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China Renews Google's Content Provider License

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the careful-dance-with-the-devil dept.

Google 64

snydeq writes "The Chinese government has renewed Google's Internet Content Provider license (announcement), enabling the company to continue to provide Web search and other local products to users in China. If Google had been unable to renew its license, it could have meant the end of the company's operations in China, leaving search engine rival Baidu to dominate the market. Last week Google began making efforts to win over Chinese officials. Rather than automatically redirecting Google.cn visitors to Google's Hong Kong search engine (a strategy the Chinese government found unacceptable), the company now sends visitors to a 'landing page' where they can choose to click on a link leading to the Hong Kong site, or stay to use unfiltered services such as music or text translation."

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Not much of a change (3, Interesting)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850630)

It's funny how an automatic redirect isn't acceptable, whereas the current landing page approach really just requires one extra click. And the redirect button fills most of the screen (and looks like a search window, so you think you're clicking in the box to put your cursor there and type something, but it's actually a link).

http://google.cn/ [google.cn] if you want to check it out for yourself.

So subtle a difference, really, from a practical point of view. Yet this is acceptable where the other approach wasn't.

Re:Not much of a change (2, Interesting)

sv_libertarian (1317837) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850678)

The pseudo-communists in China need to save face somehow; it's all about appearances. Who knows, if they were pissed at google, they probably would have ordered the word purged from their language or something stupid like that.

Re:Not much of a change (1)

BhaKi (1316335) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850734)

I've always wondered why they don't change the name of their party to something like "Totalitarian Capitalist Party of China". Your post explains it.

Re:Not much of a change (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851264)

The correct name for the Communist Party of China would be the Fascist Party of China. It is only a minor change, but it is easier for fascists to pretend to be capitalists than for communists (communists pretend that "the people" control the means of production while government officials really do, fascists pretend that "industrialists" control the means of production while the same government officials acutally do).

Re:Not much of a change (3, Interesting)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851666)

The is nothing democratic about capitalism at all. Fascists do not need to pretend they are capitalists; they are capitalists. Fascism is the logical extension of corporatism, developed as the capitalist friendly answer to the socialistic theories of class conflict. In essence, Fascism is "those who owns the means of production, also control the state". This is to establish harmony in the different sectors of society in order to further the agendas of those that own the means of production.

The idea of democracy that the state is answerable to the populace, and that really has nothing to do with private enterprise at all. It is possible to have a social democracy for example but not a fascist democracy. Socialism by definition does not require authoritarianism, but fascism and communism does.

Re:Not much of a change (1)

FourthAge (1377519) | more than 4 years ago | (#32855522)

I respectfully beg to differ. Capitalism is democracy because all the power lies in the hands of the people. They have the money, they make the choices. Although some individuals and corporations have a larger slice than others, most of the money is in the hands of average people, who vastly outnumber the rich.

The most successful lie of Marxism is the notion that only the very rich are really "capitalists". Not so. Everyone is a capitalist. Everyone fits into both of the classically Marxist roles of "worker" and "exploiter".

Finally, regarding Fascism. Under Mussolini, history's only true Fascist, the government wasn't controlled by the corporations. It was the other way around. Mussolini was not a capitalist: private companies had free reign only to do as he said. Sometimes we call this "state capitalism", because the state acts as a corporation, with all the conventional corporations as wholly-owned subsidiaries.

Re:Not much of a change (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32856080)

Not exactly. Capitalism is not the same as free markets.

Capitalism is the idea that private enterprise control the means of production. Labor is not capital so there is no way that a worker that doesn't own any means of production would be a capitalist! I mean, she could subscribe to capitalism, but in no way is she a capitalist.

Furthermore, Marxism (thankfully) does not define capitalism, but merely presents a caricaturisation of it to further its own agenda.

Capitalism is a system which tends towards a small subset of the population controlling the means of production for the majority of the population. Look at the wealth distribution of all the self-identified capitalist nations and then tell me with a straight face that wealth is owned by the "people". Wealth distribution is heavily skewed, just check the latest GINI co-efficient figures. In most countries, 10% of people own more than half of total wealth.

Here, you have two choices to quell civil unrest; redistribute wealth by public policy (eg. taxation, public education, welfare), or; enforce authoritarian government to establish social order.

It is up to those with influence (read: money) to chose. Whether for self-preservation they would agree to be governed in a way which their wealth is redistributed for the social good, or, whether to take power themselves to enforce social order.

Fascism is a sub-case of the latter. It's really quite simple. Mussolini didn't force the capitalists. They colluded with him!

Re:Not much of a change (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#32855770)

You do not understand capitalism. In capitalism, each individual decides the value of goods and services and whether or not they will use their resources to obtain a particular set of goods and services based on what value others place on those goods and services. For example, If I desire X and value it at $100 and you can supply X, but value it at $200, I will not obtain X (at least not from you). If on the other hand, I desire Y and value it at $500 and you possess Y, but only value it at $200 I will obtain it. Additionally, it is possible that I will pay $350. In this latter case we both make out. I got Y for $150 less than I valued it for and you sold it for $150 more than you valued it for.

On the other hand in both fascism and communism, the value of goods and services is determined by the group (in theory, in practice this ends up being the government). For example, If I desire Y and value it at $500 and you can provide Y and value it at $200, but the government values it at $100, I cannot obtain Y from you (at least not legally).
Socialism lets each individual decide the value of goods and services unless the group determines that they are important, then the group (the government) pays the difference between what providers of a good or service value it at and what consumers of that good or service value it at. In the long run this a completely unsustainable model.

Re:Not much of a change (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 4 years ago | (#32856200)

First, let me assure you that I do have a sound grasp of basic microeconomic theory.

Now, on to your post, what you are talking about is not capitalism, but rather on intervention of governments (ie. laissez-faire) in markets. Specifically what you described is a price ceiling.

Government intervention has it's problems, however, also keep in mind the market can also be distorted absent government intervention (eg. lack of information, concentration of market power, perfectly inelastic demand).

The solution to these ills? Well, often it is government intervention (eg, consumer regulation, antitrust, nationalization, etc.)

It's all quite complicated, really.

Re:Not much of a change (1)

grainofsand (548591) | more than 4 years ago | (#32857362)

What is always lost and / or forgotten in these discussions is that communism is not a state that is achieved instantly. A nation cannot become "communist" overnight. Marx described a long road of transformation towards a communist state. Marx also said that states had to experience lesser models such as capitalism before they could arrive at the communist model.

The Chinese president has said on a number of occasions that China remains on the road to communism but that it may take a further 35-50 years before the PRC arrives at communism. The name of the party reflects that ambition.

Re:Not much of a change (4, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850698)

China is like the Apple App store. Its always some stupid tiny detail that keeps you from getting in the store. And even if you get approved 1 week you could be taken out the next.

Re:Not much of a change (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32850804)

Troll. How is this even on topic? Must we listen to this in EVERY thread on slashdot?

China is like the Apple App store. Its always some stupid tiny detail that keeps you from getting in the store. And even if you get approved 1 week you could be taken out the next.

Re:Not much of a change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32850882)

As opposed to the 94% of threads that specifically are Apple related, you mean?

Re:Not much of a change (0, Offtopic)

jfoobaz (1844794) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850808)

Insightful? Really? All it takes is some half-assed analogy to Apple for the Slashmods to find something insightful?

Re:Not much of a change (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850902)

I was going for the simultaneous +1 snarky and -1 omgflamer

Give it some time - I may get up and downmodded like a roller coaster soon. It makes a slow morning more entertaining.

Re:Not much of a change (0, Offtopic)

jfoobaz (1844794) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851172)

You have my respect, sir.

Re:Not much of a change (4, Interesting)

hackerjoe (159094) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850950)

Because it's apt. As much as people like to paint the Chinese government as a cartoon evil, for the most part they're more of a fumbling, incomprehensible bureaucracy, just like every other government. I've watched people at my company deal with the same kind of stuff, trying to meet government requirements for online software, and the distinct impression I got was of jumping through arbitrary hoops.

The Chinese government is still doing some scary things, but it's not like 30 years ago, that's for sure.

Re:Not much of a change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32852974)

China is like the Apple App store. Its always some stupid tiny detail that keeps you from getting in the store. And even if you get approved 1 week you could be taken out the next.

Two small corrections to this post: instead of "China," it should read "A woman." And instead of "the store," it should read "her pants." Sorry for the errors.

Re:Not much of a change (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850738)

So subtle a difference, really, from a practical point of view. Yet this is acceptable where the other approach wasn't.

Yeah since it's not really buying China much I see it more as a demonstration that at any point in time China can force Google China to do whatever it wants. Google.hk is (NSFW) unfiltered [google.com.hk] so now the Chinese government has made the user take an extra click to get to the search box that produces unfiltered results. I bet it has more to do with a display of dominance and control than any real effective censorship concerns. Baidu remains ahead of the curve and actively pleases the government to maintain a facade of faux independence but is really just kowtowing in advance. Either way they're both obeying. If you are a Chinese National and are loyal to the current Chinese government, your selection of search engine is perhaps influenced by these two distinct images.

Re:Not much of a change (2, Interesting)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851634)

If you are a Chinese National and are loyal to the current Chinese government, your selection of search engine is perhaps influenced by these two distinct images.

That's an interesting point, might I also add that you might be influenced to choose Baidu over Google in fear of being branded as someone who wishes to access the unfiltered internet.

Re:Not much of a change (3, Interesting)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850862)

I can't say for sure, but my gut feeling is that China is genuinely trying to change to allow for more freedom. Last 20 years have proven that so far.

What most people don't realize is that with self re-enforcing totalitarian regimes, there's a lot of political and bureaucratic momentum that can take generations to blunt. No single person wants to put their head on the chopping block. But as a whole, I think most people in China want a more westernized system. You only get full democracies over-night with a revolution. But you won't get that with China. With this country, change will happen very slowly as it is now.

What I'm saying in short is this. If China was serious about maintaining an iron fist, Google would have been kicked out long ago! In fact, China is trying to tell the world "read between the lines". We want freedom, but we're sure as hell not going to make it obvious.

Re:Not much of a change (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851034)

What I'm saying in short is this. If China was serious about maintaining an iron fist, Google would have been kicked out long ago!

Google had initially agreed to filtered search results inside China. It wasn't until they vocally said they were planning to stop filtering that China threatened to kick them out. Google has played ball up to this point and that's why they haven't been kicked out. Your reasoning makes no sense.

In fact, China is trying to tell the world "read between the lines". We want freedom, but we're sure as hell not going to make it obvious.

Judging by the near constant stream of news from Reporters without Borders [rsf.org] I'd have to disagree with you.

Re:Not much of a change (3, Insightful)

billtom (126004) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851688)

I'll have to disagree with you there. The Communist Party of China absolutely wants to retain political control over China.

The problem they face, which causes things like the Google situation, is that they in order to avoid large scale revolt, they need to maintain a high economic growth rate. And totalitarian economies aren't particularly good at getting economies to grow. So the Party is trying to have a sort-of free market economy while still denying the Chinese people political choice.

But having economic freedom but not political freedom naturally creates friction and strange situations. Like the Google one.
 

Re:Not much of a change (1)

nobodie (1555367) | more than 4 years ago | (#32872330)

this as good a description as you can give to the situation here without actually explaining it. The problem is that without being here you can't understand it, and if you are here it is not comprehensible as well. Living here we just go along without understanding, and so we glide through the confusion. You guys and girls want understanding when there is no real understanding that has any value.

Too big to be killed (2, Informative)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 4 years ago | (#32852126)

China could have just cut off google.com.hk like it's doing for thousands of small HK sites, but they don't. Being a totalitarian does not mean it can ignore public opinion. Google is a PR hot potato for the Chinese officials, because it is too big and famous. If a smaller site tried that, it would be crushed without anybody noticing.

Now that the PR officials can maintain sites under their supervision remains clean without dealing with public outcry while the search results are continued to be filtered, by the Great Firewall. Google can claim their results "unfiltered" and appease to a whole crowd, while giving up only a little usability (and effective market share.)

For us average netizen, the lesson is not that China is softening. The lesson is, once again, if you are big enough you can have a lot of power, including the power to bargain with another big guy.

Re:Not much of a change (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851730)

Aw, they get little popup critters under their search bar... I want some of those!

Difference is it is an punishable user act (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32852116)

Do you really think the difference between automatic redirect and manual clicking of link is small? If you click the link, it means you are a bad citizen and deserve to be put on a troublemaker list for later prosecution/harassment/execution. If everyone is redirected, you don't get this flagging mechansim.

Re:Not much of a change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32852894)

google.cn/search redirects to google.come.hk with the same search string. I actually cant figure out how to search using google.cn to get the fancy filtered results. Even if you go to product search and click on "web search" at the top left it redirects you to google.com.hk.

Re:Not much of a change (2, Informative)

dUN82 (1657647) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853002)

This the the Chinese way of doing things, it's not about what you do, but the gesture of doing things.

Ahso Google eats China Dick !!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32850660)

Eat that dick google !!!!

pulling out? (1)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850672)

So...whatever happened to Google pulling out of China entirely?

Re:pulling out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32850750)

Google no longer filters the internet according to the PRC's policies. That's why Google.cn has to redirect to the Hong Kong site. Google did pull out of China in that Google.cn has been de facto shut down and now redirects.

Re:pulling out? (2, Informative)

zarzu (1581721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850838)

well they pulled out in the sense that they are no longer censoring things. i don't think they ever announced that the will fully pull out, their hope always (well, after they stopped complying with censorship at least) was to continue the full service without censoring. weirdly enough they now seem to have a deal that accomplishes exactly what they want. i say weirdly because you can practically click any where on the google.cn page and you will be sent to the hong kong one, where you can actually search. this makes chinas censorship look like a joke, providing that the com.hk address isn't blocked by them (but i guess it isn't).

Re:pulling out? (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851060)

It's hard to pull out when you're on to a good thing

So is this... (0, Flamebait)

ap7 (963070) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850806)

...a License to Evil?

And this is important... (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850858)

...in what significant way? Really, I don't understand this: Why is it that everytime Google farts, it gets posted here? There are so many more /.-worthy stories out there. But, day after day, we get stuck with Google's mundane business laundry. For the love of , let's get back to true news for nerds...

Re:And this is important... (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850894)

google is a MARKETING machine, even though the marketing is nerd-based.

while they are nothing more than a glorified advertising company, they spin it such that people here think they piss champagne.

but as long as there are 'oh! shiny!' things from google, the dark-side will continue to be ignored.

I've definitely had my fill of 'google news'. wish there was a way to filter this google noise out from slash stories. just plain SICK AND TIRED of this PR engine's spin.

Re:And this is important... (2, Insightful)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850932)

Despite tensions, the worlds largest search engine is NOT getting kicked out of the worlds largest internet using country. The implications of which involve tech, politics, freedom of speech...

If that's not Nerd News I don't know what is.

If you're hungry for interesting stuff that doesn't make the front page take a drink from the Firehose.
http://slashdot.org/firehose.pl [slashdot.org]

Re:And this is important... (1)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853254)

Based upon the low comment count (48 as of this post), I would have to say that the majority of /. readers don't find Google business news exactly "news for nerds."

Re:And this is important... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32854584)

This censorship thing has been posted way too many times. I believe many of us have run out of ideas.

Re:And this is important... (1)

Major Blud (789630) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850940)

"And this is important...in what significant way?"

In the way that it's the largest search engine getting to stay in the largest search market in the world. Maybe these things aren't important to you, but I think that the outcome of this would have a large impact on the tech industry as a whole.

Re:And this is important... (5, Interesting)

Andy Dodd (701) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850990)

Because Google has pretty much said "fuck you" (in far more polite terms) to a major world superpower when most world governments are afraid to do so.

Let's face it - The one thing the Chinese really didn't want was unfiltered search results, and Google is still providing that, just in a somewhat indirect manner.

Re:And this is important... (-1, Troll)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851192)

Because Google has pretty much said "fuck you" (in far more polite terms) to a major world superpower when most world governments are afraid to do so.

But wait -- as early as January of this year Google was still censoring its search results. [mysinchew.com] And the only reason why Google decided that censorship was not in its best interests is due to the Google hacks that were uncovered early this year. Do you really believe Google said "fuck you" out of the goodness of their collective hearts? Reality proves otherwise: What goes on in China affects Google's bottom line, and since censorship was no longer profitable for them, they decided to become "good citizens."

Re:And this is important... (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851824)

and since censorship was no longer profitable for them, they decided to become "good citizens.

If this was so cut and dry, why the hell are other companies like Bing and Yahoo! still censoring in China? Are the rules of business somehow different for Bing and Yahoo! ? If it's profitable for Google to become "good citizens" as you put it, are you implying that Bing and Yahoo! are bad citizens, and that they're doing it even if it's unprofitable?

Re:And this is important... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32854470)

So the Google fanboys moderate the facts down...go figure...

Re:And this is important... (1)

Aron S-T (3012) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851632)

Or one can say Google continues to co-operate with Chinese censorship just making it slightly easier to get around for those who will make the effort not to use the default (and who would likely know how to get around the censorship anyway). Give up business with China or mollify authorities - not a tough choice for yet another big corporation.

Re:And this is important... (1)

Hermanas (1665329) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851902)

The one thing the Chinese really didn't want was unfiltered search results, and Google is still providing that, just in a somewhat indirect manner.

Well, I'm in the said country now - and clicking on the link to google.com.hk simply redirects you to a page that cannot be displayed. So, if by 'indirect' you mean 'not at all', then yes, I agree.

Re:And this is important... (1)

tyrione (134248) | more than 4 years ago | (#32854456)

Because Google has pretty much said "fuck you" (in far more polite terms) to a major world superpower when most world governments are afraid to do so.

Let's face it - The one thing the Chinese really didn't want was unfiltered search results, and Google is still providing that, just in a somewhat indirect manner.

Do some research. Google's claim of unfiltered searching is pre-mature.

Re:And this is important... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32851642)

You are frustrated because you don't have a GOOG stock option package so you can die in envy!!!! Now stock is racing all the way up and I AM GETTING RICHER!!!! More money, more cars, more women....

Google Good Idea (1)

helix2301 (1105613) | more than 4 years ago | (#32850878)

I figured Google would eventually go back into China it's a growing market for the search engine industry.

Re:Google Good Idea (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851424)

Well, if they didn't keep Google in China, who else would they steal ideas from? MSFT? pfft...

Now their license has been renewed (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851468)

They can put the automatic transfer back until just before the next renewal

Re:Now their license has been renewed (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851876)

Since this is China and since the Chinese government answers to no-one, the government can revoke Google's license any time they choose to.

China saved face (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851748)

I think that China decided that the removal of Google would hurt their economy and reputation too much. They just used the "new approach" of the redirect page as an excuse.

Google does not oppose Chinese policy (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#32851958)

They never did. They only bluster to pacify the rest of us who do. It's all about appearances.

ho-hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32852596)

When money is on the table, Google will bow and scrape before Beijing as well. Google was just appeasing its' core markert which consists of ignorant liberal kool-aid drinkers like your average slashdotters. Enjoy voicing clueless uninformed opinions

leaving search engine rival Baidu to dominate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32853030)

I thought baidu do dominate the market.

Coincidence? (1)

stabiesoft (733417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32853234)

US decides not to call china a currency manipulator & google gets a license renewed. Nah, couldn't be.

If you claim "Google must follow the laws"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32854898)

...of whatever country they are in, you implicitly agree that such laws there or anywhere are legitimate. You cannot bitch about the Patriot Act, DMCA, etc, because after all, "its the law"! If you must blindly follow the law in China, you must also blindly follow it here.

redirect after the redirect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32857050)

I'm in China now (8:30am July 10th) and get redirected from the .cn to the .hk domain as advertised. However, when I try to do a search on google.com.hk I get redirected AGAIN to bjdns6.cncmax.cn, which puts "encrypted.google.com.hk" into a Baidu search box.

Google Wimped Out (1)

dysonlu (907935) | more than 4 years ago | (#32858006)

It's just amazing how Westerners in general and Americans in particular view this latest event as a win for Google and see China just wanted to "save face". Reality is the redirect to google.com.hk did NOTHING at all in terms of bypassing censorship -- users in China couldn't even go there! It's just a smokescreen for us Westerners aiming to give the image of a righteous Google rebelling against China censorship (and judging by the comments here, that smokescreen worked marvelously). Bottom line is Google wimped out by once again offering filtered Google search results to Chinese users -- they follow the money as any company would do. Equally amazing is some people believing that China had more to lose than Google in this "standoff". In the grand scheme of things, Google is practically insignificant to China's economy whereas, to Google, China is the biggest yet-to-be-conquered market on the planet. This goes to show that, often times, media manipulation and propaganda are much more effective than censorship.

Re:Google Wimped Out (1)

DCaddict (1852908) | more than 4 years ago | (#32859636)

As someone currently across the Great Firewall, I can tell you that google.com.hk is definitely accessible to the mainland Chinese.
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