Google's decision to stop censoring searches on its China-based servers, rerouting search requests instead to its uncensored Hong Kong facilities, is historic. Google has shown itself unwilling simply to be on the receiving end of whatever Beijing dishes out—and highlighted the growing importance of Hong Kong and Taiwan in shaping the decisions that foreign businesses in China must make.This is very interesting, and I agree with the author that companies should emulate Google's decision and that the government should back such decisions. While I agree dialogue should continue with the Chinese government, I find their actions to be very troubling, and considering incidences of cyber-attacks believed to have come from the People's Liberation Army, I am lead to believe that the Chinese government is being duplicitous in their actions and words, and both American companies and the government should take a stronger position with Beijing.
When an enterprise of Google's global dimensions and visibility reverses course in China and is no longer a passive, compliant subject of government diktats, it sends a message to enterprises world-wide: You can do the same. Submissive participation in the mainland Chinese market is neither inevitable nor unavoidable. Do not fear to assert your interests, and those of your present and potential Chinese customers.
For the most part, foreign companies doing business in mainland China previously assumed that their risks lay on the side of not complying with Beijing's orders, however burdensome or threatening to profits or property interests, physical or intellectual. Leaving the Chinese market was unthinkable, and defying or contesting Beijing's directions just as unthinkable.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Google Ceases Censorship On China-based Servers
From an article by John Bolton from The Wall Street Journal: