Google leaving China has been so much more than just a technology story. It deals with censorship, human rights, and the role of intercontinental companies in international politics.
But don’t go comparing Google to Tank Man quite yet. The move seems to be more of a business decision than any sort of protest. In a statement initially printed on googleblog.blogspot.com, the multinational public search corporation made it clear their decision was due to being “the victims of a sophisticated cyber attack originating from China.”
Although they would later express frustrations with the Chinese governments “attempts over the last year to further limit free speech on the web… including the persistent blocking of websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Docs and Blogger,” it is clear that the reasoning behind the move was simply good business, and not any sort of political message.
There was nothing new about the restrictions and censorship on Google.cn. And it wasn’t until AFTER the company was “cyber-attacked” that they decided to take action.
In fact, Google intends to keep a sales team in mainland China, just another sign that Google’s recent moves have been more about business than politics.
But the question is; Does it matter? If Google is doing the right thing, arguably for the wrong reasons, does it make it any less right? Are the ends justified regardless of the motives?
Whatever the reason for it, the facts remain: China is now Google-free.