On the 19th June 2019, Students for a Free Tibet UK (SFT UK) joined with a Free Tibet group to protest at the UK headquarter of Google at King’s Cross, London. Our aim was to reach out to people in the area and especially to Google`s employees by distributing leaflets and talking with staff and passers-by to make them aware of what was going on behind closed doors between the internet giant and The Peoples` Republic of China (PRC).
The purpose of this protest was to make a plea to the company for dropping its clandestine project with the PRC. The choice of the protest venue was strategically chosen for maximum impact on the company and was part of a world-wide campaign to make Google think again about getting into bed with a regime that has an appalling human rights record – and would use the Google platform as a means to further its obsession with surveillance, control, intimidation and arbitrary arrest.
Many Google employees were not aware of their company`s plan. Google serves as a massive information search platform and, to its credit, on the whole enjoys a good reputation. However, lately, some worrisome trends began to surface in the company’s business outreach with PRC.
If Google’s pilot project with the PRC (codenamed Dragonfly) proceeded, it would only embolden the communist regime in China to further worsen its atrocious human rights track record in the occupied territories like Tibet and East-Turkistan. Not to mention within China itself.
Such collaboration could further serve to erode the already fragile political freedom and democratic values in Hong Kong and put more pressure on the independent self-ruled island of Taiwan.
The protest was also a reminder to Google that its collusion with the despotic regime in China would be a PR disaster since it would be going against the founding principle of the company (“don`t be evil”) by unabashedly helping the Chinese regime in its violation of human rights in China and the occupied territories. The protestors vowed to continue their campaign to expose the truth about Google`s involvement as long as its collaboration with the Chinese dictatorship continued.
Our effort and resilience paid off. Against the odds, the world-wide campaign succeeded in persuading Google to drop their clandestine project. A victory in the end!!