Lex

Lex: Google v China

Google's threatened on Tuesday to refer its spat with Chinese authorities to the World Trade Organisation. Such a move might have a cold, consistent logic. In 2006, when it established a censorship-compliant Google.cn site, the company implored US government departments to make censorship a "central element" of bilateral and multilateral trade agendas. And judging by a series of helpfully-timed pronouncements on internet freedom from the Obama administration, the company enjoys some high-level support. But escalation to the WTO could be both bloody-minded and counter-productive. Ben McLannahan analyses the next moves in the dispute.