Saturday 30 May 2020 | 06:46 | SYDNEY
Saturday 30 May 2020 | 06:46 | SYDNEY

Google rips into China


Sam Roggeveen


13 January 2010 10:33


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, 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, and potentially our offices in China.

That's from a blog post by Google's chief legal officer, dated yesterday*. The post doesn't make it clear who was responsible for the surveillance of the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, but this NY Times report carries a strong implication of Chinese Government involvement.

This strikes me as huge news and a substantial blow to China's international reputation. I'm yet to see any reaction from the English-language bits of the Chinese blogosphere (including sites like this, this and this, which translate what China's netizens are talking about). Perhaps the news hasn't filtered through yet. I'll keep you posted.

*Of course, it's still the 12th in the US, and it looks from other evidence as if this story only broke about an hour ago.