A commmentary written by Li Yeming, a science and technology writer, said that Google apologised to a writers’ association four days before it threatened to leave the Chinese market.
The Chinese Writers Association (CWA) accused Google of copyright infringement by scanning Chinese books without authorisation from their authors. Li said: “The CWA only represents 2,600 writers whose 8,000 books were scanned, while a great number of non-members whose works Google used without permission were not represented.”
The CWA is not mollified by the apology because Google didn’t admit any mistakes for scanning the books or take responsibility. The CWA believed the apology “lacked sincerity” – and the commentator believes the apology was “a tactic concession to avoid more lawsuits”. It thinks that if all the individuals that complained about Google Books individually sued the company, like one Chinese writer already has, Google would be overcome by litigation.
Interestingly, at the World Economic Forum (WEF) today, the CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, said his company did want to stay in China and objected to Chinese censorship rules. “We just don’t like censorship,” he said.
But the People’s Daily commentary puts it this way. “By now, it is absolutely impossible for the Chinese government to concede on the internet censors issue. Does Google really mean it to pull out of China?”