Well Played, Google

Undoubtably you’ve seen the news about Google ending their censoring in mainland China:

Users visiting Google.cn are now being redirected to Google.com.hk, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong. Users in Hong Kong will continue to receive their existing uncensored, traditional Chinese service, also from Google.com.hk.

Personally, I love this solution, as it’s an elegant exploitation of the politics of China.

1. Remember that Hong Kong was turned over to China in 1997. According to Wikipedia, “The Basic Law [of Hong Kong] stipulates that Hong Kong shall enjoy a ‘high degree of autonomy’ in all matters except foreign relations and military defence.” This is how they kept all the people from fleeing Hong Kong, even though it went from a British colony to a Communist state overnight.

2. Continuing in the “please don’t leave us, we like your money” department China doesn’t censor Hong Kong’s Internet.

3. That hypocrisy is now biting them in the duff. Now they can either piss off a ton of their wealthiest citizens by forcing censorship on them, or risk insurrection by allowing open Internet access in the mainland.

Well played, Google.

Update: When I first wrote this I guess I didn’t think about Hong Kong being outside the Great Firewall. Blocking of search results is still happening, but Google is no longer complicit with it, which I think is good. Besides, it’s still planting a question in mainland Chinese citizens’ heads: why are people in Hong Kong better than me?

3 thoughts on “Well Played, Google”

  1. I assume that Hong Kong is outside of the “Great Firewall of China” — since they’ve not censored any of Hong Kong’s information. That said, wouldn’t they just block the Hong Kong google site?

  2. They are blocking search results out of the Hong Kong site now, but the big difference is that it’s the Chinese government doing it, not Google. Google is no longer complicit with their censorship.

    Furthermore, it still doesn’t resolve the question that’s forcibly being planted in the general Chinese populace right now: why are some Chinese citizens, those in Hong Kong, considered better than the rest of the citizens in the mainland?

  3. This is kind of dependant on just how vindictive Beijing actually wants to be. They could in fact firewall Hong Kong as well and just simply take their chances. Its not like legitimate business traffic suffers and this would be an external influence Beijing could blame which gives them the “moral superiority” to encompass Hong Kong in the firewall as well. This would push both immoral and “immoral” business outside along with any number of dissidents.

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