Companies should follow Google’s lead
After giving in to China’s demands for four years, Google has finally taken an extreme step — it has decided to stop censoring its search results in China.
Tired of the country’s required censorship of the Internet, Google has decided that it may be best to close its operations in China. The decision was made after the company suspected the Chinese government of hacking into the Gmail user accounts of Chinese human rights activists.
According to a New York Times article, Google has said that it will try to negotiate with the Chinese authorities regarding censorship and surveillance issues before taking the drastic step of shutting down google.cn. However, considering the reputation of the Chinese government, a successful negotiation seems highly unlikely.
As journalists, we at The Tartan certainly promote freedom of speech and commend Google’s efforts to do the same. With sites such as YouTube frequently blocked and search engines heavily censored, China had already severely restricted the freedom of its citizens, but by infiltrating private user accounts, the Chinese government went too far.
Even with such a serious attack on users’ security, Google’s decision is unexpected after years of complacency.
A company should adapt its policies to the laws of the country where it is situated, but not to the extent of giving up its core values. Google is a trusted name in the world, and by standing up to China’s excessive censorship of information, Google has established that it will not undermine that trust by compromising its values.
The Chinese government, as expected, is censoring news of its dispute with Google. It is ironic that while the entire world knows of Google’s decision, many Chinese remain oblivious. Without Google, China will truly be cut off from the rest of the world. While it is too much to hope for a complete reform in the attitude of the Chinese government, we can at least hope that other companies will follow Google and not give up their values. We applaud Google’s stand against censorship and hope China eases its restrictions on its people.