Google announced yesterday that it’s considering pulling out of China following a hacker attack. In a laudable move, Google also said that it would no longer censor its search results on Chinese version of the Google.
The question now is: will other companies follow Google’s lead in standing up to the Orwellian Chinese government? We asked Yahoo — which owns 40 percent of Alibaba, a company that manages a web portal in China using the Yahoo! brand name — if the company is considering stopping the censorship of search results as required by the Chinese government.
The answer, apparently, is no. In a statement reminiscent of the great Pontius Pilate, a spokeswoman for Yahoo wrote: “With respect to your question about our operations in China — Yahoo! sold its China business in 2005 to the Chinese company Alibaba, and while maintaining a 39% financial investment in Alibaba, we no longer have operational control or day-to-day management over the Yahoo! China business.” With just a measly 40 percent ownership — and your name, pointless exclamation and all, on the thing — it must be really difficult to get a word in edgewise with the management.
The spokeswoman noted that “Yahoo! is committed to protecting human rights, privacy and security. We condemn any attempts to infiltrate company networks to obtain user information. We stand aligned with Google that these kinds of attacks are deeply disturbing and strongly believe that the violation of user privacy is something that we as internet pioneers must all oppose.”
Thank goodness they're aligned in feeling "disturbed," if not in doing anything about it. We’re sure that Shi Tao agrees.
— Zusha Elinson