That's Rich: China Accuses Google Of Censorship

from the look-inward... dept

China, of course, is famous for massive censorship of the internet. Google, on the other hand, is well known for fighting censorship in many cases. Even in China, where it was required to block some searches, Google tried to take as permissive an approach as possible, even letting users know when a site was being blocked (yes, this was quite controversial, but the company did more than many other search engines). So, it does seem a bit surprising to see a headline claiming that China is accusing Google of censorship. Isn't that backwards?

It isn't "China" so much as it's the Chinese Communist Party's main newspaper (so, basically, the paper of record from the government) claiming that Google is not finding a report it put out suggesting that Google's book searching project might violate Chinese authors' copyrights. Of course, that claim is a bit amusing as well, given China's general attitude towards copyright over the last couple of decades... but that's another story.

Google claims that it did no censorship at all, and that there was an automated block put on the site via its StopBadware service, which makes sense. Google has long used StopBadware to try to protect users from malware sites, and the service does sometimes make errors. While it seems unlikely that Google would purposely block the report, that doesn't make it any less strange for a Chinese government publication to accuse Google of censorship. Given the government's happy embrace of censorship, how does it have any sort of moral claim here?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 8:27am

    From the StopBadware.org site:

    quote on: Prominent Chinese Site Flagged for Badware

    The interesting piece from this post:

    "As reported, the Google statement makes a small mistake in indicating that StopBadware.org provided the software for this automated system. In fact, Google’s Safe Browsing team developed the system themselves. For more information, see the relevant section of our FAQ."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Greg, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 8:50am

    Moral claim?

    It's the Chinese government. They have no morals, therefore they will claim this until the end of time, or until they are no longer Commies, and I think the end of time will come first.

     

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  3.  
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    Kyang, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 9:15am

    Doesn't the article about the Authors and the Copyright issue actually start with the authors? Why are the authors in China being lumped in with the government as, "China complains about copyrights"?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    TimmyJ, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 11:30am

    Turnabout

    Doesn't it seem obvious that the Chinese government might be trying to strike back against the constant claims of censorship against them by pointing out the censorship being done by others? It is possible that leaders in China don't see themselves as censors but just trying to protect the public in the same style as Google's Safe Browsing Team. Even Chinese officials can recognize hypocracy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Nastybutler77 (profile), Oct 28th, 2009 @ 11:46am

    Pot, meet Kettle.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 11:46am

    All you have is Google's word against that of a Chinese newspaper, and you demonstrate zero interest in, or understanding of what is alleged to have happened.

    Obviously you are a big Google fan and always take their claims as facts with no need to check (still under the spell of their "do no evil" slogan I guess), but the credibility of your blog (and your journalism skills) won't benefit from this ineptitude.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 28th, 2009 @ 12:56pm

    Re:

    All you have is Google's word against that of a Chinese newspaper, and you demonstrate zero interest in, or understanding of what is alleged to have happened.

    Please explain what we did not understand. I note you failed to do so.

    Obviously you are a big Google fan and always take their claims as facts with no need to check

    Um, actually we have gone against Google on many things, including the Google book search settlement and many, many other things its done.

    Ooops. Looks like you didn't check your facts, did you?

    but the credibility of your blog (and your journalism skills) won't benefit from this ineptitude.

    I'm not a journalist. My credibility isn't hurt in the slightest. You got the basic facts wrong and didn't fact check. If my credibility is hurt, yours is hurt even more. No wonder you post anonymously.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re:

    You describe the Chinese position as "..Chinese Communist Party's main newspaper (so, basically, ...claiming that Google is not finding a report.."

    which is wrong since they claim it was blocked, but obviously the idea that Google couldn't find it seems sillier so that's your "story".

    You describe the Google position as "Google claims .., which makes sense."

    No attempt to analyze you just decide Google is correct.

    Oooops. Looks like you didn't read your source or check your facts, did you ?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2009 @ 3:21pm

    Okay so China will always be a copyright flouting jerk and censoring bastard. Never believe it when they say they're actually trying to change that, cause its all propaganda.

    ~~~ move along people nothing new here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Oct 28th, 2009 @ 9:58pm

    Dear China,

    Here's a list of allowed things you can accuse us of:
    - Running lots of web applications that never seem to get out of Beta.
    - Installing silly slides and firemen poles in our offices.
    - Rolling over whenever some bank has a judge tell us to block some user account thru no fault of said user.

    Here are the things you don't get to accuse us of:
    - Censorship
    - Exiling the leader of the tibetan religion/state and placing your own puppet in his place
    - Trying to run people over with tanks
    - Communism
    - Murdering women that have more than one child
    - Accusing Richard Gere of murder.
    - An horrible fashion sense.

    Sincerely,
    The guys at Google corp.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 29th, 2009 @ 1:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    which is wrong since they claim it was blocked, but obviously the idea that Google couldn't find it seems sillier so that's your "story".

    Sorry, you misread what I wrote. By "not finding" I meant that when people do a search they weren't able to get to it. That's accurate.

    No attempt to analyze you just decide Google is correct.

    Actually, I did attempt to analyze it, and found Google's position credible, given how Google acts on these issues elsewhere. Do you have any proof to the contrary?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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