Jan 15, 2010

Chinese people showing support for Google

If you've not caught the story yet, Google is debating whether or not to pull out of China after some email accounts were breached by PRC government-sponsored hackers.

I took a spin by the Google China office in Beijing during my lunch to take some photos. Here's the Google China headquarters in Beijing, January 14, 2010.



This situation with Google in China is fascinating, because it is giving Chinese students and young professionals a unique chance to express their displeasure at government censorship. Many locals are taking the opportunity to show support for Google's decision to stand up to the bullying by the CPC. Lots of local Chinese are stopping by the Google headquarters building to leave notes, flowers, and even bottles of booze.

This display of support for Google is the closest thing you'll see to a protest by young people against the CPC within China. Everyone remembers the message the CPC sent loud and clear twenty years ago: protest too much, and we'll kill you. Not only that, but we'll harass your family if they decide to talk about what we've done.

Here's the famed Google China sign at their headquarters, as previously seen in the Wall Street Journal and other publications of note:




Some notes of support on top of the sign. There are some close-ups farther down the page:




A note that reads "再高的墙也无法隔开人心的距离google,bye 我们在墙外相见." (My translation: Higher walls can't divide popular feeling. Google, bye. We'll meet outside the wall.)




Close up of another note. The second line is the author's on line name.




This one says "Google freedom!". Chinese people are well aware that opposition to the CPC is dealt with swiftly and harshly, which would explain a preference to use a language other than Chinese to express their sentiments.




A handful of supporters and gawkers:







Some flowers, as well as that much-enjoyed alcohol from Beijing, Red Star brand erguotou. The bottle is empty, of course.




For now, this small tribute to Google is being left undisturbed and there seems to be no interference from the authorities. I would imagine that if the situation becomes too wild, the PRC Gestapo (国家安全部) will direct the police to limit access to the Google sign under the guise of public harmony.

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