Bye-bye Google

The news of Google threathening to quit in China over censorship issue has been given a centre-stage by Western media. It is portrayed as an issue of internet freedom, where a company with slogan of ‘do no evil’ objects to censorship and stands for freedom of information. However, I think we need to think critically and consider several issues at play here.

 

First and foremost, is the issue of sovereignty. By demanding censorship to be removed, does that mean that China has no jurisdiction over Google’s operation in China? This seems to be case, when Google demand to be exempted. If Google can be exempted, other Western multi-nationals would follow to demand the same treatment. Certainly, this will create the situation of more than 60 years ago, where China has no jurisprudence over Western entities, including missionaries operating there. This time, I don’t believe a second that China will allow this sort of anomoly to happen again. 

 

The second issue is that every county practices censorship, and  filter contents it deems unsuitable for the masses. Many countries filter contents with phonographic contents or those with child phonographic contents, whiles other don’t. Many Islamic countries will filter contents they think are harmful or demeaning to their religion. Even Western countries ban internet sites they deem unsuitable, such materials promoting Nazism or denying the Jewish Holocausts. Whether we like it or not, censorship is a fact of live, and there is no such thing as freedom of information. Information is curtailed where the situation demands it. In Australia, hate sites that vilify another racial group are banned, and so are those that support Al Qaeda or Islamic militants groups. China, which is a big country with various ethnic groups, also ban or censor those site it deem to harm its national interest and promote communal violence, separatism or chaos based on rumours. Google itself has been reported to provide technology to CIA and FBI, in analysing and intercepting emails and other web contents deems harmful to the interest of US. Thus it is hypocritical to think that only in China censorship matters, and ignore the issue elsewhere.

 

Thirdly, Google was not as successful in China as it hoped. It commanded less than 30% of China’s search engine market. Baidu is far ahead in market share of the search engine. This talk about quitting seems suspiciously like a  theatrical act befitting a drama queen. It is also not as naïve as it claim, as internet censorship has been imposed  before it entered China.  My opinion is that this is a cynical act on the part Google, given that China will not concede on the issue of censorship. For this, Google will gain worldwide publicity and sympathy from the many gullible people, as the good guy at China’s expanse.

 

 

However, what really made me act to finally drop Google as search engine of choice is Google’s lack of support for my blog.  I have checked the statistics of this blog at times, and found that many of the referrals were from Baidu. There were no referrals from Google or Yahoo.  Occasionally, there are referrals from Bing. Thus,  I have installed Bing as my default search engine nowadays.

 

In order to determine how friendly is my blog to the various search engines, I conducted a test  using a few key words. The results as shown below, and confirms my suspicion that, Baidu, is the most search friendly engine for my blog.

 

My search results comparisons:

 

Item to search: “Ken Chew”

 

Yahoo

Page 2, item 3

Google

Page 2, item 6

Bing

Page 1, item 7

Baidu

Page 1, item 2

 

Item to search: “Ken Understanding Chinese”

 

Yahoo

Page 1, item 1

Google

Page 1, item 1

Bing

Page 1, item 1

Baidu

Page 1, item 1

 

Item to search: “Understanding Chinese”

 

Yahoo

Can’t find

Google

Can’t find

Bing

Can’t find

Baidu

Page 1, item 4

 

 

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About kchew

an occasional culturalist
This entry was posted in China view. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Bye-bye Google

  1. Ryuzaki says:

    that’s very interesting, with google I’ve found that I am on the first page. With Baidu I don’t even register. On Bing I am also on the first page. Yahoo I stopped looking after page nine. (although my alias is a popular anime character) My concern isn’t with censorship, it is with control. China doesn’t want pornography, pro Tibet or Muslim groups etc, to show up on their internet, so they ban websites like youtube, facebook and twitter (which all have strict rules against pornography and terrorism).Being a foreigner living in China, I constantly see the corrupt strangle hold that the government has over its citizens. The worst being that for a socialist country, China does not have equality. They loose the basic freedom of speech, that most developed countries have. Sure western countries ban terrorist sites and child pornography sites, but ask anyone, is killing innocent lives or photographing naked young children a good thing to do? of course not. That is a human rights issue, not governmental. Does Australia block pro-republican websites? What China literally calls "preservation of harmony", is the kind of backwards thinking hypocrisy that will lead to a major revolution before they ever truly become a world super power……..Sorry if that sounds mean spirited, it is just my thoughts on the subject.

  2. Ken says:

    Hi there,Thanks for visiting this blog.You have made a number of assertions. I am not in the habit of debating, as I dislike participating in debates, as they are usually unproductive and time consuming. However, I will make an exception in writing my rebuttal to the points you have raised. Perhaps, if you can see from China’s point of view, you will more balanced understanding of China:——————————————————————-My concern isn’t with censorship, it is with control. China doesn’t want pornography, pro Tibet or Muslim groups etc, to show up on their internet, so they ban websites like youtube, facebook and twitter (which all have strict rules against pornography and terrorism).———————————————————————Every country is unique, and has its own set of problems and constraints. Ruling China is never easy matter, given the enormous size of the population, the vastness of its territory, the multi-ethnic groups living there and limited natural resources. Stability is very important from the Chinese point of view. Thus, maintaining social orders and harmonious relationships between various ethnic and religious group are truly vital. Problems that may appear minor in some other countries will become enormous when applied to China. Censorship is a form of control, and YouTube, Facebook etc are banned in China, because they want to control, as you have pointed out. They want to control the Internet because it is a medium that can be used against China by hostile forces that wish to destabilize China. There exist foreign groups or agencies that are hostile to a strong and independent China, especially the West. Many of them find it hard to accept that a ‘communist’ country that is non-White, which eschews Western ideology, can be successful and influential. The cold war may be gone, but the mentality of these people and the institutions behind them are still there. Their focus has changed to China, given that the USSR has collapsed. These hostile foreign agencies promote and support activities which are anti-China in nature. The main agenda is to weaken and possibly topple the Chinese government. They colluded with exiled anti-China agitators, in carrying out activities to subvert the government. Some of their activities include creating rumours and promoting extremist view on religious and ethnic issues, usually under the guise of championing democracy or fighting against ethnic repressions etc. You may say that the actions (banning of YouTube etc) is excessive and the possibility of serious disturbances happening is low. But the fact is that it is very real, as exemplified by the rioting in Xinjiang and Tibet, which are basically directed from overseas agitators. The action to control Internet can be viewed as a matter of national security, where failure to take preventive action to disrupt the operations of agitators against China, may see more bloodbaths in the streets of various cities, towns and villages in China. ——————————————————————Being a foreigner living in China, I constantly see the corrupt strangle hold that the government has over its citizens. The worst being that for a socialist country, China does not have equality. They loose the basic freedom of speech, that most developed countries have. ——————————————————————–I don’t think China is any corrupt from any other developing countries. Perhaps your short stay, language barrier and ideological leaning makes you see the matter different from me. You seem to put China on a really high pedestal in comparing it to developed nations. If you have lived in Asia long enough, be it in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand etc, you will also notice that corruptions grease the wheel of businesses there. It has to do partly with the culture, and you may not like it, but that is the way of lives. Corruptions are inversely proportional to the income of the people, and when pay becomes higher incidences it will decrease or become more subtle. I believe most Chinese are free to talk about almost anything in private, and hold their views. The West may have more freedom in this respect, even scolding their leaders in public. In most of Asia, there is cultural tradition where there is much more reverend for leaders and their elders. You mentioned China as a socialist country with no equality. I guess you mean the gap between the have and have-nots is very wide. I concede that it is a problem, and it all started over r 30 years ago, when the great man, Deng Xiao Ping, called on the whole of China to reform. There was egalitarianism then, but almost everyone was poor back then. Thus one of the calls of his reform was for some people to be allowed to be rich first. It was a pragmatic statement, and was taken to the hearts with gusto. This wealth gap is a structural issue, as the villagers and peasant find their income left far behind those more successful. But, as the educational level improves drastically and urbanisation rate increases every year, the wealth gap should reduce considerably in the future. This is the half full or half empty glass situation, and I’m seeing it as half full.——————————————————————–Sure western countries ban terrorist sites and child pornography sites, but ask anyone, is killing innocent lives or photographing naked young children a good thing to do? of course not. That is a human rights issue, not governmental. Does Australia block pro-republican websites?—————————————————————-I am not sure what your point here is. I suppose you are making comparison between the pro-republican websites with those of pro-Tibetan independence websites (or those supporting Dalai Lama). They are not in the same class at all. It is beyond anyone imagination to think a pro-republican web site can be used to subvert or provide platform for others to act against the interest of the state. The pro-Tibetan websites are clearly against the interest of China, which promotes to undermine China’s territorial integrity and also promotes ethnic hatred.———————————————————What China literally calls "preservation of harmony", is the kind of backwards thinking hypocrisy that will lead to a major revolution before they ever truly become a world super power……..Sorry if that sounds mean spirited, it is just my thoughts on the subject. ———————————————————Yes, you do sound rather mean spirited in hoping that there will be a major revolution in China. Well, China had a revolution a while back ago. The people had enough of that, that’s why there is reformation in China today and they are very concerned about stability and harmony. Chairman Mao did say, ‘Revolution is not a dinner party…an insurrection .. an act of violence in which one class overthrows another “. There has been a number of China collapse prediction emanating from the West, but China has continued to perform well even as US and Japan are suffering badly from effect of the financial crisis. China has gone along way, in developing itself, after being termed the sick man of Asia for a century and a half. The world’s poverty rate has been reduced considerably because China managed to lift a few hundred millions people from poverty. If China is not included in the statistics, the world’s poverty rate would have increased! .A lot’s of work still need to be done, but on the whole it has done remarkably well.

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