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Google China Shows “Tank Man,” Tibet Search Results

Filters may be down, official deadline disregarded

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The clash between Google and the Chinese government appears to be coming to a head.  Various sources have reported that Google ignored a cut-off date to reregister as an Internet content provider in China, and more importantly, that the company has stopped censoring search results.

Google LogoLet’s get the paperwork-related story out of the way first.  Charles Arthur wrote this morning, "Google missed a deadline to re-register as an ‘internet content provider’ (ICP) in China last night, which observers say is a sign that it is preparing to shut down its search engine there."

As for the news related to Google.cn and a lack of censorship, something has definitely occurred.  Following some tests, Adrienne Mong wrote, "Web sites dealing with subjects such as the Tiananmen Square democracy protests, Tibet and regional independence movements could all be accessed through Google’s Chinese search engine Tuesday . . ."

Other people have seen uncensored results, too, although filters apparently kick in on occasion.

Google’s stayed pretty tight-lipped during all of this.  One spokesperson told Arthur that the company actually has until the end of March to reregister.  Another told Mong that nothing’s changed.  So it’s possible that we’re just seeing a case of deadline confusion strike at the same time as some technical problems.

Google may have finally taken a stand with regards to censorship in China, though, and is just daring the Chinese government to challenge its position.

We’ll be sure to stay on top of this situation as it develops.

Google China Shows “Tank Man,” Tibet Search Results
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  • http://www.sitebyjames.com/ James

    I can use baidu to find tank man stuff…

    I thought the whole issue was about copyright law and pornography?

    I’m going to be honest… I don’t think there is a single person in China who can’t find information on Tank Man.

    This seems a little self righteous especially after all the accusations flew around about Chinese Hackers and the “protection” of human rights activists.

    Goog lost focus years ago, now they are a false political, money hungry corp who really just cares about

    I don’t even think Sergi Brin cares about the free speech aspect of it anymore… Does he even have a say? I have a strange feeling he’s moved onto bigger and better things… I think Goog just flew out of control… Not interested in them anymore.

    I’d rather follow bill gates and that new guy from microsoft around.

    But let’s give Matt Cutts some credit… as far as engineering culture goes, it doesn’t get much better than him. Jmo…

    I mean this is the dawn of the information age (still), I don’t think we should be ignoring the huge impacts crawlers like Yandex and Baidu are making.

    “Tank Man” – Who cares?

    • http://www.sitebyjames.com/ James

      I mean I do appreciate the article… But I don’t even think the Chinese call the Tienamin Square massacre that…

      They call it the July Fourth Incident or something to that effect… Different Culture, different people… Let it at that…

      If Goog can’t play by their rules, seriously, what difference does filtering “Tank Man” make…

  • djfsb

    Hi James- I’m generally in agreement with you and I think you make a fair case. At the risk of falling into the self righteous trap you describe I think it is very important to have some honesty on the events of the history (especially recent history) of the country you live in and the actions of your government. Certainly there are people in much friendlier regimes than China who suffer government deception but that doesn’t justify revisionism.
    Like every country China presents its own view of events to its people. But the difference is that I can get a Middle Eastern perspective on European events, and American perspective on European events and there is nothing to stop that or editorialise it. As an avid Tibet follower I know that what the Chinese media says about Tibet is almost universally false- again not to say that westerners and Tibetans don’t publish false/ biased reports but they’re a great deal closer. So yes, filtering Tank Man, as an utterly random example, has a negative effect. People can believe whatever they want, but unless those beliefs are challenged they are not real beliefs, just compliance.