Google’s Chinese Dilemma

Asia Wall Street Journal had a very good commentary article on ’s Chinese dilemma. “Google’s decision to omit sources that the Chinese government doesn’t like from their new Google News China edition means that the U.S. company has agreed to play by Communist Party censorship rules. The question is, at what cost?”

“It’s one thing to be a victim of Chinese government censorship, it’s entirely another to aid them in the process. This sets an alarming precedent for foreign news sources in China. A writer for The Epoch Times — after he was informed that the newspaper was omitted from Google’s new Chinese engine — perhaps summed it up best on the newspaper’s Web site: ‘I used to tell people that the Chinese government even tried to block Google. Now, I have to tell people that Google filters out my newspaper.'”

The full article is here. (Registration required.)

But the Journal’s article also pointed out a more optimistic picture for China’s Internet in the long run:

“With Google’s concession, the Chinese authorities may have won a round. But the addition of Google’s new service has done some good: In China, more news is good news. Last year Chinese Internet users hit 68 million, according to reliable estimates, and they are becoming increasingly hungry for information. China’s increasingly vibrant market for Internet news means that news sites must compete for their readers’ attention. Market forces may thus let the boldest voices prevail, if only because watered-down news just doesn’t attract readers.”

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