Roger L. Simon

Google Does the Right Thing on the China Front

This blog and others have had plenty of criticism lately of internet titans Microsoft, Yahoo and Google enabling the totalitarian impulses of the Chinese regime. Some of this criticism may have gotten through. Google, at least, is hearing the message and resisting the autocrats in Beijing. From science-oriented Physorg.com:

Mainland media control over Chinese-language content took a blow Wednesday with state press claiming rage after Mountain View, Calif.-based Internet giant Google removed referrals to Taiwan as a province.

Chinese media reports said “Google.com, world’s largest Internet search engine, deleted the words ‘Taiwan, a province of the People’s Republic of China’ on a map of Taiwan linked to its maps search engine maps.google.com. This has drawn rage from Chinese officials and the people.”

The people? Which people, exactly? No one is saying. Meanwhile, from our friends at Xinhua:

Google made the changes “under pressure of extremists in Taiwan’s pan-Green camp (a pro-independence alliance between the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the hard-line Taiwan Solidarity Union party),” Xinhua reported.

But, as the Maoists say, two steps forward, one step backwards. Don’t expect Google to exactly lead the charge on the democracy front.

Company spokeswoman Debbie Frost claims the changes were just a “regular update” of all of the site’s map pages, not a deliberate effort targeting the Taiwan page.