Google’s been talking about leaving China since January when it became the victim of a cyber attack and discovered human rights activists’ email accounts had been hacked. Now it’s done it. Google is redirecting Chinese users to its unrestricted Hong Kong site.
Although Chinese officials have condemned Google’s action, they say it shouldn’t affect their political relationship with America. But just a few days ago China said Google was a ‘pawn of the US government’ and Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has previously criticised China for censoring.
Is Google making a big mistake? Since January Google’s stock price has declined 5%, while Baidu (BIDU), the leading search engine in China, has seen its stock price rise by 50%. Or if Google is championing human rights, is it worth it?
Could this leave Chinese internet users even more isolated than before. Some say it will create a ‘Chinternet’ or Chinese intranet.
Internet commentator, Lanpi, says: “The difference between google.cn and google.com.hk is like the distance between China and the world.”
With Google leaving China, who are the winners and who are the losers? Will it damage relations between the two countries? Has Google done the right thing or should it have continued to work with China?