Google has moved to Hong Kong after it had threatened to leave the Chinese market completely after a spate of cyber attacks.  It means one of the world’s most prominent corporations is saying it is no longer willing to co-operate in China’s censorship of the internet.  Yours truly has picked up the following chatter while recently in Beijing, Hong Kong and Thailand:

The most telling of the sentiments in China was a cartoon which showed Google, as a thief with a sack of loot on his back, jumping from a cruise liner (China) onto a small rowing boat (Hong Kong), which was tethered by a chain to the cruise liner. 

The Chinese government has attacked Google’s decision to abandon censoring search results and for redirecting users in mainland China to its unrestricted Hong Kong site.  Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters that Google’s move was an isolated act by a commercial company and should not affect China-US ties “unless politicized” by others.  Earlier an official in the Chinese government office which oversees the internet said: “Google has violated its written promise it made when entering the Chinese market by stopping filtering its searching service and blaming China in insinuation for alleged hacker attacks.”

“Google’s exit a deliberate plot:  Google’s withdrawal is not a purely commercial act. The incident has from the beginning been implicated in Washington’s political games with China. A few days before Google made its announcement, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton lavishly praised US Internet companies for their role in helping the Obama administration realize its foreign policies, at a lunch with chief executives of Google, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.”  [Comment in the China Daily]. 

The White House said it was “disappointed” that Google and China had not been able to resolve their differences

BIIA Newsletter April I – 2010 Issue