See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

China:Google's announcement to clarify rumors brings in more speculations

What’s going on with Google? Millions of Chinese netizens are wondering.
On Google China’s Blackboard, a Chinese-language blog run by Google.cn, a post titled ‘clear the air of rumors’ stated:

过去几天里,我们看到有很多关于谷歌中国以及谷歌员工的不真实的传言,一 些报道称我们已经关闭了在中国的办公室,还有一些报道称我们在中国的员工已经接到通知将于近期离职。这些都是不真实的。目前,谷歌中国的员工同过去一样在 办公室正常工作,讨论产品开发,与客户进行沟通。尽管谷歌总部管理层近期宣布他们将会在未来的几个星期与中国政府就一些事宜进行商讨,谷歌中国的员工们仍 在一如既往地努力向我们的用户和合作伙伴提供最好的产品和服务,用户和合作伙伴对谷歌是非常重要的

In the past few days we have heard many rumors about Google China and its local employees. Some reported that we have shut down the offices in China and some claimed our Chinese staff would lose their jobs in the near future. These rumors are not true! Chinese employees of Google.cn are, as usual, working in the office, discussing product development and talking with our clients. Although management in Google HQ announced their decision to discuss some issues with the Chinese government, Chinese employees are working hard as always to provide the best service and products to our clients and partners, who are crucial to Google.cn. Jan 19

Last week, Google in its official blog announced its surprising decision to stop censoring the content on its Chinese website, a move interpreted by many as a threat to quit the China market if necessary. It triggered mass reaction from Chinese netizens who mostly supported the action.

However the matter is more complicated than people thought. Rumors about Google’s real intent soon spread across the internet. Different interpretations and perspectives on its possible exit were floated and the controversy has not yet ceased.

Spy inside
It was reported that Google is investigating its employees on suspicion of hacking from inside. As an article in Reuters suggests:
Local media, citing unnamed sources, reported that some Google China employees were denied access to internal networks after January 13, while some staff were sent on leave and others transferred to different offices in Google's Asia Pacific operations.

Let’s look at the original version in Chinese which is widely cited and circulated on the internet.

Google总部在声明退出中国之后,立刻取消了所有中国工程师访问Google代码服务器的权限。
他们都是在上班后发现服务器的home目录进不去了。事先根本没有通知。

Chinese engineers found their access to the Google servers denied as Google HQ announced the decision to quit China. Without any advance notice they discovered they couldn’t access the home server when they came to work

如果Google是有预谋的撤离,为什么要采取这种手段?他完全可以让员工继续工作,做一些善后工作。为什么Google突然那么不信任中国这边的团队?

If Google’s retreat was planned, why they did react in such a hurry? They could have just let everyone in China keep working and help the transition process. Why does Google no longer trust the Chinese team members so suddenly?

唯一的原因就是,Google内部的技术人员中被安插了党的特务(就在Google上海办公处)事实真相就是,这个人在受到党的派遣,应聘Google成功之后,就把Gmail的关键代码down下来然后上交给了组织。而这个组织破解gmail系统的目的就是为了获取“人权团体”的邮件,这些在Google官方的声明都有

The only reason must be is that there were undercover ‘spies,’ dispatched by the Party, discovered at the Google Shanghai office working as technicians. They downloaded the key codes of Gmail after being hired and passed it on to Chinese organizations. The purpose was to hack the Gmail system and intercept the email exchanges of the human rights groups, which motive is reflected in Google’s announcement.

这样一来会暴露gmail系统的所有漏洞,而且Google官方不能承认这个事情,否则他在国际上的声誉会大受影响。特工这次的窃密行动,使Google有面临全面破产的危险(Google官方博客也说了,牵涉到知识产权的问题),说白了,再在中国呆下去,可能要威胁到整个公司的生存,所以才如此仓促的把中国部门的一切工作全部停掉

Of course Google cannot disclose this fact since it would expose all the loopholes of Gmail and its reputation as a secure service provider would be seriously damaged. The espionage posed a significant threat to Google and that is why Google said issues of intellectual property were involved. Google obviously believed the survival of the firm would be put in danger if it stayed in China any longer so Google stopped work in China immediately.

The post furthermore claimed that there were three spies, all of whom were Party operatives. However, quite a few responses to the post ridicule this as simply a sensational speculation.

A rational decision

In boxun.com, a journalist summarized the troubles entangled Google since its entry into China.

2006年2月 牌照门
2006年11月 辞职门
2007年2月 地图门
2007年4月 词库门
2007年5月 抄袭门
2007年6月 报告门
2007年7月 流氓软件门
2007年8月 恶搞门
2007年10月 税务门
2008年3月 抄袭门2.0
2008年3月 漏税门
2008年6月 捐款门
2008年6月 泄密门
2008年11月 广告门
2009年1月 低俗门
2009年4月 低俗门2.0
2009年6月 涉黄门
2009年10月 版权门
2009年12月 涉黄门2.0

Partial translation:

2007/2 In Google Maps, a Chinese city was marked with a name from the time of the Japanese occupation
2009/1 Google was criticized by the state for being vulgar
2009/10 Google was accused of infringement of copyright.
2009/6 Google was found to be showing obscene content

试想,有哪一个跨国公司架得住如此频繁的折腾?据统计Google在中国的收入大概是其全球总收入的1%,即使退出中国市场也不影响Google的整体业绩,损失不大,丢脸的是中共独裁政府。

Think about it, which international enterprise can afford to have so much trouble? The income of Google in China only makes up about 1% of its total revenues, so even if it abandons the market it won’t be greatly affected, but the Chinese government would lose face. Therefore, it is believed by some people that the threatened exit is just a cover story for its commercial failure in China.

Blogger Yemingzhu suggests Google takes the chance to quit China as a pretext for its business failure.

另一种说法是谷歌退出中国,采取这样高调的方式是为了掩饰其在中国的商业失败,从数据上讲,谷歌在中国是属于典型的叫好不叫座,赢得美誉度,没有得到实惠,还投入巨大的成本,从商业上讲,对股东要有交代,退出不是不可以解释。

Another is saying is that Google’s high-profile exit is aimed at covering up its business failure in China because Google’s reputation doesn’t win it much profit. Given its huge costs, the exit is understandable.

Google is currently the second largest search engine in mainland China and has about 30% of market share to Baidu’s 60%.
Ma Yun(马云), the well-known president of Alibaba.com, an e-commerce website, criticized Google:

他说,谷歌在美国的成功是一种创业者精神的成功,是一种永不放弃的精神的成功。而进入中国市场后,则变成了以为可以用钱去改变市场,忽略了过去用脚踏实地、用梦想去改变别人的精神。

Google succeeded in U.S with its entrepreneurship and insistence on its cause. However, in China it daydreams that money can manipulate the market while ignoring the fact that it should stand it’s ground to change others with its passion step by step.

He also called Yahoo’s support of Google a rash decision.

Political conspiracy
Gaoren thought Google’s exit has political motivation, possibly backed by the U.S government.

Google是在中国政府的网络监察制度更严格的时候进入中国市场,希望在中国市场分得一羹。在中国政府的网络监察制度越 来越宽松的情况下退出市场,但站出来高调批评网络监察制度,这本身就是滑稽的,也是站不住脚的。至少表明Google和其声明中的道德是格格不入的。 Google只不过是利用政治作为撤出中国市场的遁词。

Google entered the Chinese market at a time of stricter censorship and tried to grab a share of this huge market. But today it is exiting when restrictions on the internet are becoming laxer. It is ridiculous for it to stand up and criticize restrictions at this time. It doesn’t maintain the moral high ground expressed in its statement and is simply using politics as an excuse to quit the Chinese market.

按照Google自己的高调标准,Google本身是一个高举道德大旗的魔鬼。2008年印度22岁的IT专业人士 Rahul Krishnakumar Vaid因为在Orkut网站写下“我恨索尼娅甘地(I hate Sonia Gandhi)”而遭逮捕。 Orkut是Google在印度的一个社交网络网站。Google立即向印度警方提供了Vaid的Gmail电子邮件信息。

In fact by its own standards, it is a demon. In 2008 Rahul Krishnakumar Vaid in India was arrested because he wrote ‘I hate Sonia Gandhi’ on Orkut, a social website. Google immediately provided his Gmail information to the police when requested.

2010年1月7号,国务卿希拉里.克林顿(Hillary Clinton)在国务院请吃饭。这是一场小规模的晚宴,规 模虽小,来客却都是通讯科技界的重量级人物。客人名单上有谷歌首席执行官埃里克.施密特(Eric Schmidt)、Twitter联合创始人杰克.多 尔西(Jack Dorsey)、微软首席研究与战略官克瑞格.蒙迪(Craig Mundie),以及Mobile Accord总裁James  Eberhard, Cisco的行销总裁Susan Bostron,纽约大学教授Clay Shirky, Personal个人民主组织创始人 Andrew Rasiej等。这是美国国务院利用信息技术来推进美国外交目标的努力的一部分。

没过几天,在2010年的1月12日Google就跳出来。Google是否在为美国政府的政治目的服务呢?大家拭目以待。如果Google成为美国政府的政治打手,那中国政府对其政治约束是完全必要和合理的。

On Jan 7, 2010, Hillary Clinton invited quite a few big names in the IT industry to a banquet, including Eric Schmidt (Google), Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Craig Mundie(Microsoft), James Eberhard, Susan Bostron (Cisco), Clay Shirky (Professor in NYU), Andrew Rasiej (Human rights group). This was seen as part of a US initiative to push its diplomatic goals using information technology.
A few days later, Google bailed out so is it serving the interests of the US government? Let’s wait and see. But, if it is part of an American political plan, then it is totally reasonable for the Chinese government to curb it.

1 comment

  • JP

    I am fascinated by this story. A few years ago Google had to give into China’s might. I bet that once again they will surrender. China is too important to Google for them not to yield once again

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site