Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Update regarding Google in China: Meetings and Mobile Phones

A large outcry of support followed Google’s January 12 announcement that it is no longer willing to continue censoring results on Google.cn. This statement by Google is a definite step in the right direction and shows the company’s willingness to take a hard line against the Chinese government. Google is optimistic that it can persuade the Chinese government to agree to changes that will allow the display of uncensored search results. As of Friday, January 15, 2010, Google had not set a deadline for an agreement and, while Google had alerted the Chinese Government to its plan, a spokesperson for Google did not know whether any additional meetings had been scheduled. Pending the results of any agreement with the Chinese government, business will continue as it did before last Tuesday’s announcement. However, while not confirmed as directly related to the dispute with the Chinese government, today Google postponed the launch of its mobile phone in China that was scheduled to occur tomorrow.

For now, the question remains whether Google will have the determination to hold its hard line and follow through on its threat to pull out of China if no acceptable agreement can be reached. Google’s willingness to relinquish a share of the largest internet market in the world would send a powerful message that the company is not willing to compromise the human rights of any people and set an example for other corporations currently doing business in China. We hope that Google will reverse the trend the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. noted so many years ago in stating, “Increasingly, by choice or by accident, this is the role our nation has taken, the role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and the pleasures that come from the immense profits of overseas investments.”

For more information on the debate surrounding whether Google will pull out of China click here.

~By Lindsey Ingraham, Legal Intern, International Justice Project

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