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Censorship Google Your Rights Online

China Hits Back At Google 432

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the mutually-assured-press-releases dept.
sopssa writes "After Google yesterday started redirecting google.cn users to their uncensored Hong Kong-based google.com.hk servers, the Chinese government has now hit back at Google by restricting access to Google's Hong Kong servers. 'On Tuesday mainland China users could not see uncensored Hong Kong-based content after the government either disabled certain searches or blocked links to results.' China Mobile, the largest wireless carrier in the country, has also been approached by the Chinese government to cancel a contract with Google about having google.cn on their mobile home page for search. China Unicom, the second largest carrier in China, has also either postponed or killed the launch of Android-based mobile phones in the country."
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China Hits Back At Google

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  • OMG (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @04:58PM (#31589888)

    WHY are there NO comments for this yet?!??!

    • Re:OMG (Score:5, Insightful)

      by _merlin (160982) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:01PM (#31589938) Homepage Journal

      OK, here are your standard template responses:

      • OMFG China is evil for censoring your internet!
      • Google should GTFO China if they don't want to follow the law!
      • China needs Google more than Google needs China.
      • The Chinese government is doing more harm than good with this isolationist policy.
      • Re:OMG (Score:4, Funny)

        by toastar (573882) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:09PM (#31590044)

        Thanks for doing the work for me!

        OMFG China is evil for censoring your internet!

      • * Google is somehow a greedy capitalist bastard for doing all this. I have no idea why or how, but they're a big company so this whole thing must be part of some diabolically clever evil plan.

  • Ping Pong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @04:59PM (#31589906)
    Google, it's your turn ...

    This will end when Google is completely blocked (or 'filtered') by China. I really don't see any other outcome. China will never budge on these issues (at least not in my lifetime) and Google has already burned some of its bridges to China.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This should have been the way its done all along!

      If the Chinese government wants to filter the internet, the onus should be on the Government, not the corporations. They've already built their great firewall - why is that not working fine enough?

      Seriously, Google has to alter the way it serves up web pages? Thats like re-programming the entire application! Why not have China Filter everything that goes out and comes in, and if its not to their liking - its their own problem? And if Google doesn't like it -

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by MakinBacon (1476701)

        They've already built their great firewall - why is that not working fine enough?

        Apparently the Great Firewall of China is as effective at keeping out Google as the Great Wall of China is at keeping out Mongolians.

        ZING!

      • Re:Ping Pong (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:40PM (#31590496) Journal
        As any Slashdot Libertarian will tell you, corporations are more efficient than governments(and this is often true, though neither so often nor so dramatically as the Slashdot Libertarians would have it).

        And that, in short, is why clever governments tend to try to shift much of the implementation work on to the corporations. China may be ostensibly communist; but they aren't morons, and they follow this pattern. To a nontrivial extent, the greatest triumph of the "Great Firewall" is not the ability to block content(at which it is rather mediocre); but the ability to block particular companies. User studies consistently show that even minor inconveniences(delays of a few seconds, little site usability glitches, and the like) deter consumers on the web. Being put on the "Great Firewall"'s hit list would definitely qualify as an inconvenience to any web-based business. Nice site you have there, wouldn't want anything to umm, come between, you and your customers...

        That's the real trick. If you have leverage over the companies, they will be oh so careful to toe the line(and if the line isn't clear, they'll just toe extra carefully). The "Great Firewall" gives leverage over web-based companies. Wireless telcomms are, presumably, beholden for spectrum and tower siting permissions, and they know it(presumably, there are fat state and military comms contracts, as well).

        If you try to emulate the East German model of "Hey, let's have something like half the population working, at least informally, for state intelligence" you'll spend so much of your GDP on guns that your people will run out of butter and turn the guns on you. That just doesn't work all that well, medium to long term. However, if you create a system where there is real money to be made, just by following a few little political rules, suddenly the profit-seekers will go from being your enemies to being your hatchetmen. Any successful police state will work in this fashion(or be literally starving and falling apart, I'm looking at your DPRK..)
        • Re:Ping Pong (Score:5, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @06:37PM (#31591358) Journal

          As any Slashdot Libertarian will tell you, corporations are more efficient than governments(and this is often true, though neither so often nor so dramatically as the Slashdot Libertarians would have it).

          It's true pretty much all of the time. The problem that the libertarians miss is that the interests of the corporation align with those of the population very rarely. Somehow, it's not particularly reassuring when you are being exploited to know that the exploitation is happening very efficiently. Someone working inefficiently on your behalf is usually better than someone working efficiently against you.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Corbets (169101)

            The problem that the libertarians miss is that the interests of the corporation align with those of the population very rarely. Somehow, it's not particularly reassuring when you are being exploited to know that the exploitation is happening very efficiently.

            Err, that's different from government how? Most of what my elected politicians due is not to my benefit; they pander to the masses in order to get reelected and maintain their positions of power. Whether that happens to mean signing into law a construction project that no one except the workers needs, or just plain lying about something, it really doesn't align with my interests.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mjwx (966435)

            It's true pretty much all of the time.

            No, I'd barely even say it's true half the time.

            The thing libertarians and just about everyone else misses is, as long as a corporation is making money a great deal of inefficiency goes unnoticed. No one cares as the bottom line looks good. Seeing as Government services are about the "service" not the "bottom line" they always get noticed for any inefficiency. Corporate efficiency is only looked at when a corporation is losing money (including share price). Take th

  • by courteaudotbiz (1191083) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:00PM (#31589914) Homepage
    This war could be really hard. But in the end, it's the Chinese people who lose, not Google nor the Chinese "government".
    • by confused one (671304) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:01PM (#31589940)
      If I were a Google exec in China, I'd be worried about being formally charged with violating local (Chinese) laws.
    • by Toze (1668155) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:09PM (#31590050)

      I remember when reading cyberpunk novels felt like escapism.

      :T

    • Agreed that the Chinese people lose. But.... So does the Chinese government and so does Google. Google is throwing away MANY MANY millions of dollars maybe billions to do what they think is right. And China is getting a fuck ton of bad press, and their science industry is hurt by this, hurting the people does hurt the goverment.
    • by troll -1 (956834) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:52PM (#31590680)

      This war could be really hard. But in the end, it's the Chinese people who lose, not Google nor the Chinese "government".

      In historical context the Chinese people are currently relative winners.

      China has a long history of extremely violent and bloody revolutions. The relative political stability of the past 60 years is pretty much unprecedented. If the past is any indication, the transformation to complete freedom in China is not likely to go as peacefully as it did with the Soviet Union.

      Sudden change in China usually results in the deaths of millions. They have little history of peaceful change. The government has an obligation to tread cautiously.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        It didn't go peacefully in the USSR, either. For one thing, you might have noticed that there's no such country, anymore. And then there were:

        Sumgait massacre [wikipedia.org]
        War in Nagorno-Karabakh [wikipedia.org]
        War in South Ossetia [wikipedia.org]
        War in Abkhazia [wikipedia.org]
        War in Transnistria [wikipedia.org]
        Civil war in Tajikistan [wikipedia.org]
        and many more.

        War in Chechnya is also, to large extent, a legacy of the Soviet collapse.

      • by tokenshi (1633557) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @10:37PM (#31593542) Homepage

        Wong wong wong... I mean wrong.

        China had a republic for a few years after the end of the Qing dynasty (1912-1949 to be exact.) Had they stayed with it, this conversation probably would not even be happening right now.

        The revolution was violent sure... But far less people died overthrowing the Qing than have been killed by the Communist Government in even the last 20 years (Uygurs, Tibetans, Zhuang, Falun Gong, etc. have all been victimized by the government in all manner of ways including straight up murder.)

        China's current political stability is a ruse, nothing more, you go into southern China (Guangxi, Yunnan) and it's basically the wild west right now.

        I lived in Yangshuo (Guangxi) for almost three years, and Beijing for one year, and lost count of how many times I saw government personal of one for or the other behaving like heshehui (mafia.) I can elaborate more if people care, the point is, the China's government is hurting its people.

        Google isn't exactly doing right by them, but at least they're taking a moral stand.

      • by macshit (157376) <miles.gnu@org> on Wednesday March 24, 2010 @02:16AM (#31594732) Homepage

        China has a long history of extremely violent and bloody revolutions. The relative political stability of the past 60 years is pretty much unprecedented. If the past is any indication, the transformation to complete freedom in China is not likely to go as peacefully as it did with the Soviet Union. Sudden change in China usually results in the deaths of millions. They have little history of peaceful change. The government has an obligation to tread cautiously.

        Though oddly enough, the "relative political stability of the past 60 years" in China has also resulted in the deaths of millions....

        The PRC government may trot out "stability" as a justification for their authoritarian policies, but if push comes to shove, there's little doubt they're quite willing to sacrifice large numbers of their populace to stay in power.

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:01PM (#31589924)
    I'm not sure how in the hell capitalists here in the U.S. decided we could do fair business with a totalitarian communist nation. They don't value workers rights, free speech, or even a fair marketplace.
    • by courteaudotbiz (1191083) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:03PM (#31589960) Homepage
      But hey, when the labor is cheap and can do almost the same as our expensive labor, who cares?!? North American citizens? Mmmmmmmm wait a minute.... nope, the WalMart parking lot is still full....
      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:12PM (#31590092) Journal

        But hey, when the labor is cheap and can do almost the same as our expensive labor, who cares?!? North American citizens? Mmmmmmmm wait a minute.... nope, the WalMart parking lot is still full....

        You forgot about the icing on the cake: they don't care about their environment! Since their officials are all corrupt, it's just a matter of greasing some of the bureaucratic wheels and those heavy metals in the drinking water aren't a problem! Not only are we exporting unskilled labor, we're exporting our pollution!

        *cough*

        What's that you say? Their people are suffering? China uses the same planet we do? We'll eventually suffer from each other's pollution? I liked it better when my point of view was limited to my immediate surrounding area where I can find a coffee maker for $12 at Walmart.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Beelzebud (1361137)
        It wouldn't be the first time middle class citizens did something against their own best interests.
      • by jeko (179919) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @06:32PM (#31591290)

        Ever since I watched Tiananmen in horror, I have tried to boycott China. That boycott has failed miserably.

        I just fixed my brakes last Saturday. I literally tried every auto parts store in town. I could not find rotors not manufactured in China, not in my town on a day's notice. I have no doubt I could have gotten some mail-order, but not in time to get to work on Monday and still keep my job.

        I bought a camping knife as a present from Buck Knives, a "Made in the USA" company last year. Despite the advertising claims, the knife came stamped "Made in China."

        I bought a set of Carhartt work clothes last year, another "Proudly made in America" company. They arrived with manufacturing defects. Did some checking, sure enough, Carhartt is moving it's manufacturing to China.

        I got so fed up when a 14mm wrench snapped in my hand last year I was ready to cough up for Snap-On tools. Guess where Snap-On is moving their manufacturing?

        Even the "proud-to-be-an-American-we-support-the-troops" redneck favorite companies Spyderco pocketknives and Surefire flashlights are moving to China.

        Neal Stephenson was prophetic. The only thing we know how to make in this country any more are pizzas and movies.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I bought a camping knife as a present from Buck Knives, a "Made in the USA" company last year. Despite the advertising claims, the knife came stamped "Made in China."

          They meant that the box it came in was made in the USA...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by hey! (33014)

      Pull out?

      No need, China baby. You see, you can't get in trouble the first you do it; the seed of democracy won't be planted the first time. After the first time, we'll have to pull out. That is unless we do it standing up.

    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:10PM (#31590056)

      I'm not sure how in the hell capitalists here in the U.S. decided we could do fair business with a totalitarian communist nation. They don't value workers rights, free speech, or even a fair marketplace.

      Capitalists, as a class, aren't particularly known for being supporters of workers rights, free speech, or a fair marketplace. In fact, they are the class against whom advocates of workers rights are usually struggling, the class that seeks to suppress negative comments on their products through the legal system, and a class that seeks to lobby government to protect their own interests by creating barriers to entry to the markets in which they have established themselves.

      I'm not saying those things are true of Google's owners, in particular, but certainly the idea that capitalists wouldn't deal with people for the reasons you describe is, well, hard to reconcile with most of the history of capitalists.

      • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:18PM (#31590190)
        Yeah that's a very good point. Capitalists were also against workers' right to unionize, free speech, and a fair marketplace.

        I should have phrased it as "How can a free nation decide to do business with a totalitarian country.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by gangien (151940)

        not directly. But thanks to the fact that in a free market, a worker can choose to work where he or she wants, guess what happens? the employers have to care about their employees, or else they'll leave. Good lord, look at all the people on slashdot, benefiting from technology, one of the places where capitalism has been allowed to thrive. What do we bitch about? meetings, coffee not being warm? booo fucking hoo.

        Or let's look at hong kong. a place where government did very little. in 50 years, less t

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kindbud (90044)

      They don't value workers rights, free speech, or even a fair marketplace.

      Yeah, but which one are you talking about, the communists or the capitalists?

    • by panda (10044) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:22PM (#31590260) Homepage Journal

      I'm not sure how in the hell capitalists here in the U.S. decided we could do fair business with a totalitarian communist nation.

      They don't value workers rights, free speech, or even a fair marketplace.

      And neither do the capitalists here in the States.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MattskEE (925706)

      I'm not sure how in the hell capitalists here in the U.S. decided we could do fair business with a totalitarian communist nation.

      Who cares about fair? As long as US businesses can do profitable business with a totalitarian communist nation then they will.

    • by khallow (566160) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:35PM (#31590412)

      They don't value workers rights, free speech, or even a fair marketplace.

      Nah, the real problem is that the Chinese government keeps changing the rules. Every business there is doing something illegal, due to the complexity and arbitrariness of the Chinese regulatory environment. That means any time the government wants to, it can squeeze them or drive them out of China. On top of that, some government agency can just make up rules on the spot and crush a business on that basis alone. And you can't count on the bureaucrats to stay bought. Well, maybe local Chinese businesses can, but not the foreign ones that are getting shafted here.

      Business thrives in a world where the rules are constant. Either government is fair and consistent or when it's bought, it stays bought. Uncertainty like this kills the ability of business to predict what it should do in the future. Even if you don't get mugged by the Chinese government, you still need to take them into account.

      • by williamhb (758070) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @07:39PM (#31592058) Journal

        China has worked out how to be protectionist without being provably protectionist to the WTO. So, rather than offer an (illegal) export subsidy to it's manufacturers, it lowers its currency by regulation to give the same mathematical effect without allowing retaliation from other WTO countries. Rather than applying illegal tax or tariff penalties on foreign corporation, it uses clandestine hacking attempts, trumped up charges tried in closed courts (eg, Rio Tinto), and creates an environment where anybody could be arrested at any time at the government's whim, to make life uncomfortable for foreign corporations on its shores, while cosseting its own companies that have close ties to the government.

        And, sadly, Obama, Brown, and other western leaders just play along, making comments like "we mustn't go down the seductive but damaging path of protectionism", not realising that their largest trading partner has already run gleefully down the path of protectionism and the west has just been too blind to notice.

  • The Chinese citizen employees at Google.cn. My thoughts are with them if they are experiencing anything negative other than unemployment from their parent company's decision to thumb their nose at the Chinese government.

    Let's hope that working for Google.cn doesn't leave them with a social stigma or government imposed sanction or -- far worse -- bodily harm to them and their families. Hopefully their red society didn't give them a scarlet letter.

    That said, the Chinese people have little to loo
  • They obviously know what's best for their people, and you're just interfering. (sarcasm) Just let it go, pull completely out of the market, and call it a day. Besides, the longer this lingers on, the more Chinese black hats are gonna slam your servers.

    Just "concede" defeat (and Chinese ass-hattery) and call it a day.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Toze (1668155)

      LEAVE CHINA ALONE!

      How fucking dare anyone out there make fun of China after all it has been through!

      It lost its great leader, it went through civil war. It had two fuckin splitters.

      Tibet turned out to be an independent nation, a source of international conflict, and now China's going through a custody battle. All you people care about is.. readers and making money off of it.

      China is a COUNTRY. What you don’t realize is that China is making you all this money and all you do is write a bunch of crap abo

  • Well, (Score:5, Funny)

    by JNSL (1472357) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:03PM (#31589958)
    China hits like a girl.
  • Everyone expected China to do this. It also means that they are saying that the Chinese in HK are different from the rest of China. I wonder if that will affect anything. Not to be cynical, but I am sure the propaganda machine will go on overdrive to put a spin on it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by phantomfive (622387)
      And here is the propaganda [xinhuanet.com]. It basically says Google should abide by the customs of whatever country they operate in. It completely ignores the Hong Kong issue. An earlier editorial claimed that Google had broken their written agreement. They seem a bit annoyed that they couldn't accuse Google of breaking the law.

      My favorite quote from the article, from Premier Wen Jiabao:

      "The Chinese government will create opportunities for you, and ask you not to lose the opportunities," Wen said.

      A mob boss couldn't have said it better.

  • Next move (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:07PM (#31590016)

    The next obvious move for Google is to launch their own satellites and provide free satellite internet access for everyone in the world.

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      Uh no. Iridium has proven that is not an economically feasible alternative. HughesNet has demonstrated the ping times are not suitable for gaming. Google isn't that stupid.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Idiomatick (976696)
        The goal would be giving access to information for the Chinese people. NOT gaming... I know this is /. but even so priorities!
    • Whoops! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by copponex (13876)

      You made the assumption that the US government would allow such a move. We have several client states that would revolt if we provided democratizing influences like free access to information. These states include: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Turkey...

      The US Government would now allow such a move against China either, since they are our most lucrative trading partner, and damn close to becoming more than that. Money matters to us a hell of a lot more than freedom.

  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:16PM (#31590144) Homepage

    I think Google and everyone else knew this was a losing battle. The point however was to call the CCP out in the open and force them to bleed a little. The blood is fresh, but will anyone from the inside the party attempt reform? I find it hard to believe there is no descension among the party. Question is, how many and do they have the courage and fortitude to see this through?

    • by cpghost (719344)
      They learned the lesson from the Soviet communists: as soon as they start political reforms (they were the first to start economic reforms, so they're not totally averse to reforms per se), they won't be able to keep their firm grip on their population. So they agree to keep going, hoping they'll remain in power for as long as possible.
    • The problem with governmental systems like China's is that there isn't just one player. While Western democratic systems tend to have a clear line of authority, inevitably civilian in nature (except in Constitutional Monarchies, where the executive is essentially above the political fray), in China you have a queer duck that is part civilian or semi-civilian Party (Communist Party) and partially military (the PRC). This is not much different than how the Soviet system worked, though the Chinese Ministry o

  • I am surprised that it took this long for China to block the latest trick by Google. Who didn't see this coming the moment it was mentioned in the press?

    Of course this is or would become a cat and mouse game. China blocks, Google counters, China counters Google's counter.

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Tuesday March 23, 2010 @05:22PM (#31590258)
    If you really want to hurt Google, don't completely block access... just filter out all their ads.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cpghost (719344)
      Why not? So Google will finally require https as opposed to http for their search engine front, just like they do with Gmail. A couple less eavesdroppers in the middle can't be too bad.
  • Let the great pissing contest of 2010 begin...

I am here by the will of the people and I won't leave until I get my raincoat back. - a slogan of the anarchists in Richard Kadrey's "Metrophage"

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