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Google's New Approach For China Is To Serve From Hong Kong

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the gauntlet-thrown dept.

Censorship 295

abs0lutz3ro writes with a major update to the Google/China situation we've been discussing so much lately: "Google has stopped censoring simplified Chinese search results on google.cn by redirecting users to google.com.hk, which Google maintains is entirely legal. From the official blog: 'We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement. We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from Google.com.hk is a sensible solution to the challenges we've faced—it's entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China. We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services. We will therefore be carefully monitoring access issues, and have created this new web page, which we will update regularly each day, so that everyone can see which Google services are available in China.' Seems like google.cn got served (from google.com.hk)."

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Next up on the Chinese agenda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31574858)

Invade, conquer and annex Hong Kong.

Re:Next up on the Chinese agenda (5, Funny)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574876)

"Invade, conquer and annex Hong Kong."

Good thing they didn't redirect towards their servers in Taiwan!

Re:Next up on the Chinese agenda (1)

kubitus (927806) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575798)

agreed

but office space, manpower and electricity is more costly in HK

and for sure there are more NSA & CIA guys in HK than in Beijing

Re:Next up on the Chinese agenda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575092)

And then they will be serving man.

Re:Next up on the Chinese agenda (4, Informative)

bsDaemon (87307) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575116)

The British already gave .hk back to the PRC back in 2000 (i think that's the right year), so they already have it. It's just maintained as a semi-autonomous "free-enterprise zone" iirc. They don't need to invade it, conquer it or annex it. They just need to enforce the law there in the same way they do everywhere else.

Re:Next up on the Chinese agenda (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575172)

97

Re:Next up on the Chinese agenda (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575652)

I think you mean 1997. The year 97 was 1913 years ago.

Re:Next up on the Chinese agenda (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575376)

I don't think they gave ".hk" back to the PRC. They gave Hong Kong back to the PRC.

I'm not entirely sure the .hk TLD was theirs (the British, I mean) to give....

And I'm not sure the .hk TLD is the theirs (the Chinese, I mean) to take....

Re:Next up on the Chinese agenda (1)

blai (1380673) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575482)

can't enforce the law there.

They already own it (5, Insightful)

maroberts (15852) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575142)

Hong Kong is part of China, it has different regulations however as a result of being handed over by the UK. I believe the phrase is "one country, two systems". In all fairness its not a bad idea; if China were this flexible over Tibet they would be getting a lot of International Brownie points

Re:Next up on the Chinese agenda (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575604)

Sit down my son.....

Did I miss something? (1, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574868)

Last time I checked, Hong Kong was was transfered [wikipedia.org] to full Chinese control about 13 years ago. So is this some sort of symbolic stunt done for some obscure reason, or is it actually supposed to accomplish something? Saying you're going to defy Chinese control by moving your HQ from Beijing to Hong Kong is like saying you're going to get out from under U.S. control by moving from New York to Chicago.

Re:Did I miss something? (5, Insightful)

Conception (212279) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574880)

Same country, different laws regarding censorship.

Yes but how does this mechaincally work (1)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574988)

How does this actually work? does the mainland china google just have links to the hong kong web site? which when you go there then has links to banned content?

Or what exactly?

I was under the impression the great firewall of china did not have it's barn door open. e.g. if the Falun Gong or Uhgers had a Hong kong web page would it be visible all over china?

Re:Yes but how does this mechaincally work (4, Interesting)

Conception (212279) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575012)

China would, and probably will, manually block Google.hk. But it'll be fairly embarrassing that it's legal in some parts of their country but not others.

Re:Yes but how does this mechaincally work (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575298)

A lot of things are legal in Hong Kong that are not legal in China.

Just 37 more years [wikipedia.org] to go.

Re:Yes but how does this mechaincally work (1)

yuhong (1378501) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575554)

And that is quite a long time, probably enough time for a revolution to happen in the PRC.

Re:Yes but how does this mechaincally work (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575706)

Or for the legitimate government of China to retake the mainland.

Re:Yes but how does this mechaincally work (4, Insightful)

oatworm (969674) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575930)

Chiang Kai-Shek's only virtue was that he wasn't Mao. Past that, neither he nor the Kuomintang were exemplars of good governance, which is why Mao was able to overrun China in the first place. The only reason the KMT (and, by association, Taiwan) hasn't revoked its claim to the mainland is because doing so would be interpreted by the PRC as a declaration of independence. Past that, the KMT is about as likely to retake the mainland as the Tories are to retake the US.

Re:Yes but how does this mechaincally work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575056)

WOW! People are finally asking "how"!

Re:Did I miss something? (5, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575070)

Yes, exactly. But this is *very* interesting from a geopolitical perspective. Because of Hong Kong's former status of a British colony, it has always enjoyed a separate set of rules, apart from "mainland" China. The censorship laws are generally less intrusive and citizens there have much more free reign over their affairs. I believe there are even elected officials who are not mandatorily members of the Communist party.

My interpretation of this is that Google is REALLY pissing China off intentionally by doing this - exploiting the schism between Hong Kong and mainland China, forcing issues to the forefront which the Chinese like to ignore (like why does Hong Kong get less centralized control than other parts of China). This could be quite a large issue in China and Hong Kong should China decide to dictate terms to the more autonomous Hong Kong.

Very interesting development...

Re:Did I miss something? (4, Insightful)

ktappe (747125) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575180)

Because of Hong Kong's former status of a British colony, it has always enjoyed a separate set of rules, apart from "mainland" China. The censorship laws are generally less intrusive and citizens there have much more free reign over their affairs. My interpretation of this is that Google is REALLY pissing China off intentionally by doing this - exploiting the schism between Hong Kong and mainland China, forcing issues to the forefront which the Chinese like to ignore (like why does Hong Kong get less centralized control than other parts of China). This could be quite a large issue in China and Hong Kong should China decide to dictate terms to the more autonomous Hong Kong.

How is Google's "Don't Be Evil" mantra going to be viewed if they end up causing the censorship of all of Hong Kong's internet access? Ouch.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575260)

One could easily make a counter-argument that Google is advocating an open system for all of China that only Hong Kong now enjoys. But either way, the gloves are off.

Re:Did I miss something? (4, Insightful)

jpmorgan (517966) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575328)

Google is not responsible for China's response.

Re:Did I miss something? (5, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575366)

If a robber points a gun at a child and tells you to hand over all your money, and you refuse, and the child gets shot, you are NOT responsible for the child's death. That would be ridiculous, and would essentially give criminals legal force. The robber alone is responsible.

Pragmatically, this might cause trouble for Hong Kong, but morally, Google's in the right here.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575504)

Think of this as a verbal fight escalating to a fistfight. AFAIK/IANAL, where I live, if you taunt a person into punching you, you share responsibility for the physical assault.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

gtbritishskull (1435843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575892)

IANAL, but I think this might only be if you have legally assaulted the person. At that point you have broken a crime and are therefore liable for the outcome of it. But, the argument could be made that Google has broken the law, so I am not saying that you are wrong.

Logic please? (4, Insightful)

forand (530402) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575398)

This type of logic is inane. If a spouse says "Don't make me hit you," and then proceeds to beat their spouse for not having dinner ready the person doing the beating is at fault. China is responsible for China's actions pure and simple. What Google has does in perfectly LEGAL within the current legal structure of China, if they don't like their own laws....

Re:Did I miss something? (4, Interesting)

skine (1524819) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575546)

Since the Sino-British Joint Declaration stipulates that China cannot interfere with the economic system, rights or freedoms of Hong Kong until 2047, I'm sure Google won't be kicked out too soon.

Re:Did I miss something? (0, Offtopic)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575878)

HAHA! By slaying that bandit lord, his goons seek vengeance on the inn you slept last night. That's accomplice to arson. That's EVIL, your paladin FALLS!

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575912)

If China is so hell bent on censoring that it would actually pull a dick move like that, then I say it's on China.

Put another way...

A bank robber takes a customer hostage. The police try to sharpshoot the robber and in the robber's last moments somehow gets enough adrenaline to squeeze off a scorched earth shot that kills the hostage a split second after the police take him down.

I for one would praise Google for finding a loophole, and condemn China alone for squashing innocent bystanders in the process of closing said loophole.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575186)

Did China think Google was simply pack it's shit and leave? Is there some jar somewhere I can throw $100-$1000 in to have Google continue to fark with China?

Re:Did I miss something? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575270)

01101000 01110100 01110100 01110000 00111010 00101111 00101111 01110110 01101001 01100100 01100101 01101111 00101110 01100111 01101111 01101111 01100111 01101100 01100101 00101110 01100011 01101111 01101101 00101111 01110110 01101001 01100100 01100101 01101111 01110000 01101100 01100001 01111001 00111111 01100100 01101111 01100011 01101001 01100100 00111101 00101101 00110110 00110111 00110101 00110100 00110100 00110001 00110101 00110100 00110011 00110001 00110000 00110000 00110100 00110000 00110001 00110111 00111001 00110010 00110111

Re:Did I miss something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575346)

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6754415431004017927

BOOOOORRRRINGGG

Re:Did I miss something? (3, Insightful)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575316)

The real question is... did Google consult the local Hong Kong officials before doing this? If they planned it correctly, this could turn into a big, hot (interesting) mess. If they did this on a whim, one phone call to a "local official" will have them pull the plug on Google before anything comes of the situation.

Re:Did I miss something? (2, Interesting)

randomlogin (448414) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575400)

My interpretation of this is that Google is REALLY pissing China off intentionally by doing this - exploiting the schism between Hong Kong and mainland China, forcing issues to the forefront which the Chinese like to ignore (like why does Hong Kong get less centralized control than other parts of China). This could be quite a large issue in China and Hong Kong should China decide to dictate terms to the more autonomous Hong Kong.

Personally, I'd have gone for +1 Insightful for this. It potentially serves to emphasise to the mainlanders that they are somehow second class to the citizens of HK. A former colleague once described going from HK to the mainland to visit a supplier as like going from West Berlin to communist East Berlin. He was talking about all the security involved - and having to be followed around by a communist party apparatchik all the time. However, you do have to wonder if there are other parallels to be drawn there...

Re:Did I miss something? (4, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575502)

I love this play by Google, China is forced into one of two things: Either A, admit the people of Hong Kong are a significantly different culture than the rest of the country (in that they can handle uncensored access to information but the rest of China cannot). Or B, trying to enforce the mainland censorship laws on a large, prosperous group of Chinese people who are have been without this kind of interference from the mainland for a long, long time.

They'll be reluctant to do B because it's entirely possible that Hong Kong is politically powerful enough to actually do something to change the status quo. Of course, if they do A, then they are saying Hong Kong's success is partially explained by their more open culture, which they absolutely cannot have since it implies that the mainland culture is inferior. And they did it in such a way that they are obeying the letter of the law in China, telling the Chinese people the reason for the move, and just plain rubbing China's face in the duplicity of it all.

Re:Did I miss something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575794)

First of all Hong Kong is an significantly different culture than the rest of china. Both agree they are chinese, but they both understand that they live under different laws. Hell, they both have different dialects!

It's like comparing a new yorker and a texan. Both are american, but both are different creatures.

So no this cheeky move by google will not cause an issue for china to admit your case A. Also this will serve to piss off China, and yes they are obeying the law, but remember china can just rewrite any damn law they want.

To be honest with you, China can wait until 2047 and make the next move. They've been here forever already, what's another 100 years?

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575664)

I was going to reply to you in binary but the damn slashdot filter wouldn't let me. Your right. But it's a slippery slope and I don't think china is ever gonna let this one slide.

Re:Did I miss something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575720)

Well, it's not like they are serving from Taiwan.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575770)

My thoughts exactly. Google has just raised the stakes in the "one country, two systems game."

Google is probably technically right, but I can't see China allowing firms to evade censorship by moving to Hong Kong. The stakes are huge when you factor in Taiwan. If China cracks down on Hong Kong, it could give new impetus to the Taiwan independence question, potentially destabilizing the region.

On the other hand, if nobody calls the Chinese bluff, people will eventually begin to forget the promise of "one country two systems".

And yes, it's completely legal...BUT... (1)

daveschroeder (516195) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575134)

It may be "completely legal" to provide uncensored Simplified Chinese search in Hong Kong, but that doesn't mean "mainland"[1] China won't just block google.com.hk in response (which it probably will, soon).

[1] Yes, this is accepted term for it.

Re:Did I miss something? (2, Interesting)

kz45 (175825) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574882)

It would have made more sense to do it from Taiwan.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575094)

Given this aggressive posture Google has taken, that might be next...

Re:Did I miss something? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31574976)

If I recall correctly, China is under obligation to at least pretend that Hong Kong is still free. Which is to say, citizens of Hong Kong technically maintain all the freedom they enjoyed under British control. When the authorities manipulate HK media or harass citizens, they keep it secretive. China has to be a lot more low-profile when they oppress the people of Hong Kong, so that the global community doesn't suddenly start to care again and call shenanigans.

Re:Did I miss something? (2, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575564)

China has to be a lot more low-profile when they oppress the people of Hong Kong, so that the global community doesn't suddenly start to care again and call shenanigans.

Or do what, exactly? Implement an embargo? Impose sanctions? Go to war?

China is pretty embedded in the world at this point, unlike where it was a mere 13 years ago when they got Hong Kong back from the Brits. How much manufacturing and raw materials come out from China? How much foreign currency and debt do they control?

At least with questions about Taiwan there's a de facto stalemate. Google is putting its employees in China at risk (remember, they "treated" opium addiction with a bullet to the head) and forcing the issue. And, because of how powerful China is right now on the global stage, I can't see a bunch of UN and NATO finger wagging is going to swing their actions towards those of freedom and human rights.

Re:Did I miss something? (0)

MechaStreisand (585905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575836)

Who would possibly enforce that, though? There is absolutely nothing to stop China from simply putting Hong Kong under their heel like the rest of the country. Nobody would do anything: they all care too much about trade with China to give a shit about the people who suffer as a result.

Re:Did I miss something? (5, Insightful)

guabah (968691) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574992)

Last time I checked, Hong Kong was was transfered [wikipedia.org] to full Chinese control about 13 years ago. So is this some sort of symbolic stunt done for some obscure reason, or is it actually supposed to accomplish something? Saying you're going to defy Chinese control by moving your HQ from Beijing to Hong Kong is like saying you're going to get out from under U.S. control by moving from New York to Chicago.

More like moving to Guam, Northern Marianas, or maybe, Puerto Rico or USVI given the 'non-State' status of those.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

DaMP12000 (710387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575162)

Actually Hong Kong (such as other parts of China like Macau) is a SAR - Special Autonomous Region. It maintains a high degree of freedom compared to the main land and will do for another 35 years or so [wikipedia.org]

Re:Did I miss something? (5, Informative)

chentiangemalc (1710624) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575184)

China has 5 different types of Autonomous areas: 1) Autonomous banner (in Inner Mongolia) 2) Autonomous County 3) Autonomous Prefecture 4) Autonomous Region. Autonomous region has its own local government with the right to appoint the governer (from the local minority) For example Tibetan people in Tibet, the Zhuang in Guangxi, the Uyghur in Xinjiang, the Mongols in Inner Mongolia, and the Hui in Ningxia. 5) Special Administrative Region Special Administrative Regions of China include Hong Kong and Macau. Special Administrative Regions are responsible for everything except diplomatic relations and national defence. So effectively Hong Kong and Macau have their own legal system, completely different from the rest of the country. More importantly unlike in mainland China in Hong Kong it is possible to watch Youtube and use Facebook.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

drougie (36782) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575932)

good information.

Worth noting, on the human end of this, if you ask someone born in Hong Kong if they're Chinese, the answer is often no while they judge you as being ignorant.

Re:Did I miss something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575292)

I used to live in HK before and slightly after the handover.

IIRC basically at 1997 China replaced the UK in terms of who did things like national defense and who appointed the governor/chief-executive.

For another 50 years after the handover (until 2047) HK operates the same government it had before, which mean it's own legislature, judicial, etc.

So from a US perspective, it's like moving your server-farm to a Native American reservation.

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575416)

OK.
Along time ago, It was taken by the British empire.
A long time passes and they have been enjoying an open society with a free market and almost no censorship.

The it was given back to China, who had plans to basically censor it and treat it like every place else in China
The Tienanmen Square happened. The events outraged people. The last time that happened China underwent a revolution.

So they made a social deal. Hong Kong gets to keep it's free market, and no one in China ever mentions Tienanmen Sqr.

The seemed like a fair deal to the Citizens. As luck would ahve it, ding that also allowed China to have the growth it has enjoyed since then.

Had that man not stood up to that tank, China would not be the power house it is today. IT has, in effect, given China a more reasonable face.

There is an long, and interesting, history to the event that was happening at Tienanmen Sqr, that stem back much farther the just that event. Also, the Military Moral was falling very fast, and there was a risk of wide spread desertion. To many to lock up and hide.

Re:Did I miss something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575718)

Yeah.. you can bet I was surprised too to go through passport control from China into HK... then again to Macau and once more back into the mainland! Sure glad I had the multi-entry Chinese visa! Luckily HK and Macau are visa on entry ( at least for me ).

  Of course.. the airport-sized x-ray machine at the walking border to Vietnam was a surprise.. as was the confiscation of my Lonely Planet due to it's references to Taiwan.

BTW - anyone else notice the cute female HK-Macau border agent with the "Sin Candy" nametag? I really had to bite my tongue!

Re:Did I miss something? (1)

smist08 (1059006) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575800)

More like New York to Peuto Rico or Guam.

Re:Did I miss something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575934)

Special Administration Region
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_administrative_region_(People%27s_Republic_of_China)
>The two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau (created in 1997 and 1999 respectively) each have a codified constitution called Basic Law.[1] The law provides the regions with a high degree of autonomy, a separate political system, and a capitalist economy under the principle of "one country, two systems" proposed by Deng Xiaoping

It is like living in your parent's basement, same house but they recognized that you are an adult with some need of privacy and basic respects. They still reserve all the rights to do things to you as you are living under their roof.

So.... (0, Redundant)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574870)

They moved their servers from China to... China.

Re:So.... (2, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575236)

Hong Kong is not like the rest of China. The censorship laws are less restrictive, and the people enjoy a greater degree of freedom.

Re:So.... (1)

blai (1380673) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575552)

Hong Kong is not like the rest of China. The censorship laws are less restrictive, and the people enjoy a greater degree of freedom.

Hong Kong is the world's freest economy [wikipedia.org] . Less Restrictive is much underrated.

Re:So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575740)

s/underrated/understated/

Re:So.... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575246)

They moved their servers to an autonomous region of the country which has its own laws [wikipedia.org] , distinct from those in the rest of PRC.

Re:So.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575442)

You know how Austin isn't like the rest of Texas? Kind of like that, but moreso, and in China.

China's next move (1)

Kohenkatz (1166461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574888)

China's next move will be to block access to google.com.hk for all Internet users in China ... so how does this help?

Re:China's next move (3, Insightful)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574942)

Think of it like a game of chess, where you spend a long time making opening moves, a careful dance of threats and counter-threats. Then, one player sees an opportunity, and move after move occurs, piece after piece taken in rapid succession.

Personally I believe we're just watching a dance that has long ago been choreographed to its conclusion.

Re:China's next move (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31574996)

Just like chess, one player (China) will eventually decide it's had enough and just flip the board over, declaring victory.

Re:China's next move (4, Funny)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575104)

Horsey to pointy guy six.

Hmm... Get him, boys!

Re:China's next move (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575354)

For the most part, I agree with you. And guess what? I know the conclusion also. It will be economic sanctions on China.

Re:China's next move (2, Insightful)

spyfrog (552673) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575620)

Economic sanctions against China? Are we talking about the country called "Peoples republic of China"?
A country that export tons off stuff towards USA and Europe? The country that owns billions in US treasury bonds?

No, there will be no economic sanctions.

Re:China's next move (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575812)

There will be, eventually. It's an empirical fact. The bonds are just bits of paper. They won't carry any value in the final stages of the dance. We'll just say "we owed you XX billion, your actions caused XX billion damage to our corporations, we're even." See?

Re:China's next move (2, Interesting)

Jenming (37265) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575712)

It might be. Local human rights violations, global economic shenagins, global environmental problems. Its possible that they could push the rest of the world too far. On the other hand a China that wasn't economically entangled with the rest of the world might become very dangerous.

Re:China's next move (4, Insightful)

nmosfet (770062) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574990)

This whole censorship thing is mainly a marketing ploy. Google is making a gamble that this will help them gain market share in China.

Don't get me wrong I'm in favor of what Google is doing and I hope this leads to the end of censorship in China. But from a business persepctive, Google is threatening to pull out because it's not making much headway in gaining marketshare, while Baidu consistently have 60% marketshare. They are earning only about 1.5% of their profit from China. This recent strategy to threaten to drop censorship not only differentiate Google's search engine product from others in China, but also generates alot of news over there and over here. As much I would like to believe that a company is putting ethics above profit, the reality is giving uncensored search access to China is the last of Google's concerns (esp. since they still offer censored search to numerous other countries). But since Google's goals and my hopes coincide, go Google!

Re:China's next move (3, Interesting)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575110)

Just because Google has an ulterior motive to provide uncensored access does not mean that it is not a concern. As you said, the move to oppose censorship differentiates their product and generates attention.

It's nice when what is right coincides with what is lucrative.

Re:China's next move (1)

nmosfet (770062) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575370)

I agree with you. I'm not saying that because Google had an ulterior motive that we shouldn't support it. I think Google's tactic here is brilliant. Would be nice if they had more leverage in this situation (but of course that would have meant they would be less likely to make this kind of risk).

Re:China's next move (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575670)

Yes, the Chinese government badly played their hand. Rather than simply being satisfied with Google's voluntary censoring, they tried to throw up obstacles to protect domestic competitors, and then had the gall to employ hackers to hack into Google to steal IP and harass dissidents.

It's a pity Western corporations and governments have been so tolerant of the Chinese government, apparently in the belief that the Chinese Communist Party would reciprocate. The CCP are hostile and dishonest towards foreigners not because it's in their interests, but because it's in their nature. With any luck, as the geriatric clowns brought up to beleive Maoism die off, the Chinese government may mature politically, and some day reach the level of development found in other Chinese societies like Taiwan, which weren't retarded by Maoist idiocy.

Re:China's next move (3, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575206)

It's not so much a moral high ground of not dealing with people you don't like. Google wants to play ball with China, but it intends to beat them on fair terms; China intends to cheat. Rather than leave and let all the other players deal with China's unsportsmanlike conduct, Google is sitting around figuring out how to stay in the game and beat China regardless of their behavior.

In other words, they're not doing anything unethical themselves; and they're strategizing their business maneuvers to both be profitable and attempt to follow an ethical basis. They have many choices, some blatantly evil and some where they throw their weight around to maximize their profits while either not hurting anyone or performing a humanitarian service; although these are business decisions, they can be made on more tasteful basis than squeezing the last few dollars out of an already profitable operation.

Re:China's next move (1)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575352)

Making an enemy of the government might somehow end up putting a dampener on your business, though. Risky advertising, innit?

Re:China's next move (1)

Jaqenn (996058) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575572)

Google isn't fighting China because they love us.

They want to make lots of money.

But I'll be a happier little pawn in Google's world, so I hope they win.

Re:China's next move (1)

Murmel84 (1033852) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575008)

Well, even if they block it, there's still proxies to get access for the people who know how to use them, as well as the very big community of chinese speakers in foreign countries who don't lose google in their native language.

I think this whole move is more about preserving the service for the chinese "language community", not the chinese country (even if the country makes up most of the language community).

i'm getting a premonition (2, Insightful)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 4 years ago | (#31574902)

Anytime google says, "china", it's going to be front page news on slashdot.

Re:i'm getting a premonition (1)

Nick Number (447026) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575002)

Yeah, it's going to disrupt things like a bovine male in some kind of retail establishment.

Re:i'm getting a premonition (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575068)

Like a fat ass at Walmart?

Re:i'm getting a premonition (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575296)

That's called jingoism. Usually, jingoism wears off after certain period of time - usually a week. But some flavors of jingoism - especially the ones arising from propaganda - will last untill the objectives of the propagandist are fulfilled.

Re:i'm getting a premonition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575320)

Next up: Google Dining Room Invests in Fine China

Streisand Effect (0)

Tokolosh (1256448) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575046)

What's Chinese for Streisand Effect?

You couldn't pay for such publicity.

google.com.tw (3, Funny)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575154)

If they wanted to piss off the PRC, they might have redirected to Google Taiwan instead. :P

Re:google.com.tw (1)

sl149q (1537343) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575368)

That would be the underlying threat. They are moving to HK so that everyone can save face.... but if there are further issues then they can move to Taiwan. And that would be very embarrassing to the Chinese government.

Re:google.com.tw (1)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575530)

That would be tantamount, in the CCP's eyes, to a declaration of war. Then you would REALLY see their true colours.

Re:google.com.tw (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575846)

I think they want to confront China with the fact that part of the country has utterly distinct laws between the two countries not start an international armed conflict.

Market Share (5, Interesting)

zero0ne (1309517) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575166)

So, what % of the search market will Google now own after this change?

I would imagine a LOT of people would start using Google if they found out it was uncensored.

It will be interesting to watch how their market share changes from this.

Re:Market Share (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575380)

I would imagine a LOT of people would start using Google if they found out it was uncensored.

Definitely, but if you were on a Chinese ISP, wouldn't you be a little bit afraid to browse any of the search results?

Re:Market Share (4, Insightful)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575388)

I bet not.

A small minority of people that want to find uncensored material (porn, politics, history, in that order) will use Google.

People who want to find the usual search engine stuff will use whatever is most popular and/or gives them the results they find most useful. Which may very well be Baidu, Yahoo, Bing or Google.

The point? (1)

happysand (1773260) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575284)

How do the Chinese people feel about what is going on? I understand that their government has X stance and is sticking with it, but Google seems hell bent on getting around this because ..... why? Do they just want to piss off the Chinese government or are they just trying to make a name for themselves in China? It seems like they are trying to subvert the government for their own well being without thinking of the consequences it could have on the culture of the country.

Re:The point? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575330)

they so horny, they ruv you rong time, too beaucoup, too beaucoup

Re:The point? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575374)

Possibilities:
  1. They want to liberate the Chinese people, and will do everything in their power to bring censorship-free search results to them
  2. Their investors would be too angry if they completely ditched China
  3. They just wanted a good laugh

Which seems most likely?

Re:The point? (1)

happysand (1773260) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575600)

1) That isn't there job
2) They should continue doing their job
3) Now they're doing their job.

2nd round of attacks likely? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31575290)

Should we all back up your e-mail and documents on Google's services in case the Aurora attacks were by non-goverment-sponsored Chinese nationalists? (I am assuming that the government would not be so stupid as to try to do something potentially incriminating for the second time in a row).

Unintended consequences? (3, Interesting)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575384)

My limited understanding of Hong Kong vis a vi China is that the Chinese allow a certain amount of economic freedom to Hong Kong in order to reap the benefits. Although Hong Kong might enjoy more freedom than the rest of China, there is no doubt that the Chinese do in fact own Hong Kong and Hong Kong is in fact part of China. I wonder if there will be any backlash against Hong Kong as a whole because of what Google is doing.

In a nutshell it seems like they're saying, "Nahy nahy, we're in Hong Kong now. You can't touch us." That seems rather short sighted to me. On the other hand, they have a fairly defensible position. Would the Chinese risk looking like even more severe tyrants by disrupting the dynamics that govern companies in Hong Kong?

dynamite (0, Offtopic)

Mekkah (1651935) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575394)

And BOOM goes the DYNAMITE!

How difficult (1)

Exception Duck (1524809) | more than 4 years ago | (#31575870)

how difficult is it to gain unrestricted internet access in china ? do you have to be a computer hacker or can anyone download some sort of onion thingy and just browse ?

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