Media newlight on 13 Jan 2010
On Twitter many people dismissed Global Times’s survey that 70% of its visitors support Chinese government against Google, who had just abandoned the self-imposed censorship on Google.cn and threated to close its business in China altogether.
The sad truth is that those who have made the effort of climbing over the GFW in order to access Twitter and like are belong to the 30%. In the same survey, over half the participants said their online activity won’t be affected by Google’s leave. This figure looks to increase if nothing happens.
Shanghaiist’s has a good summary of the Google v. China standoff. On the Guardian website, Tania Branigan has canvassed the opinions of some bloggers and media insiders. Whether Google decided to end its self-censorship purely out of moral reasons I’m not sure. I agree with some of Evgeny Morozov’s analysis. I guess it’s more likely they are fed up with the restraint and criticism while not seeing much gains in Chinese market.
Anyway, what Google has done is to blow it into the open, burn the bridge, making the stakes incredibly high. Now Google.cn is not censored, will the servers be forced to shut down, or moved out of China? And then what? Will Chinese government have to block Google.com as well?
Among the multinationals in China, Google is the one who has the power, influence and resources to make a clear stand on censorship. And now it has the will too. For that it should be praised.