After China Move, Google Faces the Fallout

Showing much more speed and determination than in January 2010 when Google first denounced China’s censorship, China has countered Google’s closing of its Chinese search engine, calling it “totally wrong”, limiting access to Hong Kong search results and putting pressure on Chinese companies to cut ties with Google.

A woman lit a candle in front of Google’s China headquarters in Beijing on Tuesday after the company stopped censoring the Internet for China. Andy Wong/Associated Press

Showing much more speed and determination than in January 2010, when Google first denounced China’s censorship, China has countered Google’s closing of its Chinese search engine, calling it “totally wrong”, limiting access to Hong Kong search results and putting pressure on Chinese companies to cut ties with Google.

The overseas edition of the People’s Daily, the main newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, on Wednesday accused Google of collaborating with U.S. spy agencies, Reuters reported.

The front-page of the newspaper said: “For Chinese people, Google is not god, and even if it puts on a full-on show about politics and values, it is still not god. In fact, Google is not a virgin when it comes to values. Its cooperation and collusion with the U.S. intelligence and security agencies is well-known.”

As for Google’s move, the newspaper said: ‘‘All this makes one wonder. Thinking about the United States’ big efforts in recent years to engage in Internet war, perhaps this could be an exploratory pre-dawn battle.”

People laid flowers on the Google logo at its China headquarters building on Tuesday in Beijing. Feng Li/Getty Images

“I don’t understand their calculation,” said J. Stapleton Roy, the director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

“I do not see how Google could have concluded that they could have faced down the Chinese on a domestic censorship issue,” said Mr. Roy, a former United States ambassador to China.

Government firewalls have limited Chinese searchers’ access to controversial terms and websites through the Hong Kong Google search engine (Google.com.hk.)

Several companies, including China’s biggest cellular operation China Mobile, are expected to bow to government pressure and renege on deals with Google.

The government may step the pressure up even further by completely blocking access to Google.cn (which now automatically redirects users to the Hong Kong site, Google.com.hk) or to the Hong Kong site itself. [via NY Times]

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