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‘Memories of Soviet repression spurred Google to quit China’

Last Updated: Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 15:42

Melbourne: Google co-founder Sergey Brin`s dramatic decision to close the search engine’s operations in China was linked to the compromises he had to make in the erstwhile native Soviet Union to do business.
The Australian quoted Brin, as saying that the beginning of that change came just after the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

As the glow of the Olympics faded, he said, the Chinese government began cranking up its web censorship and interfering more with Google`s business.

Around that time, he said, the murky rules of doing business in China grew even murkier.

"China was ever-present. One out of five meetings I attended had some component that applied to China in a different way than other countries," Brin said.

Brin said growing evidence in China of repressive behaviour he remembered from the Soviet Union, which he and his parents fled when he was six years old, also moved him.

He said memories of that time - having his home visited by Russian police; the anti-Semitic discrimination against his father - emboldened his view that it was time to abandon Google`s policy.

China has "made great strides against poverty and what not," Brin said.

On January 12, Google said it would stop self-censoring its search engine in China, citing cyber-attacks it believes were motivated by an attempt to spy on Chinese activists` e-mails.

On Monday, Google implemented that policy, routing mainland users of its search engine to a site in Hong Kong that the company wasn`t censoring.


First Published: Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 15:42

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