Google’s move out of China. The Right thing to do


As Google moved out of China and started routing their .cn website through Hong Kong, Chinese authorities stepped in and blocked all the controversial search results, as expected

While Beijing hasn’t budged on the issue of self-censorship, Google remain committed to standing on their principles.

If you were wondering as to what was the connection between the hackings and Google’s result to not censor anymore. Here is an interview with David Drummond, the Google vice president

This attack, which was from China … was almost singularly focused on getting into Gmail accounts specifically of human rights activists, inside China or outside. They tried to do that through Google systems that thwarted them. On top of that, there were separate attacks, many of them, on individual Gmail users who were political activists inside and outside China. There were political aspects to this hacking attacks that were quite unusual.

That was distasteful to us. It seemed to us that this was all part of an overall system bent on suppressing expression, whether it was by controlling internet search results or trying to surveil activists. It is all part of the same repressive program, from our point of view. We felt that we were being part of that.

That was the direct connection with the hacking incident. It wasn’t in isolation. Since the Beijing Olympics, our experience in China has gotten worse. Although we have gained market share, it has become more and more difficult for us to operate there. Particularly when it comes to censorship. We have had to censor more. More and more pressure has been put on us. It has gotten appreciably worse — and ot just for us, for other internet companies too.

I feel that Google has taken a very bold step by standing up against excessive state interference, and they should be applauded for this. Google has certainly earned a lot of respect with its clear stand.

The only real loser in this battle is going to be China. While, Google will be hurt but it will be a lot less than what Beijing would suffer. Here is why I think so:

1. This move exposes China’s claims of openness as false and thus scaring away investors. This is very scary for a country so heavily depended on investment induced spending.

2. The China-US relations will suffer. Already, Dell is hinting at a China withdrawal. I don’t think that Washington wont take notice after all money is the sole motive of American interests.

3. If Beijing keeps scaring away international companies, their domestic market would be monopolized by Chinese firms. This isn’t wrong but with the kind of isolation in the mainland the internet in china would soon become like a Chinese intranet. This isn’t what a country which should thank globalization for its growth would want.

4. If Beijing doesn’t allow a free and open environment for firms to operate, there are a dozen other countries in the region who would be happy to fill in the gap. A case in point India.

And this is why I am so excited. With the continued stubbornness of Chinese rulers towards a free environment for businesses, most of the businesses will have to come to India. And that is the golden opportunity that we shouldn’t miss on.

  • http://indiawithme-prateek.blogspot.com/ IndiaWithMe

    Your interpretation of the whole episode is quite good actually. This would truly make Chinese authorities to at least think of their policies towards business. But, I don’t think their methods will change. They have a form of government which has opaqueness as its basic characteristic. But, in case they do then it would mean that they lost. That’s really exciting to see. :)

    But, I have another interpretation of this whole episode. It shows how far china has gone in world of technology. Google, i think, here represents all the Internet dependent Americans, and its technology dependent government too. They are afraid of the fact that when a systematic attack by china can be carried out against the Political activists of China then one day same can be done against them.

    The next war will not be decided on war fields but rather it would be decided on the virtual world of Internet. This is where China has shown its strength. When they can make Google techies to bow down against their hacking practices then one day they can surely enter FBI files too.

    This whole episode, as you mentioned, will bring a lot more opportunities for India with respect to investments. But, this episode should also be an Eye-Opener for our government with respect to what all preparations do we need to do to counter the increasing strength of our “Chini-Bhai”.

    • http://www.adityakumarnayak.com Aditya Kumar Nayak

      Definitely. We have long been the IT super power but our cyber defense mechanisms have been totally inadequate. Its time we use our strengths to prepare ourselves for any cyber attacks

  • siji

    This move will affect china badly as it’s more difficult to attract online companies and web based software companies to come forward and establish their bases their as, stubbornness of Chinese rulers will not provides a free environment for businesses.

    • http://www.adityakumarnayak.com Aditya Kumar Nayak

      The good part is that at least the software companies are in a better position to move out. For a lot of companies which have a lot of immovable assets in china like factories etc.
      It’s just not so simple.

  • prateek4u

    Your interpretation of the whole episode is quite good actually. This would truly make Chinese authorities to at least think of their policies towards business. But, I don't think their methods will change. They have a form of government which has opaqueness as its basic characteristic. But, in case they do then it would mean that they lost. That's really exciting to see. :)

    But, I have another interpretation of this whole episode. It shows how far china has gone in world of technology. Google, i think, here represents all the Internet dependent Americans, and its technology dependent government too. They are afraid of the fact that when a systematic attack by china can be carried out against the Political activists of China then one day same can be done against them.

    The next war will not be decided on war fields but rather it would be decided on the virtual world of Internet. This is where China has shown its strength. When they can make Google techies to bow down against their hacking practices then one day they can surely enter FBI files too.

    This whole episode, as you mentioned, will bring a lot more opportunities for India with respect to investments. But, this episode should also be an Eye-Opener for our government with respect to what all preparations do we need to do to counter the increasing strength of our "Chini-Bhai".

  • Aditya Kumar Nayak

    Definitely. We have long been the IT super power but our cyber defense mechanisms have been totally inadequate. Its time we use our strengths to prepare ourselves for any cyber attacks

  • siji

    This move will affect china badly as it's more difficult to attract online companies and web based software companies to come forward and establish their bases their as, stubbornness of Chinese rulers will not provides a free environment for businesses.

  • Aditya Kumar Nayak

    The good part is that at least the software companies are in a better position to move out. For a lot of companies which have a lot of immovable assets in china like factories etc.
    It's just not so simple.