Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Google vs. China: Google draws line at censorship in prize market

A Chinese Google user presents flowers to the Google China headquarters in Beijing on Wednesday.

On January 13, 2010, Dr. Wenran Jiang was quoted in the Christian Science Monitor on Google’s recent dramatic threat to close its business in China unless the authorities allow it to provide uncensored search results throws into stark relief the limits to globalization.

Dr. Jiang notes that China’s leaders use their tight control over information as a key tool with which to shore up their power. They see the Internet as a potentially dangerous conduit of information that “Western subversive forces” use to foment dissatisfaction in restive parts of the country such as Tibet and Xinjiang.

Since ethnic riots in the Xinjiang capital, Urumuqi, killed more than 200 people last June, Internet access has been all but cut off in the region. Social-networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have been blocked throughout the country.

Wenran predicts that while Beijing accepted international trade rules to join the World Trade Organization and a globalized economy, it will not adopt international standards on information freedom any time soon.

“In the long run, they cannot control information, and they will have to find ways to accommodate dissident views,” Wenran says. “But at the moment, they have no other way but censorship."

You can read the whole story here.

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