- Chinese state media ran a comment piece on Monday welcoming Google back to China – as long as it plays by Chinese rules.
- But all versions of the People’s Daily post were abruptly deleted from the internet as of Tuesday.
- The post followed reports that Google was planning to relaunch a search service in mainland China, complete with government censorship.
- The writer of the piece also said that Google had missed out on “golden chances” to gain a foothold in mainland China when it pulled its search services out of the country in 2010.
Chinese state media published, and later deleted, a comment piece saying that Google was welcome to return to China as long as it complied with Chinese rules.
The post, published on People’s Daily newspaper on Monday, responded to a recent report by The Intercept that Google, which pulled out of mainland China in 2010, was planning to relaunch a search service in mainland China, complete with government censorship.
The original People’s Daily post is no longer available but a cached version can be found here. Why and when exactly it was taken down is not clear.
The text of the commentary was also posted on Twitter and Facebook, but those were also deleted as of Tuesday morning,as pointed out by Li Yuan, The New York Times’ Asia tech columnist.
The author, identified as Yu Ning, said: “Google is welcome to return to the mainland, but it’s a prerequisite that it must comply with the requirements of the law.”
It continued: “Google failed to understand the Chinese market eight years ago. Whether and when it can return hinges on its own attitude. Only by respecting local laws and regulations and following local customs can multinational companies win local consumers and the market.”
Yu added that by pulling out of China in 2010, Google had missed out on “golden chances” to gain a footing in China’s then-nascent internet market.
Yu wrote: “The decision to exit the Chinese market was a huge blunder, which made the company miss golden chances in the mainland’s internet development,” before noting that the number of Chinese on the internet had massively increased since then.
Google pulled its search service out of China in 2010 because it refused to censor its search results. It moved its Chinese operations to Hong Kong. Google search is mostly inaccessible due to China’s “Great Firewall,” which blocks many foreign internet services.
Chinese tech companies routinely ban posts and keywords used to criticise or undermine the Chinese state. In an extreme example, popular microblogging and chat platforms Weibo and WeChat briefly censored the letter N earlier this year after it was used to criticise a plan that paved the way for Xi Jinping to rule the country indefinitely.
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