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Google: Our Censorship is China's Fault

Google Blog: China, Google News and source inclusion

Google responded officially to the accusations that it was censoring its Google News product in China so as to prevent controversial topics, such as democracy and certain religions, from popping up inconveniently. Citing the fact that these links wouldn't be readable by most in China, Google said that "there is nothing Google can do about this." Not among the reasons cited is the probability that the Chinese government would likely put Google on a blacklist - as it has done once before - if Google had decided otherwise. The lack of candor about this last factor will surprise many Google fans, who support Google with great brand loyalty in part because of its "don't be evil" motto.

Google did say its search engine "remains the only major search engine that does not censor any web pages," although a report that first surfaced in New Scientist claimed that search results were indeed changed for queries originating in China.

Realistically, certain companies cannot be consistent with stated values doing business in certain industries in certain countries. Drilling for oil in Nigeria will not, in the end, be consistent with some stated corporate ethics policies, once all the bribing and proxy murders of intimidated locals are committed.

Selling a product that implies a free exchange of ideas in a country that expunges the names of even local officials from web news would be tough. Pre-censoring those names so as to make the user experience more consistent is, at best, collaborating.

The China Google story will likely prove the Rubicon for Google, the crossing of which will indicate whether it has changed priorities as it became a public concern.

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