Andrew McLaughlin, Google’ senior policy counsel, expounds on Google.cn in, I think, a thoughtful and sensitive manner, below. (I await what will surely be an equally-thoughful response from Rebecca MacKinnon.) [What is it with these Berkman-Scotsment and the Internets?]
At Google we work hard to create a great experience for our users, and the level of service we’ve been able to provide in China is not something we’re proud of.
This problem could only be resolved by creating a local presence, and this week we did so, by launching Google.cn, … This wasn’t an easy choice, but in the end, we believe the course of action we’ve chosen will prove to be the right one.
…For several years, we’ve debated whether entering the Chinese market at this point in history could be consistent with our mission and values. …We ultimately reached our decision by asking ourselves which course would most effectively further Google’s mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally useful and accessible. Or, put simply: how can we provide the greatest access to information to the greatest number of people?
…We aren’t happy about what we had to do this week, and we hope that over time everyone in the world will come to enjoy full access to information. But how is that full access most likely to be achieved? We are convinced that the Internet, and its continued development through the efforts of companies like Google, will effectively contribute to openness and prosperity in the world. Our continued engagement with China is the best (perhaps only) way for Google to help bring the tremendous benefits of universal information access to all our users there…
We’re in this for the long haul. In the years to come, we’ll be making significant and growing investments in China.