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Google Chinese Censorship Protested At Stanford, Berkeley

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News.com points at a San Francisco Chronicle article covering protests at UC Berkeley and Google's alma mater Stanford University over its Chinese censorship policy. These came in response to head of Google China, Kai-Fu Lee, talking at the campuses on a recruiting drive.

That reminds me of something I've been meaning to post about, Lee's past statement about insisting on principles, something Google ironically is not doing in China. As I explained in our SEW Forums thread on the censorship issue:

Dr. Lee is the head of Google China. You might remember Google fought a big huge case to get Microsoft's non-compete claims off his back. In the midst of all this, Lee explained some of the reasons why he wanted to go to Google:

No matter how difficult, if you don't follow your heart and insist on principles, how can [you] suggest other people to do it. Therefore I made a very important choice. I have the right to make my choice. I choose Google, I choose China. I want to do influential things. In China, I can help the youth more and do more influential things. I want to make the best of my own efforts, and in Google I can learn the new creativity model and make myself better.

Look at that first sentence. The man heading Google China says if you don't follow and insist on principles (say "Don't Be Evil"), how can you expect others to do so. Then Google ends their post on the China mess this way:

To some people, a hard compromise may not feel as satisfying as a withdrawal on principle, but we believe it's the best way to work toward the results we all desire.

In other words, Google won't stick to its principles. And that's the heart of all this. It would be just another company (US, Danish, Argentinean, whatever) agreeing to Chinese demands and a non-issue except that Google itself very publicly set this entire "Do No Evil" thing in motion as a guiding principle.

Meanwhile, Boing Boing notes censorship might be happening in Google Azerbaijan. But I haven't tried testing this to see if that's for certain. Smaller result sets could be do to things completely unrelated to censorship.

Want to comment? Please visit our Search Engine Watch Forums thread, Google Agrees To Chinese Censorship.


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