Posted March 22, 2010 9:56 am by with 5 comments

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Is Google about to cause a revolution in China?

Seriously! Could Google’s decision to pull out from China become the wake-up call that Chinese citizens have been waiting for? Could they be willing to revolt against their communist heritage and demand democracy and free speech?

OK, maybe not, but that’s not stopped a few Chinese "netizens" from publishing a very stern open letter to both Google and China. The letter calls for answers to such questions as:

  • Did Google meet the requirements of Chinese law in censoring material related to porn, violence, and gambling?
  • How were the Chinese government’s censorship demands communicated to Google? From which ministry? According to what legal processes? Were there any mechanisms for correcting mistakes or channels for appeal?
  • What content did the Chinese government require Google to self-censor? Aside from sex, violence and gambling, what else was included? How was the censorship decided for topics such as mining disasters, the brick kiln slave children, Yilishen, violent evictions, Sanlu milk powder, Deng Yujiao, the governor’s confiscation of a journalist’s recorder, the Shanxi vaccine scandal, and other incidents? We cannot accept violation of the public’s right to access such public interest information.

There’s a long laundry list of demands by the authors, but just when you think that they’re willing to stand their ground, the whole letter seems to concede defeat with an acceptance of censorship but with a request for some new guidelines.

Of course, this letter’s not so much an open letter to the Chinese government–seriously, does anyone think the government will respond?–but a list of talking points that might help Google win further public support. It will be interesting to see if Google responds or at least starts picking up on some of these talking points.