Case BRI-1004 Google Inc. in China Kirsten E. Martin
As the premier international search engine, Google functions in 43 different languages. Two of these are Chinese and are differentiated as Chinese (Simplified) and Chinese (Traditional). Google has a strong and ambitious mission statement. “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”
In 2006, Google began its’ availability on the Chinese mainland. In order to receive the necessary government permission, Google agreed to cooperate with the Chinese government in censuring the content of the search results. For example, a search of Tiananmen Square does not show results of people staring down tanks, but rather includes pictures of everyday life.
Google did not make this commitment easily. Many meeting were held by the teams of experts in order to decide if being under the control of a totalitarian government was in the best interest of Google. In the words of Elliot Schrage, Google’s vice president of Global Communications and Public Affairs:[Google, Inc., faced a choice to] compromise our mission by failing to serve our users in China or compromise our mission by entering China and complying with
Chinese laws that require us to censor search results.… Based on what we know
today and what we see in China, we believe our decision to launch the Google.cn
service in addition to our Google.com service is a reasonable one, better for
Chinese users and better for Google.… Self-censorship, like that which we are
now required to perform in China, is something that conflicts deeply with our core
principles.… This was not something we did enthusiastically or something that
we’re proud of at all.
Should Google have entered this marketplace? If yes, under any condition? If no, should they be responsible for speaking out against censorship?