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A new approach to China

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Supertramp, Jan 13, 2010.

  1. Supertramp

    Supertramp
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    Read this first.


    As you may know, Google has a Chinese website that generates millions (billions?) of dollars for the corporation. The problem, however, is that the Chinese government is very much opposed to the notion of free speech and the freedom of information. So back in 2006 Google and the Chinese government came to an uneasy agreement to filter some search results (such as Tienanmen Square, Chinese Human Rights, Chinese Constitutional Rights etc...) that may compromise China. The entire ordeal was very riske because the Internet Bleeding Hearts (Internet Paladins, as I call them) started mouthing off on every which blog about how "evil" Google has become and how they're enabling the Chinese regime.

    I thought that some freedom of information was better than none, but Google still had a tarnish on it's otherwise pretty impeccable record. I mean, dealing with the Chinese Government to censor millions compromising internet pages? That's pretty low.

    Not anymore. In the link above, one of the Google Chairmen wrote a short essay detailing their new China strategy. They developed this new strategy because of a series of cyber-attacks and were directed at Chinese Human Rights workers in China and the rest of the world. Google did some investigating and realized that most of the attacks originated from China and were the work of the government. Since then they have decided to either set up a censor-free search engine or completely disband Google.cn, in order to stand up for free speech.

    More information:
    <a class="postlink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_by_Google" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_by_Google</a>
    <a class="postlink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_c ... c_of_China</a>
    <a class="postlink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_China" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_China</a>
    <a class="postlink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberwarfare" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberwarfare</a>
    <a class="postlink" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_intelligence_activity_in_other_countries" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_in ... _countries</a>


    Focus: Discuss this legendary new development in the Google-China saga.
     
  2. oswald999

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    I think it's awesome that Google is willing to potentially lose a lot of money for this. I remember reading about Myspace in China a little while ago, and in addition to being able to report people for being underaged or having inappropriate content, you can report them for "exposing state secrets" and "subverting the government."
     
  3. Nettdata

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    This could also be a HUGE, long-term marketing gamble.

    For years, Google's motto was "Do No Evil".

    Over the last couple of years, people have been equating Google more and more with the huge, multi-national corporation that it is, and have been questioning that motto. *cough* SkyNet *cough*

    With this action they have gone one huge step past that and said "we will not tolerate evil unto others".

    The amount of positive karma this will buy them is mind boggling.


    As the first large company (that I know of, anyway) to tell China to go fuck itself, they have again become the non-evil global empire that we can all love.

    They truly are masters at boiling the frog, and I love them for that.
     
  4. imlkrsfn

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    About time. For years Google has been fighting for freedom and net neutrality across the internet yet they censor 1+ billion people since 2006 and are just now getting around to doing something about it. As much as I'd like to believe they're taking a stand against censorship, I highly doubt it. They are a corporation after all. I hope I'm wrong and China gets put in its place.
     
  5. DrFrylock

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    I do not understand this move at all.

    Google is basically cool with doing business in China despite reported reckless disregard for human rights, censorship of free expression (especially any kind of dissent), and a whole lot of shit that is generally considered anywhere from "pretty sketchy" to "really fucking scary." Look, I have never been to China and have no firsthand evidence that this is true. Maybe it's all propaganda like the idea that Jews eat Christian Babies to get off or whatever they believe in stranger parts of the world. But most reports seem to point out the fact that on a relative scale, China is not near the top on issues like freedom, human rights, and human dignity.

    So Google makes its peace with all that, and they play along. Until China commits a single, final, unspeakable act:

    TRYING TO HACK A COUPLE OF GMAIL ACCOUNTS!

    That? That was the straw that broke the camel's back? I mean, really? This is the Internet equivalent of George W. Bush invading Iraq because "Saddam tried to kill mah daddy!" Even if half the shit here is true, it's pretty goddamn scary. But that was all OK, right up until somebody portscanned Google's firewall? Oh noes!

    Look, if you're a company that wants to do business with one-sixth of the world and doesn't want to also be the shining example of Truth, Justice, and the American Way, that's fine. You go ahead and do that. But to make the switch from "just tryin' to get along here" to self-appointed Superman based on some relatively minor cybershenanigans is really bizarre. Was it really a surprise that China is out to get dissidents? Really?

    The only thing I can think of is that Google was looking for a pretext - a reason - to change its China policy and this was convenient. As a public company, it has some obligation to its shareholders to do what's best for the bottom line, and not doing business in China because of vague idealism was perhaps too risky. Maybe they think a personal attack on some Google-hosted services will be an event that rallies investors to the "get out of China" policy. Maybe they will also sack up big-time and start going on the offensive, campaigning for change within China and using this "attack" on them to pull a "hey, Greedo shot first, I was just defending myself!"

    Still, it's an odd way to go.
     
  6. Nettdata

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    It wasn't just a couple of email accounts.

    They uncovered an entire espionage network within China that hacked embassies, corporations, etc.
     
  7. Beefy Phil

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    Good call, Herr Doctor.

    Even if it's a sound business decision wrapped in a civil rights campaign, I'll gladly take it. The Civil War wasn't started because of slavery, but it sure as hell ended it.

    The only thing I question is the real value of "user trust". Sprint is passing out customer GPS data left and right, and the American people still have their collective head up their collective ass. I wonder if Google has underestimated our ability to take the loss of our civil liberties in stride.
     
  8. Vanilla

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    The issue is that the accounts that were attempted to be hacked were the accounts of people who supported Tibet. They were targeted attacks, among others as Nettdata pointed out.

    And how is this the internet equivalent of a government invasion? A country in which google is conducting business is caught hacking into their systems. They get pissed off and say go fuck yourself, we're not going along with your bullshit anymore, our search results are now gonna be uncensored. I just don't see even a loose correlation to that comparison.

    Anyway, I support this decision completely. The fact that it's been going on this long is bad enough, it's about time they stop censoring. Good on Google!
     
  9. toddus

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    I have read several analysts value Google's revenues in China at $300-600 million. Given the market size is $1.2 billion and Google has around 30% share that would bring it in around the low end of these estimates. I think they are greatly inflated however given Baidu as the big boy has the highest rates and does not discount or favour price. Given this I would peg Googles revenues at probably closer to $200 million in China annually, which is around 1% of revenue.

    Their market size has increased in recent years; however this has been at the expense of other American search engines, Baidu is by far and away the dominate market player. The end game is China is incredibly insular (for a very easy read on business in China I highly recommend http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ruperts-Adventures-China-Murdoch-Fortune/dp/184596277X) the Chinese ultimately use foreign companies for the own ends, enticing them into investment with the lure of the world's biggest market while never giving away more than they are happy too.

    I think Google has accepted defeat to Baidu in the PC search engine stakes and decided the hassle of doing business in China is simply not worth it. The tight state controls of China simply don't gel with Google's strategy. Take the $200 million hit in revenue, negate this with international good will, sit back and wait for controls in China to loosen and China to come to you.

    The ultimate question is will the economic expansion in China lead to a freer market and less state control. Google is setting itself up to bet on the affirmative while also gambling that its international presence does not require it to already have market share in China at this time.
     
  10. Kampf Trinker

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    I applaud google for their decision. China has a long history of repression, lying to its citizens, and horrible bureaucracy policies.

    If you don't much history of China regarding human rights repression start here, then go here.

    I lived there for six years and got to witness first hand how incredibly fucked up their government and culture can be.

    - Chinese aren't allowed to own property. Not in any real sense anyway, the government can take it from you whenever they want with the explanation of 'we need it now'.
    - If you assist someone who is injured and unconscious, you get blamed for their condition. I've seen way, way too many people dying and twitching in the streets with a crowd standing around just watching, too afraid to help.
    - When they execute someone they charge the family for the bullet.
    - I've seen news channels cut off all the time. CNN is blocked pretty much any time it talks about China.
    - Every newspaper written there is a complete farce. It's mind boggling that people could swallow the nonsense they pump out. One article I read was entitled 'China is no threat to anyone!' It then went on to say that it was their right to stomp out Taiwan and how the morally ambivalent Americans shouldn't mettle in Chinese affairs.
    - They constantly preach about how communism has been successful despite the fact that they aren't even communist anymore. The stuff I linked apparently never happened.

    I could go on and on, citing historical examples and stuff I've seen when I lived there. If anyone has any questions I'd be happy to answer them.
     
  11. downndirty

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    I, for one, will drink the Kool-Aid. I think that when one of the world's prominent brands says: China? Fuck that, ain't worth the nonsense. in such a public way, it sends a huge message about the Chinese government and how they do business. China for years has been promoted as the future of business, innovation, and "Oh dear God, what will we do about China?" practically has been a headline for Time Magazine since 1998 and this is one of the first time that the cracks have been shown on such a large stage. I don't believe Google is riding out of China on a white horse, but it was an uncomfortable arrangement, and they are willing to lose the $400M or so a year to avoid attacks like that (which, theoretically could jeopardize their entire business), and put principles over cash, I say good for them.

    Hillary Clinton issued a statement about this today: <a class="postlink" href="http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/01/135105.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2010/01/135105.htm</a>

    "We have been briefed by Google on these allegations, which raise very serious concerns and questions. We look to the Chinese government for an explanation. The ability to operate with confidence in cyberspace is critical in a modern society and economy. I will be giving an address next week on the centrality of internet freedom in the 21st century, and we will have further comment on this matter as the facts become clear. "
     
  12. Obviously5Believer

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    The Economist: http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displayStory.cfm?story_id=15267915&source=features_box_main

    Google's plan to withdraw from China may be as much about poor business prospects as ethics

    If all this is true it really is a brilliant move on Google's part. They're effectively giving China an ultimatum: end censorship or we pull out. However the Chinese government responds, Google is the good guy. They are either the brave company that brought censorship free search results to China, or they're the company that refused to do business in an oppressed society.

    The positive PR that this is going to bring them will probably be worth far in excess of the half a billion they bring in a year from Google.cn which the article mentions is just a small trickle into their impossibly vast coffers. But hell, free speech is free speech. Whether it's motivated by greed or ethics, there can't be any downside to making the most advanced information network in human history a more free place.
     
  13. PaleBlueDot

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    #13 PaleBlueDot, Jan 13, 2010
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2015
  14. scotchcrotch

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    Google is going to cutoff China for security reasons, although they won't admit it because who fucks with Google?

    So they spin it off into taking the moral high ground.

    A pretty smart PR move actually since they'll come off as "moral" instead of a security issue.
     
  15. thatone

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    Is there some way I can blame the jews for this?

    No?

    Fuck.

    =================

    However, as far as the Chinese are concerned, Kampf Trinker is on the money.

    The problem is that they are your daddy now. The diplomatic game of chicken, where human rights are not even a priority when compared to economic policy and China ceasing to buy US treasuries being their big move, is one that they will win.

    Start selling opium to the fuckers again, I say.
     
  16. ghettoastronaut

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    Well if that's the case, I have a question of sorts for you.

    Some time ago, in the middle of the prairies, a man on a Greyhound bus beheaded a fellow passenger with a machete. Witnesses said he was like a psychopath: cold and unfeeling the whole time. A friend of mine who is Chinese by birth and spent her childhood in China said that in the aftermath, Chinese newspapers were all over this story, using it as proof that Canada must be sort of barbaric crime-ridden society for this sort of thing to happen. The news then broke that the man was Chinese, and no Chinese newspaper touched the story afterwards.

    It would be too much to ask if you could personally confirm this, but is this type of thing in line with other things you've seen in newspapers?
     
  17. Kampf Trinker

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    I've never seen a story quite like that, but I'm 99% sure this is how they would handle it.

    If they had originally known all the information they would have just published it like it happened. I've seen stories in the papers involving crime and murder several times. They don't expect their citizens to be so naive that they'll believe it doesn't occur.

    However, they refuse to go back on their word. Unless there's special circumstances (where they can blame/accuse someone for the misinformation, always an outsider or aristocrat) they either cut off the story, or stick with what was published first. They're afraid to look incompetent and they're thinking is that if they start changing the stories citizens will begin questioning the media too much.
     
  18. Allord

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    THE JEWS EAT CHINESE INSTEAD OF CHRISTMAS, THEY'RE IN CAHOOTS WITH THE CHINESE AGAINST THE CHRISTIANS!!!!

    BOOM, HEADSHOT!!!!!

    Focus: I think we should punish the Chinese by selling them shoddy Chinese manufactured goods. A few lead painted pacifiers and sawdust-filled canned meat products and they'll be begging for mercy. Then we can finally get a McDonalds in Tienanmen square and we'll all live happily ever after.
     
  19. Chellie

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    Whether Google's decision was based on business or morality is immaterial. When one of the world's most recognizable logos makes a decision that is going to get as much positive coverage as this will, the effect is mind blowing. It's already started, in forums like this all over the net.

    Other companies want a share of anything good that happens to any other company. Remember when you had to look hard to find a 'green' product? Can you even think of a company now that doesn't strive to greenwash itself at the very least? They all hop on every positive bandwagon they can. My point is that, regardless of the original motivation, Google's actions will start cries of 'bullshit' at China. Whether they mean it or not, it'll probably make significant progress.
     
  20. The Village Idiot

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    While a well intentioned point, there is one major difference. Going 'Green' has enable companies to increase prices. Whereas 'not selling to China' will not result in the same impact on the bottom line. While I enjoy your optimism, the Chinese Government has been masterful in obtaining advantageous trade/business deals for years without giving up any of their control over the population.

    People the world over know the Chinese government is corrupt as hell and full of shit. But, there's money to be made, and while there's money to be made, people are more than happy to ignore how shitty a government treats its own citizens.

    Google is merely acknowledging what Coke, Pepsi, and others acknowledged ten years ago, dealing with the Chinese government sucks.