Google vs. China

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?

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One thought on “Google vs. China

  1. Paper. And I’m not sure about the other ones.

    I’m not alone when I say the Great Firewall of China is a pain in the ass. Millions of other Chinese tech savvy netizens will tell you the same thing. It’s a poorly implemented attempt at censorship that does more annoying than censoring.

    But on principle, I guess, the idea that censorship of internet material and google’s motto of don’t be evil butt heads. But, since there are always multiple sides to the story, I will tell China’s.

    The West likes to point all 10 fingers and all 10 toes at China and claim that they’re the new evil empire (implicitly) and they should be doing everything differently. I can understand this if it came from the Europeans, but really, Americans too? The last people in the developed world that should be giving political and government advice should be Americans.

    What they like to do is hold China to “first world” standards, which is absolutely unfair, considering China is a third world country. The current situation is akin to America in the 1800s. You can argue against that point all you like, but you’d be wrong. Politically China is relatively unstable, with the ever widening gap between the rich and poor.

    It only makes sense that the government would take steps to ensure that the situation remains as stable as possible. I mean, isn’t the US Army acting as law enforcement in Iraq and Afghanistan as well?

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