OpEdNews Op Eds

Google to China: Drop Dead!

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 1/14/10

Become a Fan
  (7 fans)
- Advertisement -



It should come as no surprise to anyone -- least of all to Google founding whiz kids Sergey Brin and Larry Page -- that reporting of their company's recent announcement that it would stop cooperating with Chinese Internet censorship was itself heavily censored in China. Although, as the New York Times noted, "Some big Chinese news portals initially carried a short dispatch on Google's announcement," news of the decision "soon tumbled from the headlines." Later reports omitted all references to "free speech" and "surveillance."

Google is said to be considering shutting down its entire operation in China, and has predictably been getting lots of love and props in the blogosphere for doing the right thing and standing up to the Chinese "Evil Empire."

But does a company with a stated corporate goal of "Don't Be Evil" really deserve praise for finally pulling the plug on its longstanding cooperation with the Great Firewall of Chinese Internet control?

I think not.

After all"what took them so long? Chinese leaders -- with l ots of help from American corporate giants like Google, Yahoo and others -- have been using advanced information and communications technology for years in order to suppress information, communication, knowledge and dissent in the world's most populous country.

Google execs linked the decision to pull back to extremely sophisticated (state-sponsored?) cyber attacks on its systems last week aimed at the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. But given the dismal overall track record of Chinese suppression, how in all reality could they have been surprised by China's latest attack on freedom of speech?

Since entering into its cozy and sleazy 2006 arrangement with China's Market-Leninist regime, Google has readily eliminated banned topics (like, "Tiananmen Square" or "Dalai Lama") from its Chinese search results --- thus aiding and abetting a system of information control that is among the most restrictive in the world. At the time, company officials said that they thought that the benefits of its presence in China ostensibly providing more information and openness to Chinese citizens -- outweighed being forced to censor search results. And the company has been roundly criticized including by this writer for doing so. But despite some muted internal grumblings, Messrs. Page and Brin, along with Google CEO Eric ("The Internet is a cesspool of misinformation") Schmidt, have steadfastly refused to respond until now.

- Advertisement -

In all likelihood, they are using the current contretemps to step back from a costly investment and what increasingly was a money-losing proposition, having steadily lost market share of late to Baidu, a Chinese-run company with predictably "close ties with the government."

So while it is true that "Google's response amounted to an unambiguous repudiation of its five-year courtship of the Chinese market," it is equally true that Google has long had the wherewithal, if not the cojones, to tell the Chinese to take their Internet job and shove it. Because it's also true that, despite the fact that most major multinational companies consider a presence in China crucial to their future, Google -- the most successful corporation in the history of the world -- needs China less than China needs Google. And if the Googlers' decision is likely to enrage Chinese authorities, who of course shamelessly deny the obvious fact that they censor the Internet and are by now used to American corporations and governments kowtowing to their supposed might, I can only respond, "Great!"

Screw the Chinese so-called "authorities!" After all, their alleged authority and indisputable power is solely derived from "the barrel of a gun" as their founding father Mao Tse-Tung once put it.

And their only means of maintaining their increasingly illegitimate power is to rigidly control basic political freedoms and rights of the Chinese citizenry.

If Google does pull back -- not at all a done deal, of course, despite the many glowing notices -- it says it will try to negotiate a new arrangement to provide uncensored results on its search site, google.cn.

- Advertisement -

As Google's chief legal officer David Drummond said in a statement, "We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law."

Fat freakin' chance of that!

Instead, it's likely that the eventual result will be Google shuttering its offices in China and turning its back on an estimated $300 million a year in revenue.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

www.roryoconnor.org

Filmmaker and journalist Rory O'Connor writes the 'Media Is A Plural' blog, accessible at www.roryoconnor.org.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Ed Schultz - How MSNBC Became a Liberal Mecca

Obama Comes for the Journalists

Facebook Is Not Your Friend

Crossing Zero: How and Why the Media Misses the AfPak Story

Insiders voice doubts about CIA's 9/11 story

PBS and Our "Need To Know" the Truth

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
4 people are discussing this page, with 4 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

the fact the Google eagerly cooperates with the US... by Jeffrey Rock on Thursday, Jan 14, 2010 at 8:36:10 PM
Now there is a superb turn of phrase. I agree that... by John Sanchez Jr. on Friday, Jan 15, 2010 at 8:27:42 AM
It is obvious that Mr. O'Connor has little knowled... by Doc "Old Codger" McCoy on Saturday, Jan 16, 2010 at 1:17:24 AM
is a dangerous thing, apparently. For example, you... by Rory OConnor on Saturday, Jan 16, 2010 at 8:03:21 AM