Society

Google prepared to leave China

By Tan Yingzi (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2010-03-11 10:10
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WASHINGTON -- A second Google executive said on Wednesday that the company had not changed its decision to stop censoring its Chinese language search site and it was prepared to shut down the website if necessary.

"We are no longer willing to censor our search results in China, and we are currently reviewing our options," Google vice president and deputy general counsel Nicole Wong said in her testimony before the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee.

"If the option is that we'll shutter our .cn operation and leave the country, we are prepared to do that."

Wong added that the company would do it in an "appropriate and responsible way," that it has "hundreds of employees on the ground" and understands "the seriousness or the sensitivity" of its decision but "we will stop censoring" search results in China.

At the congressional hearing on "The Google Predicament: Transforming US Cyberspace Policy to Advance Democracy, Security and Trade," the Google executive said they had found out those attacks came from China but they were not going to say "who is carrying out these attacks" and they would hope the Chinese government would work with the US officials to investigate the issue.

She also told the lawmakers that the decision to review the business operation in China was made by the executives in the US, "without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China."

After the hearing, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs Howard L. Berman told reporters that the US government should "think more carefully" before jumping into bilateral sanctions over the Google issue.

"First we try diplomatic engagement," he said. "Our ambassador in Beijing and other diplomatic persons are engaging with Chinese government over these issues. And we should look at the current trade agreements in WTO to see in what extent practice is going on in terms of violating the agreements. All of these are steps issues."

Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said Wednesday at a media conference in Abu Dhabi that the discussion with China will yield results soon, according to Bloomberg.

“We decided not to publicize our dealings with China,” he said. “We’re in active talks with the Chinese government, and we have no specific timetable, but something will happen soon."