Good move for Google, bad one for China. It is wonderful that Google is taking a stand and doing the right thing. It is sad that China continues to do wrong and repress free speech -- China fears those with new & different ideas that it cannot control. For more see:
I hope Google is able to maintain this stance in face of governmental and economic pressures. In the long run it could make economic sense.
Additionally, Google is the only major web-based email vendor I know that does not automatically show the originating IP address of the sender in email headers (for emails sent using their web interface) -- thus providing some anonymity to those who need to protect their identity.