ZDNet is reporting that the Chinese government is starting to get tough with Google over its stand against censorship. According to the AP a Chinese official said “If you want to do something that disobeys Chinese law and regulations, you are unfriendly, you are irresponsible and you will have to pay the consequences.”
Time to put out the fire and call in the dogs I say.
There’s a lot of handwringing in the press and in financial circles about what happens if Google walks away from all the potential that is the Chinese market. I think the issue is actually bigger than losing out on China because Google is now in a position where it can’t have the China market and have a company that does no evil. If Google elects to stay in China it forfeits its innocence and takes a big hit to its brand. It can’t stay. Its currency is trust and if it loses the trust of the market it will become just another capitalist tool and it will have earned the distrust of the world.
Google needs to exit the Chinese market and it needs to do so in a very public way to signal to others that it’s ok to take a walk from China and to show its loyal customers that it has their best interests at heart. If the company had no intent of backing up its stand against censorship, it should not have taken that first step.