I’m quoted in today’s San Jose Mercury News in an article about the new Google China blog: “Google launches China blog a day before China hearing.” The reporter, Elise Ackerman, has just been assigned full-time to “Google” as a beat which she was really excited about. She phoned me late yesterday for an interview. Could hear her madly typing as we spoke, as she was on deadline. The story got a “weird edit” at the last minute, Elise said in an email this morning.

As in a, um, run-on sentence:

“Debbie Weil, author of the forthcoming “The Corporate Blogging Book:
Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get It Right
,” said the idea
was sound, but did not bring up the questions Google faced about its
dealings with China overshadowed what would otherwise be a chirpy
corporate branding effort.

[Update: the run-on was fixed.]

The point of the article is the rather odd timing of the launch of Google’s chirpy China blog one day before the contentious hearings in the House this week.

BTW, I agreed with Joe Nocera’s provocative column in yesterday’s New York Times about the hearing: Enough Shame to Go Around on China. His point:

Putting aside all the money to be made in China — which of course is
their [Cisco, Microsoft, Yahoo and Google’s] prime motive for being there — the companies make two fundamental
arguments. First, they say, no matter how hard China tries to block
information, it can’t block everything; clever hackers will find ways
around government filters and censors. Thus American technology, even
with the restrictions, is helping make China a freer place.

I still say this is a between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place issue — whether you look at it from a business perspective, or from a human rights & censorship perspective. If Google isn’t in China at all, then Chinese Internet users can’t use its search engine.

Note that Google is not offering Chinese Web users access to gmail or to blogger.com. And that search results which are filtered or censored are marked as such.

Does anyone know how to say “google it” in Chinese??

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