Google to end censorship in China; may pull out

Yesterday, Google released a detailed blog post discussing the decision to review its policy towards China after they uncovered cyber attacks on their corporate infrastructure. The attacks, Google say, were aimed at accessing the accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

Google said, “These attacks and the surveillance they have uncovered—combined with the attempts over the past year to further limit free speech on the web—have led us to conclude that we should review the feasibility of our business operations in China. We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down, and potentially our offices in China.”

Reportedly, this incident has been “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” as far as Google’s presence in China is concerned. Interestingly, Google has struggled to make a financial success of its Chinese operation and it trails the Chinese search engine Baidu by a significant margin.