Google in China: The Big Disconnect

Snip from an extensive feature by Clive Thompson in the NYT:

The small rooms were full of eager young Chinese men in hip sweatshirts clustered around enormous flat-panel monitors, debugging code for new Google projects. "The ideals that we uphold here are really just so important and noble," Lee told me. "How to build stuff that users like, and figure out how to make money later. And 'Don't Do Evil' " — he was referring to Google's bold motto, "Don't Be Evil" — "all of those things. I think I've always been an idealist in my heart."

Yet Google's conduct in China has in recent months seemed considerably less than idealistic. In January, a few months after Lee opened the Beijing office, the company announced it would be introducing a new version of its search engine for the Chinese market. To obey China's censorship laws, Google's representatives explained, the company had agreed to purge its search results of any Web sites disapproved of by the Chinese government, including Web sites promoting Falun Gong, a government-banned spiritual movement; sites promoting free speech in China; or any mention of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. If you search for "Tibet" or "Falun Gong" most anywhere in the world on, you'll find thousands of blog entries, news items and chat rooms on Chinese repression. Do the same search inside China on, and most, if not all, of these links will be gone. Google will have erased them completely.

reg-free Link (Thanks, Kathryn Cramer)