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Chinese New Year 4708: Year of the Google February 14, 2010

Posted by friedgreenbananafish in Around the Blogosphere.
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Last year, on the 20th anniversary of the massacre of Tiananmen Square, something “strange” happened in China.

TV screens went black, pages were ripped from magazines, and computers flashed HTTP 404 error messages.

The country experienced a media blackout.  There was no way the Chinese government was going to let its citizens commemorate the anniversary of its most shameful moment in history.

But there was a small light that managed to shine through the darkness.  Social media

According to blogger Michael Anti, censors in China aren’t equipped to screen out the flow of this user-created information.  He says they “need time to figure out what it is.”

Photo: Xinhua Photo

Fast forward to 2010 and internet giant Google rebuking China for hacking into its citizen’s Gmail accounts.

So far, Google has bowed to the sleeping dragon, scrubbing its Chinese version of controversial images.  But not anymore.

Google is stepping up its game.   If the Chinese government won’t allow them to provide the same search results they do in other countries, the company is threatening to leave China – and give up nearly $1 billion a year to prove their point. 

And after a recent speech on internet censorship made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, it seems Google has chosen the right time to do so.

There are critics of Google’s decision.  Some say it’s a PR scheme, or a cover-up for the fact that Chinese hackers actually got into Gmail’s source code.

But with 92% of Chinese citizens using social media, the country is emerging from behind the Iron Curtain, whether the powers that be like it or not.

The People’s Republic is using technology in ways never imagined by the generation that witnessed the events of Tiananmen Square.

It’s time for a revolution.  And this new year will show us just how far it can go.