January 14, 2010, 11:10 AM — Google's war of words with China over censorship of its search results and cyber-attacks against human rights advocates has sparked a widespread debate among technology thinkers who both applaud and question the company's motives.
On Tuesday Google upped the ante and announced it will radically change the way it does business in China, suggesting it might leave the country if China doesn't ease some of its censorship policies. Chinese officials, as of yet, have not said much in the face of Google's decry of China. One indirect comment comes from The New York Times which quotes a representative of the Chinese Foreign Ministry who stated in a recent new conference that companies that do business in China must abide by Chinese laws.
If Google ultimately decides to pull out of China, the company would leave behind a massive market of Internet users to China's homegrown competition as well as Google rivals like Microsoft and Apple.
Here are some diverse opinions expressed on this topic from around the Web:
China Strikes Back in War of Words
Responding to Google's declaration that the company would no longer censor its search results on Google.cn, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said that foreign Internet companies are welcome to operate in the country as long as they obey Chinese law.
Google may have decided to stop censoring search results on Google.cn, but it's not clear whether this policy has yet taken effect. In my tests, searching for Tiananmen Square on Google.cn (using English characters) failed to bring up any results discussing the protests that occurred there in 1989. One change Google has made to is Google.cn homepage is to replace the company's standard logo with a doodle lauding four great Chinese inventions: papermaking, the compass, gunpowder and movable type.
Showing support for Google's declaration, a small group of Chinese citizens gathered in front of Google's Chinese offices leaving flowers, candles and notes of support, according to CNReviews.
Heavy Debate at the top