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Google Censorship News

China Renews Google's Content Provider License 64

Posted by kdawson
from the careful-dance-with-the-devil dept.
snydeq writes "The Chinese government has renewed Google's Internet Content Provider license (announcement), enabling the company to continue to provide Web search and other local products to users in China. If Google had been unable to renew its license, it could have meant the end of the company's operations in China, leaving search engine rival Baidu to dominate the market. Last week Google began making efforts to win over Chinese officials. Rather than automatically redirecting Google.cn visitors to Google's Hong Kong search engine (a strategy the Chinese government found unacceptable), the company now sends visitors to a 'landing page' where they can choose to click on a link leading to the Hong Kong site, or stay to use unfiltered services such as music or text translation."
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China Renews Google's Content Provider License

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  • Not much of a change (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Cimexus (1355033) on Friday July 09, 2010 @09:46AM (#32850630)

    It's funny how an automatic redirect isn't acceptable, whereas the current landing page approach really just requires one extra click. And the redirect button fills most of the screen (and looks like a search window, so you think you're clicking in the box to put your cursor there and type something, but it's actually a link).

    http://google.cn/ [google.cn] if you want to check it out for yourself.

    So subtle a difference, really, from a practical point of view. Yet this is acceptable where the other approach wasn't.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The pseudo-communists in China need to save face somehow; it's all about appearances. Who knows, if they were pissed at google, they probably would have ordered the word purged from their language or something stupid like that.
      • by BhaKi (1316335)
        I've always wondered why they don't change the name of their party to something like "Totalitarian Capitalist Party of China". Your post explains it.
        • The correct name for the Communist Party of China would be the Fascist Party of China. It is only a minor change, but it is easier for fascists to pretend to be capitalists than for communists (communists pretend that "the people" control the means of production while government officials really do, fascists pretend that "industrialists" control the means of production while the same government officials acutally do).
          • by iserlohn (49556) on Friday July 09, 2010 @11:19AM (#32851666) Homepage

            The is nothing democratic about capitalism at all. Fascists do not need to pretend they are capitalists; they are capitalists. Fascism is the logical extension of corporatism, developed as the capitalist friendly answer to the socialistic theories of class conflict. In essence, Fascism is "those who owns the means of production, also control the state". This is to establish harmony in the different sectors of society in order to further the agendas of those that own the means of production.

            The idea of democracy that the state is answerable to the populace, and that really has nothing to do with private enterprise at all. It is possible to have a social democracy for example but not a fascist democracy. Socialism by definition does not require authoritarianism, but fascism and communism does.

            • I respectfully beg to differ. Capitalism is democracy because all the power lies in the hands of the people. They have the money, they make the choices. Although some individuals and corporations have a larger slice than others, most of the money is in the hands of average people, who vastly outnumber the rich.

              The most successful lie of Marxism is the notion that only the very rich are really "capitalists". Not so. Everyone is a capitalist. Everyone fits into both of the classically Marxist roles of "worker

              • by Asic Eng (193332)
                most of the money is in the hands of average people, who vastly outnumber the rich.

                Sounds nice but is wrong: In the United States at the end of 2001, 10% of the population owned 71% of the wealth and the top 1% owned 38% [wikipedia.org].

              • by iserlohn (49556)

                Not exactly. Capitalism is not the same as free markets.

                Capitalism is the idea that private enterprise control the means of production. Labor is not capital so there is no way that a worker that doesn't own any means of production would be a capitalist! I mean, she could subscribe to capitalism, but in no way is she a capitalist.

                Furthermore, Marxism (thankfully) does not define capitalism, but merely presents a caricaturisation of it to further its own agenda.

                Capitalism is a system which tends towards a sma

            • You do not understand capitalism. In capitalism, each individual decides the value of goods and services and whether or not they will use their resources to obtain a particular set of goods and services based on what value others place on those goods and services. For example, If I desire X and value it at $100 and you can supply X, but value it at $200, I will not obtain X (at least not from you). If on the other hand, I desire Y and value it at $500 and you possess Y, but only value it at $200 I will obta
              • by iserlohn (49556)

                First, let me assure you that I do have a sound grasp of basic microeconomic theory.

                Now, on to your post, what you are talking about is not capitalism, but rather on intervention of governments (ie. laissez-faire) in markets. Specifically what you described is a price ceiling.

                Government intervention has it's problems, however, also keep in mind the market can also be distorted absent government intervention (eg. lack of information, concentration of market power, perfectly inelastic demand).

                The solution to

          • What is always lost and / or forgotten in these discussions is that communism is not a state that is achieved instantly. A nation cannot become "communist" overnight. Marx described a long road of transformation towards a communist state. Marx also said that states had to experience lesser models such as capitalism before they could arrive at the communist model.

            The Chinese president has said on a number of occasions that China remains on the road to communism but that it may take a further 35-50 years b

    • by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday July 09, 2010 @09:52AM (#32850698) Journal

      China is like the Apple App store. Its always some stupid tiny detail that keeps you from getting in the store. And even if you get approved 1 week you could be taken out the next.

    • So subtle a difference, really, from a practical point of view. Yet this is acceptable where the other approach wasn't.

      Yeah since it's not really buying China much I see it more as a demonstration that at any point in time China can force Google China to do whatever it wants. Google.hk is (NSFW) unfiltered [google.com.hk] so now the Chinese government has made the user take an extra click to get to the search box that produces unfiltered results. I bet it has more to do with a display of dominance and control than any real effective censorship concerns. Baidu remains ahead of the curve and actively pleases the government to maintain a f

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        If you are a Chinese National and are loyal to the current Chinese government, your selection of search engine is perhaps influenced by these two distinct images.

        That's an interesting point, might I also add that you might be influenced to choose Baidu over Google in fear of being branded as someone who wishes to access the unfiltered internet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DigiShaman (671371)

      I can't say for sure, but my gut feeling is that China is genuinely trying to change to allow for more freedom. Last 20 years have proven that so far.

      What most people don't realize is that with self re-enforcing totalitarian regimes, there's a lot of political and bureaucratic momentum that can take generations to blunt. No single person wants to put their head on the chopping block. But as a whole, I think most people in China want a more westernized system. You only get full democracies over-night with a

      • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn@nOsPam.gmail.com> on Friday July 09, 2010 @10:27AM (#32851034) Journal

        What I'm saying in short is this. If China was serious about maintaining an iron fist, Google would have been kicked out long ago!

        Google had initially agreed to filtered search results inside China. It wasn't until they vocally said they were planning to stop filtering that China threatened to kick them out. Google has played ball up to this point and that's why they haven't been kicked out. Your reasoning makes no sense.

        In fact, China is trying to tell the world "read between the lines". We want freedom, but we're sure as hell not going to make it obvious.

        Judging by the near constant stream of news from Reporters without Borders [rsf.org] I'd have to disagree with you.

      • by billtom (126004) on Friday July 09, 2010 @11:21AM (#32851688)

        I'll have to disagree with you there. The Communist Party of China absolutely wants to retain political control over China.

        The problem they face, which causes things like the Google situation, is that they in order to avoid large scale revolt, they need to maintain a high economic growth rate. And totalitarian economies aren't particularly good at getting economies to grow. So the Party is trying to have a sort-of free market economy while still denying the Chinese people political choice.

        But having economic freedom but not political freedom naturally creates friction and strange situations. Like the Google one.
         

        • by nobodie (1555367)

          this as good a description as you can give to the situation here without actually explaining it. The problem is that without being here you can't understand it, and if you are here it is not comprehensible as well. Living here we just go along without understanding, and so we glide through the confusion. You guys and girls want understanding when there is no real understanding that has any value.

      • Too big to be killed (Score:3, Informative)

        by hackingbear (988354)

        China could have just cut off google.com.hk like it's doing for thousands of small HK sites, but they don't. Being a totalitarian does not mean it can ignore public opinion. Google is a PR hot potato for the Chinese officials, because it is too big and famous. If a smaller site tried that, it would be crushed without anybody noticing.

        Now that the PR officials can maintain sites under their supervision remains clean without dealing with public outcry while the search results are continued to be filtered, by

    • by rwa2 (4391) *

      Aw, they get little popup critters under their search bar... I want some of those!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by dUN82 (1657647)
      This the the Chinese way of doing things, it's not about what you do, but the gesture of doing things.
  • So...whatever happened to Google pulling out of China entirely?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by zarzu (1581721)
      well they pulled out in the sense that they are no longer censoring things. i don't think they ever announced that the will fully pull out, their hope always (well, after they stopped complying with censorship at least) was to continue the full service without censoring. weirdly enough they now seem to have a deal that accomplishes exactly what they want. i say weirdly because you can practically click any where on the google.cn page and you will be sent to the hong kong one, where you can actually search.
    • It's hard to pull out when you're on to a good thing

  • ...in what significant way? Really, I don't understand this: Why is it that everytime Google farts, it gets posted here? There are so many more /.-worthy stories out there. But, day after day, we get stuck with Google's mundane business laundry. For the love of , let's get back to true news for nerds...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by decipher_saint (72686)

      Despite tensions, the worlds largest search engine is NOT getting kicked out of the worlds largest internet using country. The implications of which involve tech, politics, freedom of speech...

      If that's not Nerd News I don't know what is.

      If you're hungry for interesting stuff that doesn't make the front page take a drink from the Firehose.
      http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl [slashdot.org]

      • by pongo000 (97357)

        Based upon the low comment count (48 as of this post), I would have to say that the majority of /. readers don't find Google business news exactly "news for nerds."

    • "And this is important...in what significant way?"

      In the way that it's the largest search engine getting to stay in the largest search market in the world. Maybe these things aren't important to you, but I think that the outcome of this would have a large impact on the tech industry as a whole.

    • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7&cornell,edu> on Friday July 09, 2010 @10:20AM (#32850990) Homepage

      Because Google has pretty much said "fuck you" (in far more polite terms) to a major world superpower when most world governments are afraid to do so.

      Let's face it - The one thing the Chinese really didn't want was unfiltered search results, and Google is still providing that, just in a somewhat indirect manner.

      • by Aron S-T (3012)

        Or one can say Google continues to co-operate with Chinese censorship just making it slightly easier to get around for those who will make the effort not to use the default (and who would likely know how to get around the censorship anyway). Give up business with China or mollify authorities - not a tough choice for yet another big corporation.

      • by Hermanas (1665329)

        The one thing the Chinese really didn't want was unfiltered search results, and Google is still providing that, just in a somewhat indirect manner.

        Well, I'm in the said country now - and clicking on the link to google.com.hk simply redirects you to a page that cannot be displayed. So, if by 'indirect' you mean 'not at all', then yes, I agree.

      • by tyrione (134248)

        Because Google has pretty much said "fuck you" (in far more polite terms) to a major world superpower when most world governments are afraid to do so.

        Let's face it - The one thing the Chinese really didn't want was unfiltered search results, and Google is still providing that, just in a somewhat indirect manner.

        Do some research. Google's claim of unfiltered searching is pre-mature.

  • I figured Google would eventually go back into China it's a growing market for the search engine industry.
    • by DeadDecoy (877617)
      Well, if they didn't keep Google in China, who else would they steal ideas from? MSFT? pfft...
  • They can put the automatic transfer back until just before the next renewal

    • by jonwil (467024)

      Since this is China and since the Chinese government answers to no-one, the government can revoke Google's license any time they choose to.

  • I think that China decided that the removal of Google would hurt their economy and reputation too much. They just used the "new approach" of the redirect page as an excuse.
  • They never did. They only bluster to pacify the rest of us who do. It's all about appearances.

  • US decides not to call china a currency manipulator & google gets a license renewed. Nah, couldn't be.

  • It's just amazing how Westerners in general and Americans in particular view this latest event as a win for Google and see China just wanted to "save face". Reality is the redirect to google.com.hk did NOTHING at all in terms of bypassing censorship -- users in China couldn't even go there! It's just a smokescreen for us Westerners aiming to give the image of a righteous Google rebelling against China censorship (and judging by the comments here, that smokescreen worked marvelously). Bottom line is Googl
    • by DCaddict (1852908)
      As someone currently across the Great Firewall, I can tell you that google.com.hk is definitely accessible to the mainland Chinese.

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