Regardless of whether you think Google were acting entirely for altruistic reasons in pulling out of China, you have to at least accept that it takes some chutzpah to deliver a very public slap in the face to one of the most dictatorial governments on the planet.
All Things D has some interesting coverage on the pull-out, with the most notable article being the government requirements for reporting on the situation. As you would expect, it reads like a dictatorial manifesto of how people are allowed to think in this situation. People may decry that many western countries have slid more towards 1984’s Big Brother state following 9/11, but China is real proof of what a Big Brother state ultimately looks like.
A few choice excerpts are below.
Regarding forums, blogs and interactive media:
3. All websites please clean up text, images and sound and videos which attack the Party, State, government agencies, Internet policies with the excuse of this event.
4. All websites please clean up text, images and sound and videos which support Google, dedicate flowers to Google, ask Google to stay, cheer for Google and others have a different tune from government policy.
I find the use of “please” in such a directive immensely ironic!
Regarding actual “news”, if you can call such regulated reporting “news”:
4. Do not produce relevant topic pages; do not set discussion sessions; do not conduct related investigative reporting.
5. Online programs with experts and scholars on this matter must apply for permission ahead of time. This type of self-initiated program production is strictly forbidden.
There’s a bunch of other requirements that I’ll let you read yourself.