Here I thought everything was okay again once Google got its ISP renewed here in China. Not so! Fresh from that whole debacle, Google is now facing a crop of completely different problems relating to China, from hunger strikes at its Shanghai offices to subpoenas over the leaked Diaoyu/Senkaku clash.
Hunger strike, you say? Yeah, turns out that Google notified seven ad resellers that it would be ending partnerships with them in September, something the ad resellers were desperate to not have happen. According to Computer World, the maligned groups even wrote a letter to Larry Page and Sergey Brin, asking for an intervention… or at least an explanation… and if that didn’t work, $7 million USD compensation. Google’s response:
We stand behind our decision… We do not discuss individual cases, but there are a variety of reasons why we choose to end relationships with certain partners. In all cases, we do so lawfully and in line with the terms of our contract.
After talks went nowhere, about 200 employees began protesting this week outside of Google’s offices in Shanghai. 40 of those people upped the ante and went on a hunger strike that would “last until the group’s grievances are resolved.” Because nothing scares multinational corporations more than people on a diet.
One woman, surnamed Wang, ended up passing out, allegedly due to hunger and a lack of ventilation in the hallway in the Google Shanghai hallway. It’s unclear how much longer the protest will last.
But angry, starving protesters in Shanghai aren’t its only problem. Google’s also facing flack in Japan over the leaked videos showing a Chinese fishing boat ramming into the Japanese coast guard. Tokyo prosecutors have seized Google’s records in order to investigate how the leak managed to happen.
From Japan Times:
Both police and prosecutors have launched investigations, acting on criminal complaints filed Monday by the coast guard against the unidentified party that initiated the leak in apparent violation of the national public service law and the law against unauthorized computer access.
Tokyo police, who are questioning the coast guard personnel, plan to establish a joint team with the Okinawa Prefectural Police and send investigators to the coast guard station on Ishigaki Island, Okinawa Prefecture, to question personnel there who edited the footage and to analyze computer access records, the sources said…
The national public service law requires public officials to maintain secrecy and sets penalties of imprisonment for up to one year or a fine of up to ¥30,000 for those found to have divulged secrets.
Google has said it is cooperating, adding “We follow the law like any other company and comply with valid legal process. When we receive a subpoena or court order, we check to see if it meets both the letter and spirit of the law before complying.”