Google Censors Its Chinese Service

Google has decided to open up a censored Chinese search service:

Google, famous for its “Don’t Be Evil” philosophy, is seeking to soften potential criticism by promising to inform Chinese users when search results are censored, something other China-based search services do not do. The decision to exclude results on sensitive topics such as democratic reform, Taiwanese independence or the banned Falun Gong movement has clearly been particularly difficult for a company dedicated to making information “universally accessible”.

“While removing search results is inconsistent with Google’s mission, providing no information [or a heavily degraded user experience that amounts to no information] is more inconsistent with our mission,” a senior Google executive said.

Um, hold the phone. Not that Google censorship is new, but if your attitude is ‘some information is better than no information,’ you can pretty much justify any Orwellian nightmare scenario the murky, omnipresent Man dreams up. There’s never going to be a scenario where all information is censored—merely a scenario where the only information that goes uncensored is government propaganda; where free speech is a luxury you can afford only in the gulag; where corrupt bureaucratic mobsters rape, kill, torture and destroy the silenced people whom they ostensibly serve. In other words, the exact same scenario that communism has been so very excellent at setting up for its citizens over the last century without Google’s help.

We don’t care how Google spins it. This is as evil as it gets. The world is getting smaller and smaller, largely thanks to the Internet. This is exactly the moment when Google should be encouraging the Chinese to take advantage of the open, dynamic exchange of ideas that the Internet can so wonderfully provide, not capitulating to an oppressive government just so they can make a buck. Of course, MSN and Yahoo have also done it—we here at the Consumerist just hoped Google might be the company to finally show some fucking chutzpah.

Comments

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  1. Danilo says:

    But, but… why avoid evil when it will net you a billion customers?

    Nothing like being a public company, huh?

  2. Paul D says:

    Danilo nails it.

  3. mrscolex says:

    Google already notifies about links that it has removed due to DMCA threatening. Even has a link to chillingeffects.org website, genius ;)

  4. airship says:

    Let’s see… crippled Google, or no Google at all? These were the two choices. There was no choice of ‘take all of Google’. That just was NOT going to happen. This way, they’re in the door. And once you get access to SOME information, you want more. I really think Google did the right thing, here. I don’t like it, and I’m sure they don’t either, but we’re not talking about imposing STRICTER censorship on China here, folks. We’re talking about OPENING China to vastly LESS restrictive access to information than they already have. It’s a step in the right direction.

  5. Hawkins says:

    Well… Yes, it’s evil. But adding a note saying that your government has prevented you from seeing what you asked for does mitigate the evilness to a certain degree.

    Perhaps it’ll even do some good. I expect to be shut down when I search for Tiananmen Square, but what if I get the “results censored” message when I search for, say, “kung.pao rat.feces People’s.Cafeteria.#42″?

    I don’t dispute that Google’s capitulation to the commie bastards is nauseating. But I submit that a constant reminder, every time you search, that you’re being dicked again by your government is better than nothing.

  6. Kishi says:

    Kind of an interesting contrast that this comes swift on the heels of Google’s defiance to the American government.