Google - wash your mouth out with soap

I was astonished to see the mighty Google - which only last week repelled the US Justice Department's attempts to gain access to a week's worth of its search records, launching Google.cn, its new Chinese search engine.

As has been widely reported elsewhere, Google - whose motto is `do no evil' - has set up a Chinese version of its search engine in close co-operation with the Chinese government.

The Chinese version of Google is censored, and does not permit punters to view sites that are politically sensitive (as far as the Chinese government are concerned), such as the Falun Gong, Tibet and the Dalai Lama.

The search engine details the fact that some results of its searches have been censored and reroutes users to Chinese government approved information, rather than returning an open search.

Initially I was disgusted with Google's moral climbdown on its Chinese portal, then I gradually came to understand why the company had kow-towed to the Chinese government.

Then I read a leader in Thursday's edition of the Daily Telegraph, which brought home to me China's DISGRACEFUL record on human rights, political suppression and the like, and the track record of US companies wanting to do business in China, and their willingness to compromise on their ideals.

Bottom line? Clearly it's money that Google are after; everything else is secondary.

I wonder what Google's founders - who classed themselves as idealist anarchists (whatever that means) back in the 1990s - really think about this situation...

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