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Google Co-Founder on Pulling out of China: ‘It Was a Real Step Backward’

Last week, Google announced it would withdraw its Chinese operations from Beijing and instead serve the market from freer Hong Kong. The Internet giant’s co-founder, Sergey Brin, 36, discusses his company’s troubles in China and its controversial decision to pull up stakes and leave.

SPIEGEL: With your decision to close Google’s Chinese Web site, you are the first major company to have challenged the government in Beijing in this way. Are you powerful enough to take on an entire country?

Brin: I don’t think it’s a question of taking on China. In fact, I am a great admirer of both China and the Chinese government for the progress they have made. It is really opposing censorship and speaking out for the freedom of political dissent, and that’s the key issue from our side.

SPIEGEL: Four years ago, you allowed your service to be censored. Why have you changed your mind now?

Brin: The hacking attacks were the straw that broke the camel’s back. … More

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