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?