Yesterday we took a look at the power dynamics in the showdown between Google and China, concluding that Google doesn’t have a particularly strong bargaining position here.
Today, more than a week after Google’s announcement that it would shut down Google.cn unless China allows it to stop censoring results, we thought it was a good time to take a look at where things stand.
Keep in mind that David Drummond, Google’s chief legal officer, said in the blog post announcing the move that the company would “review the feasibility of our business operations in China,” floating the possibility of shutting down Google.cn as well as the company’s offices in the country.
Here’s the latest:
Search results on Google.cn remain censored, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday. The newspaper reports Google has said removing content filters on Google.cn could take weeks.
Google’s offices in China are still carrying on normal business operations, MarketWatch reported Tuesday.
Google announced Tuesday that it and a Chinese partner are delaying the release of cellphones that feature Google Android software. “A person briefed on the situation” told the New York Times that Google felt it was “irresponsible” to release the phones because of the current uncertainty.
Experts told TPMmuckraker that they will not be surprised if Google has to pack up and leave China.
But Google may be aiming to jettison its Chinese search engine, while retaining most of its business in China, including a sales force that sells ads that run in the U.S. to Chinese firms, the New York Times reported Tuesday. “Google would be able to claim a principled stand on free speech and human rights while suffering only marginal damage to its business in China,” the paper says.
In public statements, Chinese officials have not shown any movement in response to Google’s ultimatum. “Foreign companies in China should respect the laws and regulations, respect the public interest of Chinese people and China’s culture and customs and shoulder due social responsibilities. There is no exception for Google,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu on Tuesday.
In a sign that Google sees the China showdown as a boon to its image, the company bought ads on its own and other search engines linking to the official blog postlaying out the China ultimatum, the Wall Street Journal reported today.
Google is investigating whether any of its employees in China were involved in the alleged cyber attack on Google that prompted the showdown, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday, citing “people familiar with the matter.” The Journal says some employees in China had network access cut off.
A software engineer at an Atlanta firm says he has found telltale code in the software purportedly used to attack Google’s systems showing that it originated in China, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
In what’s being interpreted by some as a salvo in the Google-China showdown, the Chinese search giant Baidu today sued American Web hosting company Register.com, alleging negligence during a cyber attack on Baidu.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Jan. 12, the day of Google’s blog post: “We have been briefed by Google on these allegations, which raise very serious concerns and questions. We look to the Chinese government for an explanation.”
White House spokesman Nick Schapiro said last week: “We have read Google’s statement and are strongly opposed to the practices it describes, particularly the illicit targeting of private e-mail accounts for political reasons. We applaud Google’s decision to discontinue censorship of search results on google.cn.”
The State Department said over the weekend that it would in the coming days issue a “formal demarche” requesting a response from China to Google’s charges and expressing concern. State has not said since then whether such a demarche has been issued.
Clinton is giving a speech on “Internet freedom” Thursday, and an aide says that it will touch on the China-Google showdown, CNN reports. She will deliver the speech at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.