Google and China

Rebecca MacKinnon offers a typically informed and intelligent comment on the Chinese decision to renew Google’s operating licence.

Since Chinese regulators don’t confide in me personally I can only speculate on their motivations. It seems that the pragmatists have prevailed over the ideologues in this case. If Google’s web license were to be denied, Google would be shut out of China completely. That sends a very negative message to the international business community, which is already concerned about China’s politicized business environment. Questions would be raised about barriers to trade. The problem could be taken to the governmental level at a time when the last thing the U.S. and China need is more cause for tension. Now that is in technical legal compliance and the uncensored search engine has been taken offshore out of mainland Chinese jurisdiction to Hong Kong where it is perfectly legal, it’s better for Chinese regulators to declare victory and allow Google to pursue business activities in China that do not run afoul of Chinese regulations: R&D, advertising sales, mobile operating platforms, etc.

Yep. It looks to me as though Google judged this one very astutely.