Behold the 21st century’s protection against contemporary Mongolians: the Great Firewall of China.
Err, and by “protection” I mean censorship, and “Mongolians” is just a cute euphemism for freedom of information. But toma-TOE, toma-TA, right?
The back story: Google ditched operations in China last week, refusing the government’s insistence on filtered searches. The Internet giant rerouted Chinese visitors of google.cn to another site based in Hong Kong, free from the tentacles of the Communist Octopi.
But China fired back, continuing its meddling shennanigans with the Hong Kong site and (allegedly) hacking into journalists’ email accounts.
Nasty, nasty stuff, with some major political-economic repercussions. Google co-founder Sergey Brin (a victim of U.S.S.R. oppression growing up) framed the stakes in an interview with the New York Times, naming Google’s exit “objection … to those forces of totalitarianism.”
It’s an interesting ethical dilemma. Should international digital companies remain in China, continue operating under a “half an internet” (Brin’s term) ethos, but work towards expanding freedoms? Or should they follow the lead of Google (and domain registration company/maker of chauvinist TV commercials GoDaddy) and take an ideological stand in hopes of actively effecting change? Cooperation or force? Patience or agitation? Paper or plastic?