Dissident Betrayed as Google Again Bends Knee to China's Rulers

05 February 2008


BEIJING: Guo Quan, a former Nanjing university professor who late last year formed the New Democracy Party, dedicated to ending China's "one-party dictatorship", is to sue Google for allegedly transforming him into an Orwellian 'non-person' by removing all traces of his name from its Chinese site's search results.

Guo wrote an open letter to the world's press denouncing Google for its craven pandering to the Chinese communist regime and declaring his intention to sue the multi-billion dollar corporation.

Wrote Guo: "To make money, Google has become a servile Pekinese dog wagging its tail at the heels of the Chinese Communists."

Referring to locally-owned Baidu, China's largest indigenous search engine, Guo continued: "It is a Chinese company, so I can understand how it is coerced by the Chinese communist party. But Google follows the party's orders even though it is a US company, so I'm suing."

After previous rows about bending its knee to the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China (a group of five to nine people who make all decisions of national importance), Google promised to inform users when it censored searches via a message stating that results have been removed "in accordance with local laws, rules and policies".

But according to the Financial Times, keying Guo's name into google.cn on Friday produced no such message. Merely a curt: "The information you searched for cannot be accessed. Please go back to google.cn and seek other information."

The lawsuit against Google will be filed in the US, brought by a friend acting on Guo's behalf. Google China, via the mouthpiece of a local PR agency, refused all comment on the matter.  

China-watchers report that the People's Paradise has recently tightened its censorship screws on the internet and other local media, so as to stifle political dissent in advance of the Olympics in August.

Another casualty of the oppression, Hu Jia, a prominent civil rights campaigner, was arrested last week on subversion charges. The arrest follows over a month's dentention and, before that, house arrest. Neither his lawyer nor his wife have been allowed to visit him. 

"Those who would sup with the devil need a long spoon," counsels the old proverb.

While students of pious hypocrisy will enjoy item six in Sergey and Larry's famed list of Google's ten business principles: "You can make money without doing evil."

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff