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Google's China Problem 203

Posted by Zonk
from the two-great-tastes-taste-weird-together dept.
Wraithfighter writes "The New York Times has a rather lengthy, but informative, piece on the origins of Google's current Chinese search engine, as well as a very informative look at how censoring is actually done in China. From the article: 'Are there gradations of censorship, better and worse ways to limit information? In America, that seems like an intolerable question -- the end of the conversation. But in China, as Google has discovered, it is just the beginning.'"
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Google's China Problem

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  • Google is not "censoring" the chinese.

    These websites are blocked in china anyways, so instead of having the first 3 or 4 pages of results blocked, google removed the results do delivery more accurate search results. Google isn't censoring the internet for the chinese, they are optimizing it.
    • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Saturday April 22, 2006 @09:39AM (#15180181) Homepage
      There are still many ways to bypass [wikipedia.org] the block. Assuming one knows that the web page exists. Thanks to this "optimization", this is no longer the case.

      If the effect of this "filter that is no censorship" is merely cosmetic, then why was Google forced to include it or face being banned from operating in China?
      • Google did not do anything ethically wrong.
        Blocking the results ensures that chinese people can use Google.
        It is not teribly difficult for a chinese citizen to bypass the firewall, but guess what? It is also fairly easy for a chinese person to bypass the google censorship too!

        Those who cannot figure out how to bypass the google censorship would likely have trouble bypassing the Great Firewall. Therefore the censored results are all that they have a use for.

      • There are still many ways to bypass the block. Assuming one knows that the web page exists. Thanks to this "optimization", this is no longer the case.

        Wouldn't one who lived in China know that censorship is taking place, and thus be able to use the aforementioned "bypass" methods to access GOOGLE.COM and get the uncensored results?

        ~Rebecca
    • Surely there's a difference between "this event happened (because there's search results for it) but your country doesn't want you to see any information about it " and "this doesn't exist - look - that event ***never happened***"?
      • Not quite true.

        If some of your search results are omitted because of this optimization/censorship, then google add a note at the bottom of the page saying something to the effect of "some of your search results have been omitted in compliance with local laws".
        • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @10:29AM (#15180371) Journal
          >google add a note at the bottom of the page saying something to the effect of "some of your search results have been omitted in compliance with local laws".

          Suppose I search for "rumsfeld secretary of defense " and I get a nice set of results but at the bottom of the search page it says "some of your search results have been omitted in compliance with local laws".

          Now is it;
          1. Faked pictures/fan-fic stories about Donald Rumsfeld that clearly (or maybe not so clearly) break one of the multiple local decency laws.
          or
          2. Legitimate criticism of a high-ranking official highlighting his various professional flaws worthy of public discussion.

          For me the whole Google/China thing comes down to the question - Do you trust a company and a government to think for you?
    • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @10:09AM (#15180285) Journal
      >Google isn't censoring the internet for the chinese, they are optimizing it.

      Thats a new one.

      They are omitting results due to local laws. If this is optimizing, why don't they omit every single search result in America that would break local laws here?
    • by hey (83763)
      They should list the banned sites but with an icon (eg person with blindfold) beside them.
    • I will buy this explanation when Google puts a little notification at the top "Displaying results 1-10 of 3,000. 45,000,000 search results blocked by your government. Click here for FAQ"
  • Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ralph Yarro (704772) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @09:15AM (#15180112) Homepage
    Are there gradations of censorship, better and worse ways to limit information? In America, that seems like an intolerable question

    Oh come on, very few in Amertica would argue against any limitations on information.

    From trade secrets to copyrights to defamation to classified documents to pornography laws, restrictions on information are inherent in our whole legal system. How about court sealed documents? Furthermore, atatcking "propaganda" stations has long been considered a legitmimate aim of our military in waging wars.

    Of course there gradations of censorship. The debate has ALWAYS been about which information can be restricted. Pretty much everyone agrees that some should be. Prentending otherwise is unhelpful and it's dishonest.
  • like you haven't give a lot of your rights away recently.
    • like you haven't give a lot of your rights away recently.

      The truth is that I do not trust any government to respect my liberties, but all else being equal ... I would much rather have a government whose foundation is built on laws like the right to bear arms, and the freedom of speech, than have one whose foundation is built on the right to take from people and controll them in the name of some nice sounding excuse like "stability" or freebies coerced at everyone elses loss.

    • by smchris (464899) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @09:51AM (#15180223)
      Flamebait because he doesn't elaborate?

      The U.S. is very good at withholding information. Not to unload too big a can of postmodernist wupp-ass on anyone, but it does so by creating whatever reality it wants. There STILL ARE/WERE WMDs in Iraq in the minds of many people because a chain of The New York Times, Judy Miller, Scooter Liddy, Dick Cheney SAID there were. Why _withhold_ information when you are the country with the Madison Avenue/Hollywood expertise to _create_ whole realities? When you have the mass seeing your reality, any "truths" are just insignificant background chatter.

      I guess it was the comparison between apartheid South Africa and the U.S. where this first became glaringly apparent to me. Generally, South Africa dealt with dissent by "slips in the jail shower" and "suicides out the third floor window" -- excuses which are themselves shapings of reality, but crude post-incident excuses. It was only in the very latest years that they discovered the proactive power of advertising. If you aren't sipping KWV brandy in your decorated 10 room split-level in Soweto like the commercial shows you, it's because you're a LOSER. Doesn't have anything to do with politics.

      It was their own fault it took them so long to discover advertising as a weapon. They only allowed TV in the '70s. In the U.S., we were born swimming in media and generally don't even recognize its inherent unreality.

      • The US dis-information, misinformation machine goes a lot further than that. It is rotten right down to the core, take any of the present laws and test them against the constitution of the founding fathers, you know the one that is supposed to protect the interests of "we the people". This constitution does not mention "we the lobbyists", "we the special interests groups, "we big business", "we Microsoft" etc., etc.

        Did the president of the largest nation in the world visit your home? The bigger question
        • by Neoprofin (871029) <neoprofin&hotmail,com> on Saturday April 22, 2006 @03:29PM (#15181656)
          Maybe I shouldn't tell you about how Alexander Hamilton and his banking buddies got rich buying up confederation currancy for pennies on the dollar and then passing laws that it would all be honored at full value.

          Or how much of the revolution was just mob violence at anyone who tried to regulate the economy including the burning of multiple warehouses and private residences because they were involved in British attempts to regulate the illegal rum trade.

          Or how Thomas Jefferson, contrary to what Swordfish would tell you, never actually executed a man for treason on the Whitehouse lawn, he did have a man accused of treason and basically run out of town using his political power simply because the two of them didn't get along.

          If you want to go a little further down, Abraham Lincoln publicly stated that he had no intrest in slavery either way, it was none of his business. He engaged int eh civil war to hold together the Union and nothing else. His later decision to emancipate the slaves in the area under martial law was commendable, but it wasn't part of his agenda, nor was he able to emancipate the slaves in territory that had remained in the Union as it wasn't under his war-powers control. I have the utmost of respect for the founders of our nation which I believe to be one if, if not the greatest in the world, but these men were far from saints and it's soemthing that people like to overlook.
      • I'll try to bring this full circle back to point. I think you prove exactly how the United States laws and freedom to print information actually work.

        If information was actually controlled we would all be talking about the tremendous amounts of WMD found in Iraq right now, instead of criticizing the adminitration about lying to us.

        Yes you say there are some people who believe they are there. I believe you are talking about the same percentages of people who believe we never landed on the moon. I can't sa
  • To RTFA... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Odiumjunkie (926074) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @09:20AM (#15180124) Journal
    Username: jpmorgan
    Password: chastise

    courtesy of http://www.bugmenot.com/ [bugmenot.com]
  • by argoff (142580) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @09:24AM (#15180132)
    One thing that irritates me about this whole debate is the implicit assumption that China being Communist is just a technicality and not a big huge mega problem. People just pretend that the issue isn't there and just hope it will go away if they put their blinders on. They just go about "trying to do the best they can" while completely ignoring the nature of the big ugly hideous beast breating down their throat.

    How do I know that all this talk about giving Chinees the "most freedom that we can" is all bullshit? Because the people saying it are not only censoring, but they are lying. None of them call it like it is, none of them dare say "hey your government is a piece of shit" for fear of offending the Chineese powers that be. Basically, it is a policy of appeasement and to see how it will play out - Chineese history shows very clearly, it will end in disaster.

    • by Confused (34234) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @09:37AM (#15180171) Homepage

      One thing that irritates me about this whole debate is the implicit assumption that China being Communist is just a technicality and not a big huge mega problem. People just pretend that the issue isn't there and just hope it will go away if they put their blinders on. They just go about "trying to do the best they can" while completely ignoring the nature of the big ugly hideous beast breating down their throat.


      Having some experience with eastern European countries during their communist regime, I can tell you it really is just a technicality for day to day live.

      On one hand, people first and foremost are interested to live in peace and comfort and want to see their children doing the same. If they can achieve this, the philosophical aspects of the current emperor of the land is of no importance. On the other hand, if they can't they will damn whatever emperor makes their live miserable and at some point will seek to improve their lot by exchanging emperor.

      For the less philosophical level this means: If you starve or are terrorised by the killer squads, you don't give shit about if those responsible are brandishing little red books or are the stoutest supporters of free capitalism.

      This all leads to the simple conclusion, that communism (as much as capitalism or all other -isms) are just minor technicalities only mostly happy people with nothing better to do can worry about.

      • This all leads to the simple conclusion, that communism (as much as capitalism or all other -isms) are just minor technicalities only mostly happy people with nothing better to do can worry about.

        Philosophies like "statisim" and "libertarinisim" are not just some nice little philosophies that sit on the clouds. They involve belief systems, and these belief systems lead to chioces, and these choices have conesquences. If people don't care, it is only to the extent that they don't realise the consequence

        • > Do the leaders at google, yahoo, and cisco really understand the consequences of their choices other then beyond the next quarterly report?

          I know this is a tech forum, but please don't forget companies like MacDonalds and KFC, which are really (negativelty) effecting the health of the population. Get rid of them first, since they can't possibly do any good to anyone.

          (IMO)
          • >> I know this is a tech forum, but please don't forget companies like MacDonalds and KFC, which are really (negativelty) effecting the health of the population.

            Eating some fried chicken now and then never hurt anyone. It's the people that go to KFC and McDonalds daily that are hurting themselves.
        • Do the leaders at google, yahoo, and cisco really understand the consequences of their choices other then[sic] beyond the next quarterly report?

          I'm sure the leaders at google, yahoo and cisco understand the consequences. It's how they act given that they know and understand the consequences that is an issue.

          It don't blame google for the way they acted. If you read the article, google chose not to provide services which would require personal information and content to be stored in china and they don'
      • Maybe someone can clarify to me what exactly is bad about communism. My understanding is that it is an impractical and unachievable ideal: everyone works and pools his/her resources, which are doled out based on need. So, I, with my enormous geekthinking brain, would write Free Software worth, say, $100 per hour, while my intellectual weakling brethren would issue parking tickets, doing work worth $5 per hour. But they would need their three beers a day (medical reasons, of course) which they can't reall
        • Maybe someone can clarify to me what exactly is bad about communism.

          Very easy: The politicians, psychopaths, gangsters, opportunist and other power crazed animals that created regimes called communist across the world mostly made the live of the people of said courntries miserable. For this reason, communism has a really bad name. On top of that, it's a rather impractical philosophy which tends to ignore the way most current societies work, thus creating very quickly big gaps between theory and implementa
        • Communism only works on a tribe or clan scale or smaller. Any larger and it doesn't work. Why? Because people don't give a damn about people they don't know, and people have a hard time knowing more than a few hundred people.
        • The first problem with communism is that it is a dictatorship which often (almost always) leads to abuse. those in charge help their friends and families, and otherwise abuse pwoer like any other dictator.

          Centrally planned economies did not effectivley allocate resources so their economies did not grow very fast which lead to lower standards of living. The "5 year" plans mainly did not work. If someone high up had a really bone headed plan it got forced down everyones throats. In a free economy the bone he

        • Maybe someone can clarify to me what exactly is bad about communism. My understanding is that it is an impractical and unachievable ideal

          The key word being 'ideal'. In reality, Communism was a grand attempt at mass social manipulation, using a combination of ideas from Marx's critiques of capitalistism and vision of communism, to the brainwashing techniques originated by the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov [wikipedia.org], to Frederick Hegel [wikipedia.org]'s dialectical [wikipedia.org] theory [wikipedia.org] of history, to the philosophies of moral and cultural relat [wikipedia.org]
      • This all leads to the simple conclusion, that communism (as much as capitalism or all other -isms) are just minor technicalities only mostly happy people with nothing better to do can worry about.

        Agreed, in TFA Lee says that the prevailing Chinese sentiment is:

        'Hey, U.S. democracy, that's a good form of government. Chinese government, good and stable, that's a good form of government. Whatever, as long as I get to go to my favorite Web site, see my friends, live happily.' "

        Too many people have a gut

    • Because the people saying it are not only censoring, but they are lying.

      This sounds just like the sort of things that happen here. Lots of things are censored in 'free' countries just because some minority* groups don't like it.

      Lying is second nature to politicians no matter where they come from.

      Don't you think you should be worrying about the lies from your own government before critising others?

      ---

      *or even majority groups... but what's the difference - it's still censorship.
      • Don't you think you should be worrying about the lies from your own government before critising others?

        Why is it that just because my own government is trying to act criminal should it mean that I need to stick a bag over my head and pretend that other governments aren't being criminal even moreso?

        • Why is it that just because my own government is trying to act criminal should it mean that I need to stick a bag over my head and pretend that other governments aren't being criminal even moreso?

          First, it's not illegal to lie. Nor is censorship illegal. What 'criminal' acts are you referring to?

          Second, perhaps the Chinese people like their government. Why shouldn't they be allowed to have a government that pleases them? Perhaps they don't care about censorship, but they probably believe that it is for thei
    • One thing that irritates me about this whole debate is the implicit assumption that China being Communist is just a technicality and not a big huge mega problem.

      But it is. It's just a label, applied to lots of rather different governments really. There's not *that* much that are shared between say 1985 east-germany and present-day China, nevertheless the same label is slapped on both, which doesn't really enligthen anything much.

      If anything, it serves to sidetrack the discussion from the real and impor

      • But it is. It's just a label, ...

        By saying that China is "communist", what I am saying is that their political system is being held accountable to forces that are NOT in the interest of peoples liberty, or that temper abuses of government. The US had slaves on the plantation too, but accountability to fundamental political forces changed that as society moved on. Where are those forces in China? Answer, there are none other than from us and from resistance in China that we should not be helping the C

        • what I am saying is that their political system is being held accountable to forces that are NOT in the interest of peoples liberty

          Absolutely. As are the political systems of every nation I can think of.

          Ok, fine, perhaps not in principle accountable to, but at the very least in *practice* run pretty much according to the will of those forces. Is the Patriot Act "in the interest of peoples liberty" ? How about the DMCA ? How about the Micky-Mouse act? How about the recent suggestion to imprison people w

    • by liangzai (837960) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @10:23AM (#15180348) Homepage
      Communism is the dictatorial power of the people through a proletarian revolution. There never was a proletarian revolution in China, for the simple reason China didn't have a proletariat. The revolution in China was agrarian, and the system implemented was Maoism, which isn't anywhere near communism except for the fact that the state took over all the private property.

      Since 1978 China is essentially a state-capitalist dictatorship with local (and primitive) democracy, with remaining socialism only on the countryside (state-owned farms leased to farmers). The state-owned property has largely been returned to private interests, and nowhere in the world will you find as many privately owned businesses as in China.

      China of today is communist only by name, and this won't change because the party needs to pretend it is implementing "socialism with Chinese characteristics" instead of capitalism, because the party was founded on a Marxist-Leninist basis.

      China of today is thus as much communist as North Korea is democratic ("People's Democratic Republic of Korea") or East Germany was democratic ("Deutsche Democratische Republik"). Why is this so incredibly hard for Americans to understand?

      Please repeat after me: China is a state-capitalist dictatorship. There you go! Now when you know the basics, perhaps you will be able to discuss the problems of China with some more credibility.
      • China of today is thus as much communist as North Korea is democratic ("People's Democratic Republic of Korea") .

        This reminds me of a joke which used to be rather popular some years ago. It goes something like:

        Do you know what the difference between "democracy" and "people's democracy" is?
        ...

        Well, it's really the same difference as between a "jacket" and a "strait jacket."

      • >Why is this so incredibly hard for Americans to understand?

        Because we're Americans. We can't find France on a map, but we 'boycott' their goods because Bill OReilly (3 million viewers) tells us so. We support a war in Iraq to get terrorists and WMD. Education is for Europeans. Now if you don't mind we're off to beat up some homos and invade Iran!
  • by Peyna (14792) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @09:26AM (#15180135) Homepage
    Near the end of the first page, Lee sums up the attitude on both sides of the Pacific pretty well: "I don't think they care that much. I think people would say: 'Hey, U.S. democracy, that's a good form of government. Chinese government, good and stable, that's a good form of government. Whatever, as long as I get to go to my favorite Web site, see my friends, live happily.'"

    It's nice to know the Chinese are as apathetic about their government as we are in the U.S.
    • Yes, but if that is all he wants to do, then doing that will mean he's happy.
      What is happiness really? What makes you happy? You only want the ability to criticise your government because you think you might need it.
    • Not just apathetic (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nazmun (590998)
      I've got a an extremely smart female chinese friend who goes to MIT. We agree on most things in life but the one thing we totally disagree on (I used get slightly fumed about it) is that she supports her government fully. "The chinese population is far larger", "You need a government like this", "It's run more efficiently and there is less fighting in the government", are things you'd here from her.

      I am far from being in agreement but I can after a year almost come to an understanding of why she feels thi
      • One thing is certain: I have come to approve of dictatorship recently.

        Democracy is the goverment of the people, for the people... and we all know Sturgeon's Law.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Has it occurred to you that the Chinese people who have the money to move to the U.S. are probably doing pretty well? The poor people who can't afford to move probably have a very different opinion. A few months ago, I believe, there was some video smuggled out of China. It was of farmers violently being removed from their land. They would certainly disagree with your friend's opinion of the Chinese government. When you are a-ok, it's true that you don't care about who or what your government is. But in a
      • by dfjghsk (850954) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @02:05PM (#15181324)
        did it ever occur to you that she feels that way because she does not have to live under the Chinese government?

        It's all the same to her:
        1) she isn't being persecuted by the U.S. gov.
        2) she isn't being persecuted by the Chinese gov.

        Of course, 2 is only because she (and her family) had the money to leave.

        In China things are certainly different. There is a large (and growing) number of people who are upset with their government:

        Number of mass protests in China:
        2004: 74,000 [washingtonpost.com]
        2005: 80,000 [washingtonpost.com]

        And these are official numbers.. released by the Chinese government. Feel free to lookup numbers for the past several years.. you'll see the number of protests are growing each year.

        So who are the protesters? Almost all of them are Peasants. Those who are the poorest, also happen to have the fewest rights.

        So ask yourself: when was the last time you saw that many protests in the U.S.? When was the last time you saw the poor protesting because of their treatment?

        Yeah, it's all the same to her..... as long as she doesn't have to live there.
  • before the Chinese government gets its hands on this technology anyway [www.cbc.ca].

    Make way for zhoogle!


  • The same URL from the same editor with a differente blurb: only in slashdot [slashdot.org].


    --
    Superb hosting [tinyurl.com] 20GB Storage, 1_TB_ bandwidth, ssh, $7.95
  • Circular hypocrisy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mofaluna (949237)
    According to the article the chinese internet excutives' point of view is that censorship isn't an issue sinse chinese aren't interested in the censored content anyway. Makes you wonder why there's so much effort put into censoring it in the first place...
    • the chinese internet excutives' point of view is that censorship isn't an issue sinse chinese aren't interested in the censored content anyway. Makes you wonder why there's so much effort put into censoring it in the first place.

      The reason is simple - although there will always be people who are aware of censored content at the time it is censored, that cultural memory is fairly short. If the Chinese government can keep unwanted material out of sight long enough then people will stop looking for it.

      "

  • Wrong Title? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by slashbob22 (918040)
    Shouldn't the title read: "China's Google Problem"?

    I realize that Google is trying to enter a new market, but I wouldn't be surprised if China really wanted Google there too -- on their terms of course.
  • the tank man (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rchatterjee (211000) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @09:48AM (#15180214) Homepage
    A recent PBS|Frontline documentary covered how the Chinese government has gone about censoring one major event from its past including on the internet, it's free to view online:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/tankman/ [pbs.org]
    • Re:the tank man (Score:2, Insightful)

      by lazybratsche (947030)
      Excellent link, thank you.

      Most relevant to this discussion of censorship is the sixth part of the documentary. They start the segment by asking four students at the Beijing university to look at the infamous image of the man stopping a column of tanks in Tienanmen square. None recognize the image at all, and only one understands enough to connect it to the incident of 1989. It's as if it never happened for anyone younger than a certain age. By controlling information, the Chinese government has mana
  • by m2bord (781676) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @09:52AM (#15180225) Homepage Journal
    Only in this country, censorship is not done in the name of the government. It's done almost solely to "protect" children or those with weak sensativities. I don't necessarily agree with the idea but I am saying that it does exist here.
    • Actually, its rarely done to protect the children. The theocrats who push their judeo-christian beliefs on the rest of us through legislation use children politically to fulfill their agenda. The Chinese want to limit political dissidents, the Americans do it because "the invisible man in the sky says so."
  • by danratherfoe (915756) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @09:59AM (#15180253)
    Not only is google participating in censorship in China, they are also involved in some activities in the U.S. which are disquieting. For example, they have been documented (see link http://www.infowars.com/articles/sept11/sheen_goog le_censoring_story_again.htm [infowars.com] on at least two occasions not indexing important alternative news stories, such as the one on Charlie Sheen's 9/11 comments above. Insomuch as they fail to index an important story which has been heavily visited and linked to, it is clear that they are engaging in de-facto censorship.
    • I don't know whether you're terribly misinformed or just a troll, but that article seems to be completely incorrect. One quick google search for '"Charlie Sheen" 9/11' and hitting the "I'm feeling lucky" button and I got this [prisonplanet.com] story.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @10:05AM (#15180270) Journal
    Censoring is a red-herring. If the citizens can not get to the info, then Google is only focused on what they can get to. In addition, Google notifies them that it is censored, where MS and Yahoo do not even bother.

    The real problem is the use of the services for finding and punishing citizens. Microsoft and Yahoo have been turning over any and all information to govs. with a glee in their eye and $ in the checkbook. In fact, in the most recent episode, Yahoo turned over a DRAFT of an e-mail. This is not something that went out to the general public. It was not used anywhere. It was simply thoughts that are now being used against ppl. Yahoo/Microsoft will hang their head while crossing their fingers and winking their eye.

    In contrast, Google has so far fought against American Gov ( and other govs. including chinese) about releasing any information that can be used in this way. Google did release info concerning ONLY child porn, but nothing that allowed a witch hunt by our admin. And so far, it does not appear that Google is releasing info about what individuals do.

    But I have to wonder, how soon before Google does turn evil and starts releasing. Once they do, they will be heading down a very slippery and steep slope, that will force them to join the likes of Yahoo, Microsoft, Enron, etc. in names that are now synonymous with evil.
  • by Froomb (100183) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @10:54AM (#15180470)
    From TFA:

    I expected [famed political blogger] Zhao [Jing] to be much angrier with the American Internet companies than he was. He was surprisingly philosophical. He ranked the companies in order of ethics, ticking them off with his fingers. Google, he said, was at the top of the pile. It was genuinely improving the quality of Chinese information and trying to do its best within a bad system. . . . Yahoo came last, and Zhao had nothing but venom for the company.

    "Google has struck a compromise," he said, and compromises are sometimes necessary. Yahoo's behavior, he added, put it in a different category: "Yahoo is a sellout. Chinese people hate Yahoo." The difference, Zhao said, was that Yahoo had put individual dissidents in serious danger and done so apparently without thinking much about the human damage.


    A useful perspective from one of the internet celebrities in China. I hope Yahoo appreciates all the good publicity its actions in China are garnering.
  • by Hootenanny (966459) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @10:56AM (#15180482)
    Do two quick searches to see for yourself, the difference between google.com and google.cn. These links refer to the image search on the U.S. and Chinese Google pages, respectively.

    http://images.google.com/ [google.com]

    http://www.google.cn/imghp?hl=zh-CN&tab=wi&q= [google.cn]

    Search for "Tiananmen" on both sites and notice the *significant* difference in content returned by each.
  • Ideals... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Sj0 (472011)
    American Ideals and American reality are two different things. It's easy to say "Censorship in all forms is wrong", but as we see on this site on a regular basis, just because a nation has an ideal doesn't mean it will live up to them when push comes to shove.

    Google in China can't display results about democracy. Google in America can't display results about Scientology. Same shit, different pile.
  • by antdude (79039) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @11:52AM (#15180710) Homepage Journal
    Click here [nytimes.com].
  • Shouldn't that be lengthy and informative?

    This is one of the problems with the age of the blog/web page/snippet, and it's one of the reasons that publications like the Times aren't irrelevant yet. And it's also one of the big reasons that the half-hour television news program is a farce.

    For some stories/ideas/reports, you can't boil everything down to three nicely CSS-formatted ample white space-surrounding paragraphs.

    Are you suggesting that despite the informative nature of the piece that slashdotters m

  • by Damek (515688) <adam@daQUOTEmek.org minus punct> on Saturday April 22, 2006 @02:17PM (#15181383) Homepage
    Google is just having to deal with a situation brought on by decades of meddling by American business elites in the affairs between America and China China's government and American interests employ PR firms which harness former government officials like Henry Kissinger to lobby Congress and the American people in support of trade rules that result in major exporting of jobs and materials, along with turning a blind eye to Chinese human rights and environmental transgressions (also much to the delight of American business, whose interests are often at odds with democracy and the public interest). I find it interesting how Google is walking the line here...
  • by thewils (463314) on Saturday April 22, 2006 @09:56PM (#15182818) Journal
    Like quite a few people on /. I own a domain, and manage a few websites. Because China prevents connections to certain websites, how about if the webmasters of the world somehow got themselves organised and were able to mirror some of the censored content on their website for a period of time. Then at some pre-arranged signal (I'm thinking of the lighting of the Olympic flame in Beijing in 2008 here) everyone switches their home page over to a new one where banned chinese information (pictures, words) is prominent. Also included, could be a couple of links to other sites hosting similar material aka a webring. The point being that up until the lighting of the flame, no information is available, but once the flame is lit then the whole web "lights up" with banned information. It would be impossible for the chinese to censor all these websites, even during the time that the Olympics occurs.

    Somehow, a register should be set up of content providers and hosters, anyone registering for content hosting would not know of anyone else - the whole thing would be secret - and the register would allot content to hosters so that the whole thing is multiply redundant. Finally, the whole effort should be overseen by someone respectable who can report if things are going OK or if there's a shortage in any particular area.

    There's a couple of years yet until 2008, should be enough time for a mature discussion and ample time to develop a co-ordinating website and distribute the required content.

    Thoughts anyone?

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