Google Inc. will stop censoring its search results in China and may pull out of the country completely after discovering that computer hackers had tricked human-rights activists into exposing their e-mail accounts to outsiders.
The change of heart announced Tuesday heralds a major shift for the Internet's search leader, which has repeatedly said it will obey Chinese laws requiring some politically and socially sensitive issues to be blocked from search results available in other countries. The acquiescence had outraged free-speech advocates and even some shareholders, who argued Google's cooperation with China violated the company's ''don't be evil'' motto.
The criticism had started to sway Google co-founder Sergey Brin, who openly expressed his misgivings about the company's presence in China.
But the tipping point didn't come until Google recently uncovered hacking attacks launched from within China. The apparent goals: breaking into the computers of at least 20 major U.S. companies and gathering personal information about dozens of human rights activists trying to shine a light on China's alleged abuses.
We congratulate Google for doing the right thing, and present a tip of the hat to Sodahead who lays out a clear explanation of what this all really means.
What’s more, the AP story cites a Google blog post stating that the company “is no longer willing to continue censoring our [search] results.” This would mark a dramatic about face from Google’s previous policy of complying with the Chinese government’s insistence that they omit certain objectionable search results.
Finally, it seems, a corporation has learned a much needed lesson from doing business in China: playing by the “law of the land” isn’t always a guarantee of safe passage. Google thought that by being above-board in accommodating China’s “Great Firewall” it would be spared clandestine observation and manipulation by China’s Brobdingnagian internet censorship regime.
What this shows us is that no amount of appeasement is enough to satisfy the paranoia of China’s Internet Mandarins. Google’s getting burned so pointedly, and its equally pointed response, will hopefully serve as a rejoinder to corporations around the world that do business over Chinese servers.
Hopefully China backs down and maybe the good people in China will be free to explore what other folks think and believe around the world.
Violence erupted Friday in a busy market area of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, as Buddhist monks and other ethnic Tibetans clashed with Chinese security forces. Witnesses say angry Tibetan crowds burned shops, cars, military vehicles and at least one tourist bus.
The chaotic scene was the latest, and most violent, confrontation in a series of protests that began Monday and now represent a major challenge to the ruling Communist Party as it prepares to play host to the Olympics in August.
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing warned American citizens on Friday not to travel to Lhasa. The embassy said it had "received firsthand reports from American citizens in the city who report gunfire and other indications of violence."
Xinhua, China's official news agency, issued a short statement in English confirming that shops in Lhasa had been set on fire and that other stores had closed because of the violence. But the protests otherwise received no coverage in the Chinese press.
The Dalai Lama released a statement on Friday calling on both sides to avoid violence and appealing to the Chinese leadership to "address the long simmering resentment of the Tibetan people through dialogue with the Tibetan people."
The situation in Lhasa represents a complicated predicament for the Communist Party, which is now holding its annual meeting of the National People's Congress in Beijing. Party leaders are grappling with growing criticism of China's domestic rights record and its ties to Sudan, which the United States has accused of waging a genocidal campaign in its Darfur region.
Just as Beijing sees the Olympics as a chance to strut confidently on the world stage, so its opponents see the international publicity ahead of the Games as a chance to press deep grievances against the one-party state.
In the past, China has not hesitated to crush major protests in Tibet or jail disobedient monks. President Hu Jintao, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party, served as party boss in Tibet during a violent crackdown against protests in 1989. His support for the bloody suppression of unrest that year earned him the good will of Deng Xiaoping, then the paramount leader, and led directly to his elevation to the Politburo Standing Committee and eventually to China's top leadership posts.
Meanwhile the US is expected to continue to support the Communist Nation by providing capital as a "most favored nation" trading partner.
One of the world's top long distance runners has said he will not compete in the marathon at the Beijing Olympics because China's air pollution would pose an unacceptable risk to his health and future career.
In a major blow for the Chinese authorities, who have spent vast sums of money trying to tackle Beijing's pollution problem, the world record holder, Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, said he still intended to participate in the 10,000 metres but could not run in the 26-mile, 385-yard (42.2km) marathon.
Gebrselassie, 34, who holds the world marathon record and two Olympic titles for the 10,000 metres, suffers from asthma. "The pollution in China is a threat to my health and it would be difficult for me to run 42km," he told Reuters. "But I am not pulling out of the Olympic event in Beijing altogether. I plan to participate in the 10,000-metre event."
Usually the Olympics tend to highlight the the best that a nation has to offer, This summers Olympics might be a real eye opener on just what the conditions are in Communist Red China.
The Dalai Lama's exiled Tibetan government in India said it had confirmed Chinese authorities killed at least 30 Tibetan protesters but added the toll could be as high as 100. There was no confirmation of the death toll from Chinese officials and the numbers could not be independently verified.
China maintains rigid control over Tibet, foreigners need special travel permits to get there and journalists rarely get access except under highly controlled circumstances.
There is no information coming directly out of Tibet because China won't let any western journalist in. The Internation Olympics Committee is begging folks not to boycott the Bejing Olympics. The Chinese are killing folks by the score, is not reason enough to deny the spoiled athletes their moment of glory. The entertainmaint media has taken enough of a beating with the writers strike.
Whether it's poisoned cat food, tainted fish, or contaminated toothpaste, it should be obvious that to any Chicom supporter that the Chicoms have shoddy manufacturing practices. Instead of shutting down the plants and investigating the Chinese are calling fowl. If an American company were poison Americans they would get shut immediately. The Chicoms apparently believe they have a right to distribute tothpaste tainted with diethylene glycol in the United States. Maybe they believe if they have a right to torture and kill their own people poisoning our people just a little bit should be OK.
China has branded a U.S. warning against using its toothpaste as irresponsible, saying low levels of diethylene glycol (DEG) were not harmful.
"So far we have not received any report of death resulting from using the toothpaste. The U.S. handling (of this case) is neither scientific nor responsible," China's General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said in a statement posted on its Web site over the weekend.
"All the toothpaste exported to the United States had been registered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for marketing in the States."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued the warning on Friday after toothpaste containing DEG was detected in a shipment seized at the border.
The seizure was the most recent in a series of scares over the safety of locally made products which have put China's food and drug exports under scrutiny around the world.
Similarly contaminated toothpaste has been seized across Latin America, and in Panama, the government says at least 100 people died after taking cough syrup that contained DEG, an industrial solvent used in paint and antifreeze.
The FDA identified products by Goldcredit International Enterprises Ltd., Goldcredit International Trading Co. Ltd., and Suzhou City Jinmao Daily Chemicals Co. Ltd as containing DEG. Brands include Cooldent, Clean Rite and Oralmax and are usually found at discount retailers, the FDA said.
"It is not allowed. There are restrictions limiting its use," said an employee at Suzhou City Jinmao Daily Chemicals on Saturday, when asked about DEG.
Over 100 people died from Chinese cough syrup, and we are accused of overreacting by taking contaminated product off the market. Perhaps just the fact that they believe its an overreaction is cause to embargo any petfoods, foodstuffs, medicines or such. We are perfectly capable of getting by without these toxic Chicom goods.