Where censorship fails: Google, others say ‘no’ to China
To most Americans, China’s actions are disturbing. Earlier this month, Google announced that it will no longer censor searches in China, and moved its Chinese operations to Hong Kong. Earlier this week, Godaddy.com announced it will suspend operations in China after the government demanded more detailed information about its customers, including photo identification. Rumor has it that other Internet and IT firms are examining China operations, as well.
These actions may spark a change in China’s business policy. For three decades, China’s politburo has liberalized its economy while keeping an iron grip on freedom of expression. The Tiananmen Square Massacre is but a grizzly example of the politburo’s rule. Yet despite the bumps, the politburo has pretty much what it wants from China.
American businesses have plowed money into the Middle Kingdom. Indeed, cheap labor and a friendly business climate are great for thoughtless, low-skilled work, like manufacturing.
The problems come when information is built into one’s business model. Note that none of these companies have said they are loosing money in China — at least not yet. Instead, the Chinese tampered with these firms’ business model. Google thrived in the Western world because it gathered all types of data relevant to users’ needs.
I want your thoughts on this. You see, media and information companies can’t work when the government tells them what to say and do. On the other hand, saying what the government may not want them to say will encourage free debate. Should companies withdraw from China, even if they are making a profit there?
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