Chinese Minister Hints At Consequences For Google

    March 12, 2010

Despite weeks of talks that have supposedly taken place behind closed doors, the Chinese government still seems unwilling to compromise with respect to Google and censorship.  Indeed, it may be growing hostile, as a minister talked about "consequences" today.

Google LogoThe BBC reported that Minister of Industry and Information Technology Li Yizhong adopted a tough stance during a legislation session.  "I hope that Google will abide and respect the Chinese government’s laws and regulations," he said.  "But, if you betray Chinese laws and regulations . . . it means that you are unfriendly, irresponsible, and you will have to pay the consequences."

As for what those consequences might be, it almost sounds as if China’s ready to force Google out of the country whether it wants to leave or not.  The Chinese official stated at one point, "[W]hat needs to be shut down will be shut down, what needs to be blocked will be blocked."

This is less than good news for anyone who was hoping Google would be able to keep operating in China.  Considering that Eric Schmidt recently said "something will happen soon," it may even represent the end of the road, rather than just another outburst of rhetoric.

Or not.  Investors on both sides have failed to flinch, with Google’s and Baidu’s stocks up about equal amounts so far today.