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Chinese citizens laid flowers on the Google logo at the company's headquarters in support of the company's decision to stand up to the Chinese government's censorship  (Source: Vincent Thian/Associated Press)

In response to Google's decision to uncensor its search, the Chinese government is accusing Google of espionage and attempting to kick Google's Android OS out of China's phone market.  (Source:
Google President Brin urges President Obama respond to Chinese action and statements

According to the Chinese government, the U.S. is committing a campaign of cyberwarfare against it (its claims echo those voiced by top U.S. armed forces officials, who conversely claim China is carrying out a cyberwarfare effort against the U.S.).  

People’s Daily, the main newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, on Wednesday unleashed serious accusations against Google. In a front-page piece it claims that Google, the second largest search engine in China, and one of the largest companies in the U.S., is colluding with U.S. espionage efforts.

Writes the paper:

For Chinese people, Google is not god, and even if it puts on a full-on show about politics and values, it is still not god.  In fact, Google is not a virgin when it comes to values. Its cooperation and collusion with the U.S. intelligence and security agencies is well-known...All this makes one wonder. Thinking about the United States’ big efforts in recent years to engage in Internet war, perhaps this could be an exploratory pre-dawn battle.

The editorial follows Google's Monday decision to stand up to the Chinese government.  Fed up with cybercrime in China and the country's policy of censoring internet access to a variety of materials, Google defied Chinese regulators by uncensoring its search results in China.  It redirected Chinese visitors from to its uncensored Hong Kong search site.  The Hong Kong site uses the same simplified Chinese characters that the mainland uses and thus is readable to those in mainland China.

As of Tuesday the site was still not blocked, but most observers believe that the Chinese government will move to block or  Some are astounded at the move by Google.  Former U.S. ambassador to China J. Stapleton Roy, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, states, "I don’t understand their calculation.  I do not see how Google could have concluded that they could have faced down the Chinese on a domestic censorship issue."

Google could pay deeply for the move.  China is home to over 155 million smart phone users and that number is growing rapidly.  Contrary to its previous statements, the Chinese government is now moving to ban Google's Android handsets from China.  It is reportedly pressuring telecoms like China Unicom to delay or scrap smart phone offerings that use Google's Android OS.  This could prove a boon to Research in Motion and Apple, the latter of which has seen poor sales of its iPhone in China.

The Chinese government is also pushing telecoms to terminate their search deals with Google, which could boost Microsoft.  Google is expected to lose its 31.3 percent search stake in China's internet market of over 350 million users -- more users than the entire population of the U.S.

The accusations of espionage could also result in charges against Google's 600 China employees.  Google is fearful of this and was careful to say that none of its Chinese employees were involved in the decision to uncensor the search.  Chinese courts might not accept that claim, though.

Google co-founder and president Sergey Brin knows a little about what its like to grow up in an oppressive communist regime.  Brin was born in 1973 in Soviet Russia, but later attended college at Stanford University -- where he met fellow Google co-founder Larry Page.

Brin says that the Obama administration should take action against China rather than avoid the issue.  He stated in an interview with the UK newspaper 
Guardian, "I certainly hope they make it a high priority.  Human rights issues deserve equal time to the trade issues that are high priority now … I hope this gets taken seriously.  Since services and information are our most successful exports, if regulations in China effectively prevent us from being competitive, then they are a trade barrier.

And Brin had some stinging criticism of U.S. rival Microsoft, who has vowed to continue censoring its Chinese search, in cooperation with the government of China.  Says Brin, "I'm very disappointed for them in particular. As I understand, they have effectively no market share – so they essentially spoke against freedom of speech and human rights simply in order to contradict Google."

In China many people are celebrating Google's decision to stand up against censorship.  The logo in front of Google's headquarters was covered in flowers left by supporters.    That support, though, may only serve to further anger Chinese regulators.

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Good on you, Google
By piroroadkill on 3/24/2010 9:31:42 AM , Rating: 5
It's the only way to play their game, don't play it at all

RE: Good on you, Google
By Whedonic on 3/24/2010 10:15:14 AM , Rating: 5
Say what you will, but I didn't think Google would have the guts to uncensor their Chinese search engine. That took serious balls, way to go Google!

RE: Good on you, Google
By MrBlastman on 3/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: Good on you, Google
By Schrag4 on 3/24/2010 12:06:40 PM , Rating: 5
You're right, they can't "hurt" Google, but they could turn those 600 China employees into organ donors, and I don't think anyone outside of the Chinese goverment wants that to happen.

The accusations of espionage could also result in charges against Google's 600 China employees.

RE: Good on you, Google
By MrBlastman on 3/24/2010 1:09:11 PM , Rating: 3
Well that is a good point... what else do you think they put in our pet food?

RE: Good on you, Google
By SlyNine on 3/24/2010 12:33:33 PM , Rating: 5
Seriously, obviously the threat was loss in business over there. You tell me how this could actually help Google. Other then improve their image, which it should because this was a bold Fing move.

RE: Good on you, Google
By Divide Overflow on 3/24/2010 10:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
You answered your own question quite nicely.

RE: Good on you, Google
By Nik00117 on 3/28/2010 1:02:02 PM , Rating: 1
He did google is smart doing this, this is how it went down

China: Censor your search
Google: No
China: Do it or we kick you out!
Google: Fuck you, we already left.

RE: Good on you, Google
By chick0n on 3/24/10, Rating: -1
RE: Good on you, Google
By ekv on 3/24/2010 2:22:23 PM , Rating: 5
Good point.

Let me put this ever-so-delicately, this kind of behaviour from China is what the American people need to realize is going to get worse. It didn't used to be this way, Americans relying on the Chinese to buy our essentially useless bonds. Sad.

It doesn't need to be this way, but it'd require Washington DC to exercise fiscal sanity. Which is admittedly asking-for-the-moon (as it were). We Americans are all guilty. Repub's, Dem's and Indep's. We need to recognize the problem and restore fiscal sanity. Just like the 12 steps of AA [and replace "alcohol" with "deficit spending"].

RE: Good on you, Google
By TSS on 3/24/2010 9:34:57 PM , Rating: 2
AA programs? Right, that'll end well.

"Dad! What the hell are you doing?!"
"Hello, Stan."
"Dad, it's the middle of the day! I thought you weren't going to spend as much anymore!"
"No, Stan, you don't understand. I have a disease. Daddy's very sick."
"What?? Did you go to your AA meeting?!"
"Yes, they're the ones that told me. I thought I could just quit spending on my own, but... it's an illness, son. I have to admit that I'm powerless to this terrible disease."
"Dad, you've had enough! Just stop now! "
"I can't! I'm sick! "
"Aw Goddamnit!"
"Stan I... need your help. "
"Dad, what are you doing in Grandpa's extra wheelchair?!"
"Gotta try to take it easy from now on, son. Get Daddy another credit card, will ya?"
"No! You don't need another credit card!"
"I know that! But this disease is just eating me up! I hate my illness!"
"Dad, you just need to not spend so much. It's very simple."
"I wish it was that simple, son. But if I don't give myself up to a higher power, this disease is going to kill me dead. I'm afraid the only thing that will cure me... is a miracle."

RE: Good on you, Google
By ekv on 3/25/2010 2:23:03 AM , Rating: 2
I'm glad Google took a stand here. [It looks like some other companies may follow.] Investors are upset at near-term prospects, but in the long run Google has shown few chinks in their armor.

It'd be nice if we had statesmen in Washington DC who had the vision and moral courage to exercise their fiduciary responsibility to us, the citizens. [Please, no stupid accounting tricks]. But, like I said, that "is admittedly asking-for-the-moon".

Looks like you have some history with AA. Perhaps you're angry, at what, God? Whatever your beef with AA is -- and I can't make sense of it -- AA does appear to be beneficial. I have a couple friends that continue to attend. 20+ years for one of 'em.

RE: Good on you, Google
By zmatt on 3/25/2010 11:43:29 AM , Rating: 2
He is making a South Park reference.

RE: Good on you, Google
By chick0n on 3/26/2010 3:03:07 AM , Rating: 3
Google didn't stand jack $hit.

Google is just acting like what most American does best --- trash talk + blame the others while taking advantage of the said party.

If they're so full of themselves, why don't they gtfo of China completely ? Oh yeah, Cuz they're making billions every year out of China. Communist is evil right? why are you doing business there then ?

Go kiss my a$$ Google.

RE: Good on you, Google
By ekv on 3/26/2010 4:26:52 AM , Rating: 1
Oh please. What are you crying about? Your post readers like a mindless danish rant.

You only say Google didn't stand because you don't stand for anything.

RE: Good on you, Google
By superkdogg on 3/24/2010 12:47:41 PM , Rating: 5
Well, they actually can 'hurt' Google, and the article says exactly how but it really isn't a big wound. More of a skinned knee.

If Android phones and future Chrome OS are banned from China, it will have some effect on Google's bottom line. Likewise the market share that Google has in China would go to zero pretty much immediately and that revenue would dry up.

Personally, I find it interesting how powerful Google is in this situation. This is a company that helps you look around the internet, that is basically a player in international diplomacy to some degree. And they took a stand for justice and freedom-I have to admire it, even if it isn't truly business savvy-or maybe it will turn out to be because Google tends not to make many errors in business.

RE: Good on you, Google
By digitalreflex on 3/25/2010 7:37:30 AM , Rating: 2
It is nice to see a company risk a major market and it's huge potential customer base for what they think is the right thing.

RE: Good on you, Google
By superPC on 3/24/2010 11:41:20 AM , Rating: 4
wow china saying someone else is doing cyberwarfare is like a thief screaming thief. this reminds me of that age old story: the "boy who cry wolf"...

RE: Good on you, Google
By zmatt on 3/25/2010 11:44:30 AM , Rating: 3
More like the thief suing you for getting hurt while trying to break into your house.

RE: Good on you, Google
By stimudent on 3/24/2010 2:11:02 PM , Rating: 4
The guy laying flowers on the Google sign probably has been executed by now.

RE: Good on you, Google
By JonnyDough on 3/26/2010 1:36:17 AM , Rating: 2
That could be literally anyone. With billions of Chinese people who share a lot of likeness to one could they even tell who it is?

RE: Good on you, Google
By thesafetyisoff on 3/25/2010 1:14:10 PM , Rating: 3
I don't know which is more threatening, a state which seeks to control the information flow, or a multinational corporation which seeks to collect personal information.

I think it will be easier to get around China's attempts to smother dissent than it will for people to protect their privacy against Google. Sure, China can crash some servers over here, and that's an inconvenience. But imagine what Google could do to you: Google is insinuated in every aspect of your life. Google knows your credit card numbers, your passwords, what you search for, what you watch on YouTube. They know what you look like and who your friends are, since your friends are using the facial recognition feature of Google Picasa. They can track your location via your Android phone. Few of us are on China's grid - but nearly all of us are on Google's.

In fact, Google already IS Big Brother and most of us just don't know it, happily providing more and more personal information to Big G every time we do something on the Net.

Applaud Big G for standing up to China? More like fear Big G because it actually can stand up to China, something that nuclear superpowers are hesitant to do.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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