Former Nanjing University professor Guo Quan is suing Google for excising his name from its local search results. On December 26 of last year Guo announced the creation of the New Democracy Party, dedicated to ending China’s “one party dictatorship” [his words] and introducing multi-party elections. “We must join the global trend,” Mr. Guo said. “China must move toward a democratic system.”
This brave act was ignored by the foreign press—with the honorable exception of the London Financial Times which put the story on the front page. No western politicians spoke out. But western internet corporations took note and expunged any reference. Baidu, a Chinese search company (NASDAQ listed), has deleted Mr. Guo and the New Democracy Party, as has the Chinese subsidiary of Yahoo!.
In the past, Google has stated that it would inform users when searches were censored, using the message that material has been removed “in accordance with local laws, rules, and policies.” But when a reporter searched Chinese Google for Professor Guo yesterday, the message was “The information you searched for cannot be accessed.”
Perhaps American editorial writers and politicians can take a cue from the open letter in which Professor Guo announced his law suit.
To make money, Google has become a servile Pekingese dog wagging its tail at the heels of the Chinese communists . . . Baidu 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.
As for Google, “Speaking through a public relations representative, Google China said yesterday that it would not comment on political or censorship issues.”
This will not be the end of the story. The quest for freedom and the internet are both powerful forces. They are transforming the world. If the West would cease cooperating so closely with Beijing, those forces would have a better chance of transforming China too.