Google Posed to Exit China
Google appears certain to exit China as a search engine.
Google has drawn up detailed plans for the closure of its Chinese search engine and is now “99.9 per cent” certain to go ahead as talks over censorship with the Chinese authorities have reached an apparent impasse, according to England’s Financial Times.
While Google is seeking ways to keep its other operations in China going, some executives fear that a backlash from the Chinese authorities could make it almost impossible to keep a presence in the country.
When the search giant first promised to end censorship in response to what it claimed were a series of cyber-attacks mounted from inside China, many China-watchers warned that its public defiance of Beijing would provoke a stern response, the FT stated.
On Friday, Li Yizhong, minister for industry and information technology, said: “If [Google] takes steps that violate Chinese laws, that would be unfriendly, that would be irresponsible, and they would have to bear the consequences.”
“Our forecast has always remained firm that once Google announced it would not accept censorship, then it was nearly impossible to imagine a scenario either where Google didn’t act on that or the government accepted their position,” Mark Natkin, managing director of Marbridge Consulting, told Reuters.
Reuters reports that a Google spokesperson said on Monday talks with Chinese authorities had not ended, but added that the company was adamant about not accepting self-censorship.
“We’ve been very clear that we are no longer going to self-censor our search results,” the spokesperson told Reuters.
“We are in active discussions with the Chinese government, but we are not going to engage in a running commentary about those conversations,” said the spokesperson.
The official Xinhua news agency stated that, “The planet won’t stop spinning because Google leaves, and Chinese Internet users will still remain online without Google . . . In the past, China’s Internet developed very well without Google, and we can be sure that in the future, it will also develop in the same healthy way without Google.”
According to Reuters, internationally popular websites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are entirely blocked in China, which uses a filtering “firewall” to block Internet users from other overseas website content banned by authorities.