Google took flak a few years ago when it announced that it would cooperate with Chinese censorship to operate a Chinese version of the Google search engine. The company’s top brass wrung their hands about the decision, since it seemed to clash with Google’s official “do no evil” policy.
In January, Google and other large companies suffered a major cyber attack apparently originating in China. In Google’s case, the target of the assault was the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. Further investigation in the weeks since then has tended to confirm that the Chinese government sponsored the attack.
In response to the attack and further assaults on freedom of Internet speech in China, Google said that it was “no longer willing to continue censoring” its search results. It said that it would shut down Google.cn if the government would not let it provide unfiltered results.
Richard MacManus of ReadWriteWeb reports that Google.cn is still censoring its search results. The Chinese government isn’t about to cave.
So why hasn’t Google left China?
Sure, it would be disruptive. People would lose their jobs. But in January’s statement, Google seemed to be taking a belated but praiseworthy stand on principle. They should follow through. If there’s anything worse than doing evil, it’s publicly repenting it and then continuing to do evil as if nothing had happened.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.