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Google Threatens to Withdraw From China

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 82 comments

Google.cn may be nearing the end of its life.

In a shocking announcement, Google said that it may consider shutting down its operations in China.

Google reported that several of its gmail accounts belonging to Chinese human rights activists were compromised this week, leading company officials to reconsider its business model in China. Analysts believe that the attacks were made from within China's government, but no confirmation was given. Google officials did not disclose whether or not Google believed affected Gmail accounts were attacked by the China's government.

The search giant, along with many others, have long been under scrutiny by Beijing officials. In China, there is no such thing as freedom of search. China monitors and censors topics that it deems inappropriate for its citizens. Subject matter such as those that do not follow the Chinese government's political stance, or of pornographic nature, are blocked from access.

"We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China," said Google's Chief Legal Officer David Drummond.

"These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered--combined with 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."

It remains to be seen whether or not Google will take such actions, but according to analysts, it could be possible.

Up until this point, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and others, have all complied with China's demands. Censorship is a very hot topic for China, and while many companies and groups have spoken out against China's restrictions on its users, government officials remain firm that censoring is the best course of action for its people.

Google.cn generates roughly $1 billion for Google.

More on Reuters.

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  • 21 Hide
    Vestin , January 13, 2010 9:20 AM
    GodhatesusallWhat kind of communism dictates that the means of production are controlled by individuals?

    The Chinese kind. I'm glad you asked.
    They are a communist country with free-market economy. Again - don't make the false (marxist in its nature, BTW) assumption that once you've described the country's economy, you know everything about its government and society.

    Also - I believe that while Google does care about profits it also simply wants to make the world a better place. Call me naive, but I believe that Google not only is not and will not be evil... it's actually a force of good, not just another corporation with splendid PR.
  • 16 Hide
    Godhatesusall , January 13, 2010 7:22 AM
    MindfieIdsCommunists are sick puppies! they wanna control every aspect your life! GRRR!


    May i remind you that chinas has stopped being communist loooooooooooong time ago?

    I mean, McDonald's,Apple, Microsoft, Google etc all have offices there(and make lots of $$). What kind of communism dictates that the means of production are controlled by individuals?

    Better change the phrase to

    "Chinese capitalists are sick puppies! they wanna control every aspect of our life! GRRR!"
  • 14 Hide
    MindfieIds , January 13, 2010 7:19 AM
    Communists are sick puppies! they wanna control every aspect your life! GRRR!
Other Comments
  • 8 Hide
    avatarprime , January 13, 2010 6:58 AM
    Quote:
    "Google.cn may be nearing its life."


    Nearing its death? Nearing the end of its life?
  • 14 Hide
    MindfieIds , January 13, 2010 7:19 AM
    Communists are sick puppies! they wanna control every aspect your life! GRRR!
  • 0 Hide
    Godhatesusall , January 13, 2010 7:20 AM
    Google won't do it.....

    Seriously,does anyone here believe that a huge multi-national corporation will just throw away 1 bn $ just because they "care about censorship"?

    Corporations are corporations, and by definition are greedy.
    It is people who must force corporations to act differently, but i didnt notice any serious movement to force google to stand against china's censorship policies.
  • 16 Hide
    Godhatesusall , January 13, 2010 7:22 AM
    MindfieIdsCommunists are sick puppies! they wanna control every aspect your life! GRRR!


    May i remind you that chinas has stopped being communist loooooooooooong time ago?

    I mean, McDonald's,Apple, Microsoft, Google etc all have offices there(and make lots of $$). What kind of communism dictates that the means of production are controlled by individuals?

    Better change the phrase to

    "Chinese capitalists are sick puppies! they wanna control every aspect of our life! GRRR!"
  • 1 Hide
    bhaberle , January 13, 2010 7:23 AM
    I assure you it is just a hollow threat. The last line says it all. "Google.cn generates roughly $1 billion for Google." Why would they leave if they generate so much money from it?
  • 1 Hide
    MindfieIds , January 13, 2010 7:32 AM
    GodhatesusallMay i remind you that chinas has stopped being communist loooooooooooong time ago?I mean, McDonald's,Apple, Microsoft, Google etc all have offices there(and make lots of $$). What kind of communism dictates that the means of production are controlled by individuals?Better change the phrase to"Chinese capitalists are sick puppies! they wanna control every aspect of our life! GRRR!"


    That`s a gorvenment, not a corporation ... `course coporations do their best to direct our lifestyle so that can benefit from it. Gorvenments can order it! ;) 
  • 9 Hide
    mrubermonkey , January 13, 2010 7:53 AM
    For a billion dollars I am sure Google will continue taking it up the arse from China.
  • -1 Hide
    steelbox , January 13, 2010 8:41 AM
    1 Billion for Google is not probably much. OK china may have 1.2 billion, but only a fraction of its population have Internet access.
  • 1 Hide
    spigias , January 13, 2010 9:14 AM
    it's only google fear-threat tactics! nothing is gonna happen to google.cn
  • 21 Hide
    Vestin , January 13, 2010 9:20 AM
    GodhatesusallWhat kind of communism dictates that the means of production are controlled by individuals?

    The Chinese kind. I'm glad you asked.
    They are a communist country with free-market economy. Again - don't make the false (marxist in its nature, BTW) assumption that once you've described the country's economy, you know everything about its government and society.

    Also - I believe that while Google does care about profits it also simply wants to make the world a better place. Call me naive, but I believe that Google not only is not and will not be evil... it's actually a force of good, not just another corporation with splendid PR.
  • 2 Hide
    asdf634 , January 13, 2010 9:21 AM
    steelbox1 Billion for Google is not probably much. OK china may have 1.2 billion, but only a fraction of its population have Internet access.


    Although this may be true; even a fraction is a huge amount considering the entire population...

    The bottom line is, censorship sucks, but for google loosing that amount of money would suck even more.
  • 5 Hide
    SAL-e , January 13, 2010 9:33 AM
    GodhatesusallGoogle won't do it.....Seriously,does anyone here believe that a huge multi-national corporation will just throw away 1 bn $ just because they "care about censorship"?

    Well, Google went public about it. If GMail accounts are targeted you can believe that other providers like Hotmail, Yahoo and others were targeted also. Only Google is talking. I do not care what policy corporation has I care how the corporation acts.
    GodhatesusallCorporations are corporations, and by definition are greedy.It is people who must force corporations to act differently, but i didnt notice any serious movement to force google to stand against china's censorship policies.

    Corporations don't have personalities. Corporations only project the personality of the people working for it. If people inside corporation are greedy the corporation will appear greedy also. Yes, I agree that we can and should keep corporations responsible, but not only as customers, but more important to stand up for our values as an employee.
    What is really troubling is that lately too many "Americans" are and willing to "compromise" their values when the price is their pay check.
  • -1 Hide
    asdf634 , January 13, 2010 9:48 AM
    SAL-eWhat is really troubling is that lately too many "Americans" are and willing to "compromise" their values when the price is their pay check.


    Let's not be too stereotypical... it's the human nature in the modern society really. When there is only one last meal on earth for you and another, few would share, even fewer would give, but most would just take the whole damn thing. It's sad to see the world come to this really.

    Now if everyone in the world is kind enough to give me a cent...
  • 4 Hide
    back_by_demand , January 13, 2010 10:01 AM
    bhaberleI assure you it is just a hollow threat. The last line says it all. "Google.cn generates roughly $1 billion for Google." Why would they leave if they generate so much money from it?

    It's not the money. If Google beleives that it's service is being hacked into by the State, ie, PRC Government Hackers, then that does not bode well for running an information business.
  • 1 Hide
    SAL-e , January 13, 2010 10:07 AM
    asdf634Let's not be too stereotypical... it's the human nature in the modern society really. When there is only one last meal on earth for you and another, few would share, even fewer would give, but most would just take the whole damn thing. It's sad to see the world come to this really.Now if everyone in the world is kind enough to give me a cent...

    No. I am not stereotypical... I have faced with the choice to compromise in the past and I maid my choice.
    The last meal on earth or any meal is scarce resource and as result it could be own as private property. The owner of the property should have the freedom to decide to share it or not.
    The values are not property and should not be traded. What I believe in and value don't effect your believes and values.

    And yes, I am not giving you my cent... you need to earn it from me. ;) 
  • 4 Hide
    brisingamen , January 13, 2010 10:12 AM
    googles owners are some of the most radical unique buisinessmen of our era and i wouldnt put anything past them, . . . they literally have a vision for the world.
  • 6 Hide
    randomizer , January 13, 2010 10:32 AM
    If only they would put this pressure on the Australian government. That might get some more publicity about Internet censorship here, which is practically unknown to most.
  • -2 Hide
    doc70 , January 13, 2010 10:56 AM
    Google went along with these censorship practices for years now without a peep and all of a sudden they grew balls?... I don't believe that for a second, there must be another reason for this. Will find out later when all blows wide open.
  • 1 Hide
    asdf634 , January 13, 2010 11:22 AM
    SAL-eNo. I am not stereotypical... I have faced with the choice to compromise in the past and I maid my choice.The last meal on earth or any meal is scarce resource and as result it could be own as private property. The owner of the property should have the freedom to decide to share it or not.The values are not property and should not be traded. What I believe in and value don't effect your believes and values.And yes, I am not giving you my cent... you need to earn it from me.


    You're missing the point. What I was trying to express is that it's not just the Americans, it's the human nature to look after themselves before they look out for others, and in your argument you've proven my point. Why should the last meal on earth belong to you and to your decision but not the others?

    I'm not an American and I'm not defending for Americans... all I was saying is that it's really sad to see the world became what it is now.

    Now give me that damn cent!!
  • 1 Hide
    Raishi , January 13, 2010 11:26 AM
    doc70Google went along with these censorship practices for years now without a peep and all of a sudden they grew balls?... I don't believe that for a second, there must be another reason for this. Will find out later when all blows wide open.


    "Went along without a peep"? Haven't been paying much attention, have you? They've been outspoken opponents of China's censorship practices for years.
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