“illegal flower donations”
We’re sure that by tomorrow morning, there will be an even bigger slew of news out about Google’s recent move (including if they actually are talking to the government, we hear they are at least). But for tonight, here’s the latest news on the matter.
You know how people were offering flowers up at the alter of Google in Beijing? That’s not allowed anymore – security officers at Tsinghua University (right next to Google’s offices) are asking you why you’re buying flowers and demanding that it not be for the Big G. That’s apparently propelled “Illegal flower donations” (非法獻花) to the first big internet meme of China 2010.
Meanwhile, quite expectedly, China’s official state media has officially told all news portals to harmonize their news with Xinhua’s/People’s Daily’s versions. Considering that China Daily’s take on the whole ordeal was a boring two sentences, Chinese people not addicted to the internet probably aren’t going to know much about this. According to Reuters, Xinhua has said that Chinese authorities are “seeking more information on Google’s statement that it could quit China” and that “it is still hard to say whether Google will quit China or not. Nobody knows.”
Wired quoted a source that said Google has tried to work to protect its employees from that “information seeking,” timing the announcement so that its Beijing branch would know about what was happening before they arrived to work. “[Google is] really concerned about their safety and feels that there is a very real possibility that they will be interrogated,” the source said. “They have been [interrogated] numerous times before, and this time they could be arrested and imprisoned.”
As for the security breach, evidence is slowly leaking out that collaborates Google’s concerns. China Hush talks about a blog post from someone two days ago that tried to prove his personal emails from his Gmail account were being accessed and screened by the GFW. There’s also the interesting timing of a recent security update to Gmail, which they rolled out yesterday.
Oh yeah, hilarious hacking of the day:
Baidu’s taiwan site, baidu.tw, was hacked to show google.tw instead. Right now, The baidu.tw URL just turns up an empty page. Aw, that was fun while it lasted.
Anyhow, In case you hadn’t gotten enough (or Jeremy Goldkorn‘s whetted your appetite) round up of opinions after the jump.
- Hillary Clinton: “We have been briefed by Google on these allegations, which raise very serious concerns and questions. We look to the Chinese government for an explanation. The ability to operate with confidence in cyberspace is critical in a modern society and economy. I will be giving an address next week on the centrality of internet freedom in the 21st century, and we will have further comment on this matter as the facts become clear.”
- Chinese twitterers (translated by CDT): “@hecaitou: After Google leaves China, the world’s top three websites on Alexa —Google, Facebook and Youtube are all blocked in China. This is not an issue of Google abandoning China, but one of China abandoning the world.”
- Imagethief: “Google has taken the China corporate communications playbook, wrapped it in oily rags, doused it in gasoline and dropped a lit match on it.”
- Rebecca MacKinnon: “Google’s decision was tough and is going to have a great deal of of difficult fallout. Still, based on what I know, I think Google has done the right thing. They are sending a very public message – which people in China are hearing – that the Chinese government’s approach to Internet regulation is unacceptable and poisonous.”
- Chinayouren: “…the message sounds inconsistent and improvised, it is difficult to believe that it comes from a careful calculation. I wonder who really writes that blog, but if this really comes from Google executives it is scary, especially from the shareholders POV. Regardless of the real intentions of Google, my first assessment is that the post is a BAD decision.”
- Evgeny Morozov: “They knew pretty well what they were getting into. Now it seems they are playing the innocence card … It’s like they thought they were dealing with the government of Switzerland and suddenly realised it was China.”
- People’s Daily opinionist: “Leaving? Google is pouting! 退出？谷歌在撒娇吧！”