The Google-China showdown: Who won? Who caved?

Summary:The Chinese government grants a license renewal that allows Google to maintain its presence in China but that doesn't necessarily mean that Google is a "winner" here.

Google today said that the Chinese government renewed its Internet Content Provider license so that Google.cn - even with a link redirecting users to the uncensored Google.hk site - can remain live. A victory? Sure, but for whom? As Christopher Dawson points out, it seems to be a victory for everyone involved - Google, the Chinese government and even Wall Street, which is rallying around Google shares this morning. But, Dana Blankenhorn disagrees and argues that Google actually lost in this showdown. His take:
The Google.cn home page now offers only a link to its “uncensored” Hong Kong site, but those searches are easily traced and China’s firewall can then censor the results. Services other than search are still run out of China. No Google user searching in the Chinese language can thus access information about anything the government decides, on its whim, the people should not know about. That was the government’s position all along. That position has been upheld.
Adding to that, Blankenhorn says Google never really had a chance because it got "no support" from the U.S. government in its efforts to fight against censorship. And so, that brings us to today. Google - which has been vocal in its blog posts about the conflict in the past - simply released a one-sentence update to an earlier post to announce the "victory" in China. That doesn't feel like the bells and whistles that should be released when you score a victory over a major government like China's. Maybe that's because it's not a real victory. Google simply gets to saves face by maintaining a "presence" in China while the government is happy because it still has the power to censor. But, hey, shares of Google are on the upswing this morning. And, for a public company that's gone out on a limb to make a bold statement, is that really what's most important when determining a win or a loss? Previous coverage: Assessing Google's showdown with China: Does it make sense?

Topics: Government : US, Government

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