquated “system” of responding to questions (I would love to hear if this reporter ever heard back from them). Why, for that matter, is the person who answers the phones at the office for responding to requests from reporters not capable of answering a simple “is this true or not” question?

    For those that question why political coverage of the CCP is so negative, look no further than the exchange quoted above. The harder a government makes it for a reporter to do his/her job, the more negative the coverage. How can you report both sides when only one is available? It has nothing to do with top down directives from media organizations; that’s just a myth used to justify unfavorable reporting by the foreign press. The easier you make someone’s job, the more positive will be the report; that’s human nature.

  245. sids Says:

    Steve to you #244

    There will never be any positive coverage by the west aslong China is govern under communist rule. Its stupid to say otherwise. It just does not go well with the type of reader that is reading those article in the west compare to the amount of click they will get or paper they can sell from China bashing.

    That is why I think its impossible for Chiense government allow full access to the journalist from the west. You know any news that does not degenerate Chinese government as evil cannot sell in the west or they will get complaint left right and centre from readers. If the news they cannot spin it negatively most of the media in the west will just not bother to publish it or the editor will not allow it to publish.

  246. Steve Says:

    Hi sids~

    I beg to differ. Off the top of my head, James Fallows of the Atlantic Monthly, Thomas Friedman of the NY Times, John Pomfret of the Washington Post all say many good things about China and those are three of the most well respected publications in the US media. There is a disconnect here; to people in the States criticizing a government does not equal criticizing a country or criticizing the people in that country, any more than someone criticizing the US government would equate to criticizing the American people. All three of the above mentioned authors are widely read and respected. Do they sometimes criticize the CCP? Sure, and they also sometimes criticize the US government. That’s their job, to criticize when they feel it is warranted.

    I can wander over to Borders bookstore and find dozens of books praising China’s progress over the last 30 years. I can also find literally hundreds of books criticizing the US government. Free speech means unregulated speech regardless of which position you hold.

    By not giving basic answers to simple questions, the Chinese government slants the opinion away from their viewpoint. If a reporter can’t get an answer, they simply ask the other side (in this case, Google) and go with that version. The first to respond gets the major coverage since that reporter is working against a deadline.

    Reporters are assigned stories and have to put them together on short notice. They don’t have time to screw around begging for answers from obstructionist bureaus as reported above. Then at night they all get together in a pub and tell each other the nonsense they had to put up with in order to do their job, which just positively reinforces each others experiences.

    You’re making a lot of claims about how western media works but you don’t back up any of your claims. How do you know what readers will and will not accept? It reminds me of the old Mark Twain quote, “The Public is merely a multiplied ‘me’.” Maybe your expectation for what others might think isn’t actually how they think?

  247. sids Says:

    Steve

    I don’t need to backup my claim. I read Guardian, bbc, economist, smh, news.com.au daily and ocaasionally msnbc, nytimes. I don’t care if the west put negative spin on chinese government that is the reality i can accept like fox news will never say anything positive about democrats. Im just saying you are naive if you believe that if Chinese government allow full informantion access to foreign journalist that they can get a more favourable or neutral news coverage in the west is utter bs not until China turn into a democratic country.

  248. sids Says:

    Back on topic

    I have never doubt that Chinese government will hack into oversea activist’s email account to see what they are up to. I have no doubt that they have done it before. What made this hack so differently then previous attempt baffles me by getting caught and trace all the way back to China? I don’t think there will be a clear cut answer , this could be stage by activist themself or Chinese government really did it and stuff up bigtime.

    Then you have article coming out that the owner of google is a liberal hippie that champion free speech and human rights does not make all my conspiracy theory easier ><.

  249. Nimrod Says:

    I’ve noticed this whole Google news cycle has evolved the same way as FLG from the 1990′s and other foreign policy initiatives. The flowchart is usually like this:

    1. Out of the blue, newspapers start reporting on some unknown small-time issue in amazing synchrony and sensationalizes it. In this case, it was a series of reports on some nefarious hacking ring by China infiltrating “many technology companies in the US.” This was first reported some time last year. No one paid much attention to it then. FLG was also drummed up in this way in the mid-1990′s as some amazing group. Same with Iran’s protests, Taliban’s treatment of women, and the other character assasination prior to the Eastern European color revolutions. At this step, I usually wonder why anybody would care, especially since there is pretty much no serious foreign news coverage of any kind in the US, compared to other countries. It takes something for the reporter to go and do some research on these things when they aren’t on anybody’s radar. We can speculate what that something is.

    2. Nothing happens for a few months.

    3. All of a sudden, some “incident” happens with what was described in 1, usually reinforcing some negative aspect of whatever 1 said. With Google, it is how an American company cannot take the hacking any more. With FLG, it is how the CCP is worried about FLG membership outnumbering itself, which was previously reported. The incident rapidly blows up, and the White House, Congress, the press, NGO’s all jump into it with both feet like they have some contingency plan for it…

    If you dig through the root of many so-called “issues” that denigrate other countries, and search for the source of how these “issues” came up, you will find this template repeated over and over. Dalai Lama, Rebiya Kadeer, FLG, Darfur, Myanmar, Hu Jia, and almost the entire class of “TAM dissidents”. Each case has turned out to have some involvement of an invisible foreign hand. Of course each case has some angle to it, and some plausible merit, but that’s exactly the beauty of subversion. China has been a tough one to crack though, because whoever is moving the hand doesn’t know China very well. The people they choose to support always do not represent the core interests of the Chinese people (probably a necessary condition of subversion, by definition), and they end up getting discredited. Ironically, each time this happens, is one more time the Chinese government is shown to be right, and it gets more support from the people.

  250. Steve Says:

    Here is the official CCP viewpoint from China Daily. I compressed some of the paragraphs for easier reading:

    Google’s Exit a Deliberate Plot
    By Ding Yifan (China Daily)
    Updated: 2010-03-25 07:48

    Editor’s note: Google’s moves are combined with Washington’s tongue. The US company finally exits when it’s able to achieve neither business survival nor political aims.

    Search engine leader has been part of the US’ foreign strategy; its departure opens the door for domestic and foreign rivals

    After two months of intense spats with the Chinese government, Google said on Monday it would shut down the mainland-based Google.cn search services and redirect the mainland’s web users to Hong Kong. In January, the world’s leading search engine threatened to leave after alleged cyber-attacks in the mainland. Google said it would no longer filter its Chinese-language search results, a commitment that it agreed to when the company launched its search operations in China in January 2006.

    Google’s withdrawal is not a purely commercial act. The incident has from the beginning been implicated in Washington’s political games with China. A few days before Google made its announcement, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lavishly praised US Internet companies for their role in helping the Obama administration realize its foreign policies, at a lunch with chief executives of Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Clinton in particular sang of their positive role in instilling US political stances and values into Georgian and Iranian street politics to sway local public opinion. Given that Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have no access to the Chinese Internet market, the White House believes that Google alone cannot play a large role in China as it did in Georgia and Iran.

    As expectated, days after the enlightening lunch, Google announced its withdrawal of its search service from the world’s largest Internet market on charges that it could not tolerate strict Internet censorship required by the Chinese government. Immediately after its announcement, Clinton made a speech in support of Google’s “Internet freedom” campaign. Google has enjoyed intimate links with the Obama administration. The company was one of the four major sponsors of US President Barack Obama during his presidential campaign. It also played an important role in helping Obama’s team raise election funds. After the Obama administration was sworn in, some senior Google managerial staff members were successively recruited to important government posts. Such close connections between the two make it natural for Google to be devoted to serve the Obama administration’s foreign strategy.

    The search engine leader’s exit from the Chinese mainland is a deliberate plot. The charge that it is opposed to China’s “hacker attacks” and “Internet censorship” not only sounds reasonable, but also caters to the prejudices cultivated in the Western public toward the Chinese government. Google’s case is in essence part of the US’ Internet intrusive strategy worldwide under the excuse that it advocates a free Internet. Google’s accusations against China are completely groundless. The company has so far failed to submit any convincing evidence of the Chinese government-aided hacker attacks on its search engine. The censorship charges also exposed the engine’s ignorance of similar practices prevailing across the world.

    Google’s services in Germany, France, India and other countries are also under scrutiny. Even in the US, it is not rare for some government agencies to often intrude into private e-mails under the anti-terror pretext. Many of the US Federal and State laws and acts have clauses to restrict the flow of information on the Internet. In California, Colorado, Nevada, Louisiana and other states, public libraries, schools and Internet service providers (ISP) are required to put measures in place to block juvenile access to pornographic content. As the world’s largest filtering software producer, the US has made the world’s majority part of information-blocking software.

    Google’s Monday announcement was also a grudging commercial move amid its gloomy performances in China’s market. Compared with Baidu.com, China’s largest search engine, Google has lagged behind. It suffered a series of setbacks in the fastest-growing market, especially last year. Google.cn was accused by China’s Internet watchdog in January and April of last year of reserving porn contents and linking to other unhealthy websites. Consequently, the Chinese agency made a decision in June to temporarily halt Google’s outbound search services and its key words search business and urged the engine to rectify the matter. In September, Kai-Fu Lee, who spearheaded Google’s push into the mainland’s market, resigned as head of Google China. Lee’s departure was followed by successive resignations of other Google employees and the standoff of some of its local business.

    By exiting from China, Google is by no means a political victim as it claims. Its departure is completely a failed result of competitions with other rivals in the fierce Chinese Internet market. Google’s departure is not expected to cause large losses in China’s Internet search business. On the contrary, the unwise move will leave more room for China’s homegrown search engines, such as Baidu, to improve and to benefit from its search technologies.

    For a long time, some other foreign Internet companies, including those in the US, have been covetous of the world’s fastest-growing market. Google’s exit as a powerful competitor will leave them more commercial opportunities. Upon its announcement, Microsoft, which has been vying with Google for the market share in search software, issued a statement saying foreign companies should only abide by local laws and rules to keep their business thriving.

    The author is a researcher at the Development Research Center under the State Council.

    Google has Become but a Political Tool, Overseas Netizens Say
    (chinadaily.com.cn)
    Updated: 2010-03-24 16:41

    Google Inc formally announced on March 22 it will end its self-censorship of harmful information in accordance with Chinese law by redirecting traffic from its Beijing-based search engine to its service in Hong Kong. The move triggered an intense discussion on chinadaily.com.cn, and a majority of overseas netizens believes that multinational corporations should abide by their host country’s laws. According to the netizens, Google has degenerated into a political tool of the US government to seek hegemony.

    Foreign enterprises operating in China must abide by China’s law

    Most overseas netizens said that it is essential that Google abide by China’s law if it wants to operate in China. Malaysian netizen HsunTze said that “Google is a good search engine. But it should play its role well in other countries if it wants to achieve its global strategy. In China, Google should respect and obey China’s law and rules to regulate its operations. If not, there is no way but to leave China.” Anthony from Thailand emphasized that “each country has a different history and background. The laws and regulations in each country are different, especially for China, which has 1.3 billion in population. You shouldn’t expect every country must be the same as USA. Any company that operates in other countries must respect the law of those countries. If Google is not satisfied with China’s rules, Google should leave China. ”

    Google has become a political tool to export American values and seek hegemony

    Many netizens say Google has degenerated into a US government tool to seek hegemony. Helen from the UK said that “it is well known internationally that Google’s initial start-up was funded by the CIA. Besides, Google now has links to all the U.S. Intelligence agencies, which is a well publicized fact.” Australian netizen James added that “Google has finally shown its real intent! That is to use the Internet to subvert and control China. I suppose China and its citizens will not agree to hand over this control of information to Google and let it use it as a tool to carve up the Chinese nation.”

    Governments have the responsibility to ensure the safe flow of information

    Most overseas netizens believe that it is necessary for governments to filter harmful information to reduce its negative impact upon society. American netizen John said that even in the US, Google practices censorship. “In the US, Google is obeying the Patriot Act, which means that it is spying on the email of an unknown number of people without their knowledge and without a court order as I understand it.” Malaysian netizen HsunTze deemed it important to practice Internet censorship. “As a saying goes: Prevention is better than cure. It is wise and I agree with it. If good things are digested, it is good for body and mind. But if that good thing contains traces of poison, then such traces must be eliminated prior to distribution. It is vital to check, monitor, filter and remove the harm-causing elements so that only the good part reaches the public.” American netizen CV pointed out that it is unfair for the US government to criticize China while it is censoring the Internet, too. “It is reasonable for Chinese government to censor the harmful pornographic, anti-China separatists and subversive information. The US government will in no way allow anti-US such as Al-Qaida and domestic and international Muslim extremist websites to be searchable by US citizens.”

    Google’s withdrawal will not damage China’s Internet development

    Some overseas netizens deemed that as the fastest growing country in network with 384 million Internet users by the end of 2009, China’s Internet development would not stand still in spite of Google’s withdrawal. Billy from France said that “Google has been struggling in China due to its mismanagement. Although Google claims that they have 30% of Internet search market in China, the Internet search that goes through Google’s front end is only about 15%, and the number is declining rapidly. Google blames the decline on Chinese government’s policy. All Google’s competitors there play by the same rule, why are those guys growing fast while Google is declining?” Amy from the UK emphasized that “quite a number of Chinese Internet enterprises grow to be a giant from scratch. China’s privately held Alibaba Group has reached Internet users in more than 240 countries and regions and successfully purchased Yahoo.cn in 2005, and its subsidiary Alibaba.com is the global leader in business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce. This has proved to the world that Internet companies can succeed in China if they operate in the right way. Baidu defeats Google in the Chinese market. Compared to Google, Baidu does a better job in understanding the local market.”

    Google incident has nothing to do with China’s investment environment

    Quite a number of overseas netizens believe that Google’s withdrawal is its own choice and doesn’t mean the deterioration of China’s investment environment. Michael from the UK said that “China’s regulation on monitoring the search results hasn’t changed or tightened. And Google’s drastic response only shows that the mind of its management team or their motivation has changed.” American netizen Netrogen said that “if this is 5 years ago, this threat may be feasible. But now with the emerging market in China’s economy and growing fast to become the world’s 2nd economy, China no longer views their withdrawal as a setback. As Premier Wen said, China still welcomes foreign enterprises. And believe me, they will regret it for the rest of their lives. For Google will never be able to stand up again in China’s market.” Asian Perspective from Singapore added that “China will not lose out with Google’s withdrawal, but it is Google that will lose its strategic shares of the world market. Many companies are willing and will replace them in no time.”

    Capricious Google ruins its reputation

    Many netizens questioned Google’s morals and accused it of reneging on its promise and abusing its power. Japanese netizen Osaka said, “Multinational companies always assess the legal environment of their target country before deciding to start business there and Google would also have done this. Google’s decision to start business in China proves that it accepted China’s legal environment and then couldn’t go back on his word. Otherwise its morals are under suspicion. Why did Google ask for privilege while other search engine companies are all abiding by China’s law on censorship? Hasn’t Google been advocating equality?” Peony from Canada asked why Google didn’t refuse to censor search results immediately when it started doing business in China. “It’s very likely that Google felt it had little effect years before but now it is different, ‘I could make a difference now and ask them to change their rules for me.’ “

    Comment
    Google Faces Backlash
    (China Daily)
    Updated: 2010-03-24 07:48

    After all the uproar over Google’s long dispute with China, we can now have a moment of peace. Amid high anticipation, the company based in the United States shut down its service on the Chinese mainland and redirected users to its search engine in Hong Kong on Monday. Ever since the company chose to wrongly accuse the Chinese government of supporting cyber-attacks on its search engine in January, the world has been forced to watch the dispute quickly evolve into a political issue. Google’s efforts to make this issue into a political spat have naturally met with strong opposition and criticism from the Chinese government and society.

    With the company’s credibility among Chinese netizens now plummeting, Google will be greeted with less sympathy and fewer parting sentiments from Chinese Internet users. Such an outcome is in neither party’s interest. With other search engines not in a position to fully replace Google, netizens will have to cope with the inconvenience from Google’s decision. For the search engine leader, without Google.cn as a platform for its business operations in the world’s largest Internet market, the backlash from this change in direction is significant.

    From an industry standpoint, however, Google’s exit will leave more room for international and domestic competitors to tap into the potential of a market with the largest online population. Thanks to efforts from the Chinese government to support Internet development, domestic Internet service providers have made bold strides in recent years. Therefore, we hope companies in the industry will make inroads into search engine technology soon. Without Google access to pornographic and subversive content, China’s cyber space will continue to grow in a cleaner and more peaceful environment.

    Economy
    Comment: Who Will Share the Cheese After Google Moves?
    (Xinhua)
    Updated: 2010-03-24 11:09

    BEIJING: Netizens said Tuesday Google’s withdrawal from the Chinese mainland was only a “publicity stunt” while experts believed the online search giant had abandoned its cheese when no others moved it. Google announced Tuesday morning that it had stopped censoring its Chinese-language search engine Google.cn and redirected Chinese mainland users to another portal in Hong Kong. Google’s earlier threats to pull out of China and its latest move to reroute traffic to Hong Kong were just “publicity stunts,” said a netizen named Ding Wei on the Internet industrial network http://www.sootoo.com. “Google’s redirecting Google.cn to Google.com.hk is a compromised decision reflecting that the company wants to save its reputation in China,” the netizen said.

    Google said in Tuesday’s statement it still intended to continue research and development and maintain a sales staff in the Chinese mainland. Experts interviewed by Xinhua said they believed Google’s latest move was mainly out of business and market concerns, adding that Baidu and other Internet companies doing business in China would benefit from Google’s withdrawal. “Google faces censorship in about 25 countries, but why does it only quit the Chinese mainland? Because it can not beat Baidu,” said Dr. Wang Yu, a Nanjing University lecturer. “Google does not give up its smart phone operating system Android or other partnerships with domestic Internet companies, because unlike Google.cn, they are all promising,” said Wang who specializes in network information studies.

    The domestic search giant Baidu would not be the only beneficiary of Google’s exit. “Google’s about 30 percent market share in search services on the mainland will be absorbed not only by search engine rivals but also companies doing other search-related businesses,” said Li Zhi, a senior analyst with Analysys International, a leading Chinese Internet consulting company. According to Analysys, Baidu occupies about 60 percent of the market share. Sohu’s Sogou, Tencent’s Soso and other new-comers including Microsoft’s Bing were all eyeing Google’s share of the market, analysts said.

    Microsoft’s Beijing office said in an email reply to Xinhua on Tuesday that the company regarded China as the most important online search service market. “The pull-out is the price to pay for Google’s move of politicizing commercial issues,” Li Zhi said. Sean Tzou, CEO of Trina Solar Limited, a US joint venture based in Changzhou of Jiangsu Province, said the biggest challenge for many joint ventures in China was their willingness and ability to adapt to the local environment.

  251. Charles Liu Says:

    Nimrod, Sid, you ain’t the only ones who’s noticed this. Just like Steve’s article in 250, America’s propaganda falls behind party line.

    Take the RFA article cited above. RFA is an official mouth piece of the US government (paid for by the BBG, a US government propaganda bureau),

    And China Ditigal Times, funded by the NED and the Taiwanese, was already refered to in a previous comment for mistranslating cooks enlisting as “technology officer”, so our media can lodge the “military hacker central” allegation against Lanxiang Vocational School (thus linking the Chinese government with the hacking.) That is the definition of “echo chamber”.

  252. Steve Says:

    @ sids #247: No, you don’t have to back up your claim but if you can’t back up your claim, then it isn’t much of a claim. I don’t read Aussie media (unless the story is from Australia) and I stay away from MSNBC and FOX News, since both of them are just slanted editorial opinions rather than actual news and neither actually gets many viewers or readers. (1-3% is typical) I’ll normally read the news from local sources depending on the country where it occurs, and I read the main US media such as the NY Times, WaPo, Atlantic Monthly, Google News, etc.

    As far as “spin”, the only spin I’ve heard on China’s green policy has been positive. In fact, media has been saying that if the US doesn’t get its act together quickly, they’ll get smoked by Chinese green manufacturers in the coming years. Quick decision making gets positive “spin”. Ability to go from idea to manufactured product in a short time span gets positive “spin”. I can think of many other examples. Don’t they count? Or are you just seeing what fits into your mindset? I can acknowledge plenty of “negative” spin but I can also see both sides. Currently the big issue is whether China should allow the renminbi to rise in value per the dollar. I can show you articles from US media saying it should and saying it shouldn’t. Out of curiosity, can you find me both sides from Chinese media?

    I may be many things but naive isn’t one of them. I’ve lived in China, probably done more business in China than anyone else on this forum and in conjunction with my Chinese colleagues I’ve had banquets with Chinese officials, put together contracts in China, worked with licensing boards to set up a warehouse in a duty free zone, etc. I’ve also on occasion (not often) run across foreign reporters in China on assignment there and heard their stories. What’s their biggest complaint? It’s the difficulty in getting answers to simple questions from the government. Think about it; if you’re trying to do your job and some entity is making that job far more difficult to do than it should be, how would you feel towards that entity? This isn’t rocket science, it’s basic human nature which doesn’t change from culture to culture. To think otherwise is naive. Governments with excellent press spokesmen get better coverage than ones that make the press’ job difficult. The Saudis figured this out a long, long time ago.

    I’m also not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t think the “western media”, whatever that means, is in cahoots with one another to present a one-sided view of any particular subject. I don’t think the Bilderberg Group or the Trilateral Commission run the world behind closed doors, etc. I think the CIA is pretty incompetent in most of its operations and is blamed for far more than it is involved in as the most convenient scapegoat for any issue. The RFA and Confucius Institutes are both “propaganda” entities, so what? It’s not a big secret or anything. And that doesn’t invalidate the phone conversation I posted (and which I linked to the actual phone recording) but is, as usual, another illogical “tu quoque” argument.

    Taking complex issues, simplifying them and painting them as black and white is not only faulty reasoning, it’s exactly what you complain about if FOX or other news sources do the same. Isn’t that hypocritical?

  253. pug_ster Says:

    Steve,

    I have to disagree with you on that notion. I don’t think Western Media is anti-China per say about everything about China because it doesn’t want to offend its people, socially, and economically. They are typically anti-Chinese government. When was the last time you actually saw an article that praise the Chinese government?. Here’s an 1972 article praising Mao. I thought it reflect that Anti-Soviet mentality at the time when China warmed relations with the US.

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1979&dat=19720226&id=7NIoAAAAIBAJ&sjid=gQYGAAAAIBAJ&pg=2409,5787438

  254. Steve Says:

    Hi pug_ster: Good comment. I don’t think the American media (I’ll limit it to American because I can’t speak for other media such as Australian which sids says is very negative so I’ll take him at his word) is anti-China either but not because it doesn’t want to offend its people. That reason of offending is more of a Chinese concept that wouldn’t occur to most Americans and I doubt would occur to a reporter. I agree with you that the animosity is towards the CCP and not the people. I think some of it is legit and some is nonsense, so I’m not giving US media a free ride here. I especially think most of the commentators on American TV are idiots when speaking about things Chinese and don’t have a clue, but most of them are idiots on whatever they talk about. The reporters that for me tend to make the most sense are the ones who have lived in China and are well traveled in their careers, people such as WaPo’s Pomfret and the Atlantic’s Fallows. Both of them are far more open-minded concerning China than most of what you read in the press because they are not just looking at events through the blinders of their own cultures.

    There are some that have said good things about the Chinese government. The first one that comes to mind is the NY Times’ Thomas Friedman. I’ve read others and I guess I ought to start saving those articles and maybe write a post about them. Of course, you’re not going to find many people here who prefer one party authoritarian governments outside of a few neo-Nazi skinheads so that side of it will never come out positive for the CCP, just as the CCP is always complaining about democracy since it doesn’t fit in with their governing system. I feel that argument is an endless one.

    Many of the people who contribute to this forum are well read on both sides and can spot the nonsense pretty easily. Unfortunately, many will also only acknowledge the nonsense on one side but not the other and there’s where the endless arguments start. In reality, both sides spew a lot of crap on a consistent basis. That’s understandable since governments say what is in their best interest and should be expected to do what is in their best interest. What we should not do is be so gullible as to believe everything they write or say, on either side. The objective is to open our minds, not to close them.

    Commentary from both sides waxes and wanes depending on circumstances. I’m sure that the Chinese press also had lots of good things to say about the US in 1972.

    You’ve actually given me a good idea for a new post, one that will probably get a few people pissed off on both sides of the philosophical divide but should engender some good discussion. ;)

  255. tanjin Says:

    Look at what is happening in Thailand, then people would understand and appreciate more what China is doing.

    The current Thailand government was not elected, but a front set up by the Royal family and military. There are popular demand among Thai people to have re-election for a long time, but still nothing is happening. Why we don’t see any major demand from the West on the situation? Because most of those people are from poor families, and the riches in Thailand simply want to hold power for their favor. The West, especially US, got great sympathy for them — another double-standard approach.

  256. Steve Says:

    @ tanjin: Actually, it’s because Thailand is a smaller country of not much world importance while China is a big, important country. Would you rather China be a small, unimportant country? When you’re one of the big boys, you undergo more scrutiny, just as with the other big, important countries. The trick is to not get all defensive about it.

  257. tanjin Says:

    #256

    Your soft argument seems to fall right into the trap of your previous argument. How can that be?

    Burma is a small and reclusive country, US and others in the West are zealots to turn the country up-side down. Why?

  258. Steve Says:

    Comparing Myanmar to Thailand is ridiculous; it’s like comparing apples and oranges. But even as bad as Myanmar is, not much time is spent trying to “turn the country upside down” as you put it. As usual, the discussion has tu quoque’d from China to another irrelevant subject.

  259. tanjin Says:

    #258

    That kind of defense can be both boring and self-aggrandizing. “tu quoque” type argument does not apply well in social science setting, because human behaviors, either at individual level or at group/population level, show high-level of correlation among each other, and decisions are often influenced by either other.

    Therefore, if US and others in the West want to continue to “lead” (as bad as claimed by President Nixon’s book, or by neo-cons in recent years), they need to follow the good-ole tradition of lead-by-example. Otherwise, it is just so fake and unconvincing.

  260. Steve Says:

    @ tanjin: Your lead by example argument is legitimate but that’s not what you were arguing. A “tu quoque” argument is a logical fallacy, no matter how much you or others wish it wasn’t. It has nothing to do with the setting, illogical is illogical. If you can’t make a logical argument, then you don’t have much of an argument. If you can make a logical argument then that’s fine. I don’t care what position you take but to expect people to argue an illogical proposition with you is ridiculous. Maybe illogical arguments aren’t boring and self-aggrandizing to you but they are to most everyone else because they’re illogical!!

  261. Wukailong Says:

    As an aside, I think there’s a certain amount of randomness as to how strict reporting about a certain place or leader is. I read an article about Robert Mugabe last year (that I can’t find, unfortunately) and the journalist made the point that he’s been portrayed as the most wicked man on the continent, ignoring the dictator of Equatorial Guinea and his horrible record. The reporting is partly based on ideology, partly on the popularity of current memes.

    One thing that’s surprised me since 2008 are the people who said they believed Western media to truly be objective and fair until they saw the reports about Tibet and the olympic torch. I wonder if they’re telling the truth but that’s not really the point here. The point is that when you really know a subject and read the media reports, you will be disappointed most of the time. Journalists bring their prejudice and ignorance into their reports, and they’re under time pressure, so the results will be as expected.

  262. Steve Says:

    Why Google should stay in China from the Washington Post:

    Why Google should stay in China

    By Yasheng Huang
    Sunday, March 28, 2010

    In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Google co-founder Sergey Brin explained why his company decided to close its search engine in China. The problem, he explained, is that China reminds him of the country of his birth, the former Soviet Union. After lauding China’s “great strides” in reducing poverty, Brin had this to say about Chinese politics: “In some aspects of their policy, particularly with respect to censorship, with respect to surveillance of dissidents, I see the same earmarks of totalitarianism, and I find that personally quite troubling.”

    There are at least two people in China who might disagree. One is Zhou Jiugeng, a former official in the city of Nanjing, who could hear about the Google wars only from a prison cell. Zhou was sentenced to 11 years in jail last year after he was spotted sporting a $25,000 watch, one far out of reach of the pay of a civil servant. This led to an online uproar, with countless postings and blogs questioning Zhou’s income. A government investigation ensued, and Zhou was found to have accepted almost $200,000 in bribes. He was fired, prosecuted and sent to jail. (The same investigation apparently found that his watch was a fake, but that’s another story.)

    The second individual is Deng Yujiao, a young woman who rebuffed sexual advances by a government official in May 2009 and then stabbed him to death when he attempted to rape her. She was arrested, prompting a massive protest, online and off, with Chinese netizens and civil rights organizations petitioning for her release. Emboldened by the popular response, even the traditional Chinese media weighed in. Bowing to the pressure, the government cleared all the charges against Deng, and arrested and dismissed two officials who were present at the scene of the incident.

    Without a vibrant Internet community in China, Zhou and Deng would probably have traded places — Zhou going about his corrupt business and Deng languishing in jail. But the Internet has given China a measure of transparency, accountability and public voice, with an impact far more powerful than decades of 10 percent economic growth, foreign investment and urbanization. Brin is right that China’s political system retains many of the Leninist attributes of the old Soviet Union, but he is wrong to conflate the government’s attempts to enforce those attributes with the actual results.

    The Google co-founder, who came to the United States in 1979, when he was 6 years old, complained in the interview that online censorship in China has intensified in recent years. Indeed, according to China Digital Times, a publication based in Berkeley, Calif., the Chinese government maintains a list of hundreds, if not thousands, of banned search terms, with new ones added periodically.

    But let’s maintain some perspective. Relative to the total information available on the Internet in China, the number of banned terms is minuscule, no matter how quickly the list expands. According to the China Internet Network Information Center, a Web site run by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the total amount of digital information stored on Chinese Web sites has increased by more t