This, as I see it, could mean one of two things.
1) The PRC believes Chinese human rights activists are planning something absolutely huge in China, and the Chinese government is desperate enough to expose a significant proportion of its cyberespionage resources in an absolutely unsubtle attack on the world's biggest, best-defended web company in order to stop it.
2) The PRC is acting like a superpower. Repercussions? Fuck your repercussions. We're the Middle Kingdom, damn it. Whatcha gonna do, rest of the world? Huh? Huh? Whatcha gonna do? Give us your best shot.
Neither of these bodes well for anyone except the Machiavellian overlords at the CCP.
A plethora of perspectives:
- NASDAQ - Google stock is largely unfazed at time of writing. (Edit: Whoops, spoke too soon...) Google's biggest Chinese competitor (and #1 search engine in China) Baidu, however, is enjoying a nice little hop.
- Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard professor of Internet law
- Larry Dignan, ZDNet chief editor
- The Wall Street Journal
- The New York Times
- The U.S. State Department (by way of Reuters)
- Siva Vaidhyanathan, anti-Google blogger
- ComputerWorld believes China is trying to steal Silicon Valley tech to jump-start indigenous R&D
- Wired has a nice image of Chinese Google users leaving flowers and funeral gifts by Google.cn headquarters (although I think Wired may be misinterpreting their intent)
- The Wall Street Journal provides some broader business context (while also being a bit excessively patriotic? not as bullshitty as their op-eds though)
- The Australian offers some insights about the story in the context of China's information monopoly
- Chinese state news agency Xinhua - the propaganda is laid on so thick you can't stick a fork in it, but I expect to be hearing this tripe from many of the "Patriotic Overseas Chinese"