Googling Yourself Is Dangerous in China


Li Changchun not pictured

…but mostly for Google.

More fun with the Wikileaks cables and some lessons on the dangers of vanity Googling by powerful men, from this weekend's New York Times:

As China ratcheted up the pressure on Google to censor its Internet searches last year, the American Embassy sent a secret cable to Washington detailing one reason top Chinese leaders had become so obsessed with the Internet search company: they were Googling themselves.

The May 18, 2009, cable, titled "Google China Paying Price for Resisting Censorship," quoted a well-placed source as saying that Li Changchun, a member of China's top ruling body, the Politburo Standing Committee, and the country's senior propaganda official, was taken aback to discover that he could conduct Chinese-language searches on Google's main international Web site. When Mr. Li typed his name into the search engine at google.com, he found "results critical of him."

For more on Chinese Internet censorship—a story Reason has been covering for many years—go here, here, and here.