Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Censorship Google Government The Internet Your Rights Online

China Warns Google To Obey Or Leave 533

Posted by Soulskill
from the who-wears-the-pants-in-this-family dept.
suraj.sun writes with this snippet from an Associated Press report: "China's top Internet regulator insisted Friday that Google must obey its laws or 'pay the consequences,' giving no sign of a possible compromise in their dispute over censorship and hacking. 'If you want to do something that disobeys Chinese law and regulations, you are unfriendly, you are irresponsible and you will have to pay the consequences,' Li Yizhong, the minister of Industry and Information Technology, said on the sidelines of China's annual legislature. ... 'Whether they leave or not is up to them,' Li said. 'But if they leave, China's Internet market is still going to develop.' ... Li insisted the government needs to censor Internet content to protect the rights of the country and its people. 'If there is information that harms stability or the people, of course we will have to block it,' he said."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

China Warns Google To Obey Or Leave

Comments Filter:
  • Oh really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:07PM (#31454804) Homepage

    Well Google should tell China they can deep throat it and choke. I'm all for companies having to comply with national and international laws, but censoring search results is NOT something they should comply with. I realize this gets into the grey area of "who are you to decide what's right and what's wrong", but still...government-sponsored censorship of search results? Nothing you could do or say could convince me that is a good idea.

    Information yearns to be free.

  • Protecting rights (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kell Bengal (711123) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:08PM (#31454814)
    "Protecting the rights of the country and its people", brought to you by the Ministry of Truth.
  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:08PM (#31454818) Homepage Journal

    regardless of google leaves or stays, american companies are going to suck up to china, and american government is going to do that too. maybe only there will be a few weak statements regarding the state of human rights in china. it will be business as usual :

    american companies are going to help chinese government in suppressing its own citizens for profit. american companies are going to help chinese government to do anything that conflicts with american constitution, and american ideals you people are so proud of.

    and you get worked up everytime someone points that out ....

  • Bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:08PM (#31454824) Journal

    Li insisted the government needs to censor Internet content to protect the rights of the country and its people.

    Li is a lying little tyrannical thug. What he would say if he were an honest man, is that the Chinese government is scared to death of what might happen to the party minions when ordinary Chinese realize that Mao killed more of them than Tojo.

    -jcr

  • Harms stability... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:09PM (#31454832)
    Anything that would promote a different party is harming stability right? I mean, we can't afford to change our dictator too often if we wish to preserve stability!
  • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:11PM (#31454852)

    Their government does not want the kind of "openness" and free exchange of information that is Google's trade. That is their prerogative. Google should pull out.

    They won't, of course. Too much money to be made there.

    They will cave in, compromise, and do (more) Evil.

    It'll be interesting to see how Google's PR monkeys spin it, from a front-row-seat-at-the-Fall-of-Civilization perspective...

  • by Zombie Ryushu (803103) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:12PM (#31454872)

    Governments are the enemy of its people in all cases and in all nations. The highest form of patriotism to ones country is to constantly question, challenge and investigate all government officials in every nation, in every circumstance. Don't let secrets be held.

  • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:13PM (#31454892) Journal

    Their government does not want the kind of "openness" and free exchange of information that is Google's trade.

    With you so far...

    That is their prerogative.

    but here I must disagree. The government doesn't own the country.

    -jcr

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:15PM (#31454898)

    You bitch about China, but you continue to buy their wares. You let the U.S. go farther into debt and let China lend us more cash.

    Hypocrites.

  • Hate to say it (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:15PM (#31454910) Homepage
    As much as I hate to say it, China really has Google by the balls on this one. I'm sure there are a million companies with the right connections/deep enough pockets in China right now eagerly waiting to assume Google's spot on the hill and they are all willing to do whatever the government there says.

    I really don't see how Google can adhere to its corporate mission statement and continue to do business with China, although part of me has a hunch that we'll find out since shareholders will demand Google not leave one of the largest markets in the world.
  • Re:Oh really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:16PM (#31454922)

    Nothing you could do or say could convince me that is a good idea.

    It's not as simple as that. The Cuban embargo has stifled Cuba's growth and left it so that people don't have cell phones or internet at all. Standing up for Cubans' rights and refusing to deal with their government ultimately badly hurt common citizens.

    Providing search services to Chinese citizens and letting their government rewrite results as they see fit may be better than denying them search altogether. If Google pulls out, the Chinese will still have censored search results, but from an inferior search provider.

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:16PM (#31454932) Homepage

    Whoa there. Government itself is inherently sterile. Government can empower its citizens, or it can empower its leaders, but not both at the same time.

    The problem is that leaders always turn government so it empowers them, not us. Power-hungry leaders who run the government are the problem...the government itself only does what its leaders tell it to do.

  • Re:Sure... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Z00L00K (682162) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:18PM (#31454960) Homepage

    Compared to most big companies Google isn't that bad.

    Compared to governments Google is a saint.

    But that doesn't mean that they are right every time. In some way I expect that if they have to leave they do leave behind as little as possible.

    What China should fear is instead the risk of having their connection to the rest of the internet cut off or at least limited.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:18PM (#31454968)

    'Whether they leave or not is up to them,' Li said. 'But if they leave, China's Internet market is still going to develop.' ... Li insisted the government needs to censor Internet content to protect the rights of the country and its people. 'If there is information that harms stability or the people, of course we will have to block it,' he said."

    China's Internet market is still going to develop.. Without Google's help for the oppression part. Rights of it's country and people... Our country here has no rights it is composed of people who have rights unlike the people there. Block it.. Of course, anything that brings the day closer to China's dictatorship falling and their leaders heads on pikes must be subverted and assassinated in the most perverse manners to "Protect the Rights of the Country." Oh yeah, and I'm going to post anonymously because you can't do that there as well... After all people must be "responsible" for their words..

  • by unity100 (970058) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:18PM (#31454974) Homepage Journal

    i get the odd feeling that google will leave

  • Re:Game of Chicken (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ircmaxell (1117387) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:18PM (#31454982) Homepage
    Well, it poses a Catch-22 for Google...

    In their first option, they can stand up to their philosophical beliefs --which is a VERY rare thing these days for any major company-- and keep up the fight. If they do this and win, they could start a intellectual and philosophical movement in China... If they lose, not only would they be kicked out and lose money, some of their people possibly could wind up in a Chinese prison (It is violating the law after all)...

    In their second option, they can bow to the pressure and keep censoring content in China. If they do this, they are sacrificing their philosophical beliefs for the almighty dollar... This would be a crushing blow to the anti-censorship movement (as one of its most powerful allies will have bowed to the pressure)...

    Finally, they could leave China altogether. This could have 2 paths. Either someone (MS with Bing?) would jump in their place right away and it would be like nothing ever happened (Which would also hurt the anti-censorship movement). Or, with luck, other companies that are not happy with the censorship will leave too. It could provide energy to the anti-censorship movement in China...

    So, to me, the best option would be #1. In all 3 cases, there is potential to harm the anti-censorship movement. But only the first case has a significant chance to REALLY help it. If Google REALLY wants to promote freedom of information, #1 is the only way to go (Again, IMHO)...
  • Re:Oh really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by headkase (533448) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:23PM (#31455046)
    From an inferior provider? GOOD. Let their country fall behind in information services while we surge ahead. I don't want a dictatorship having access to anything before we have fully deployed it. Hopefully with the theory that they do not remain competitive, when their people overthrow the Evil that is the Chinese government then license everything to them because they will deserve their seat at the table. Before then they are simply a bunch of thugs and I don't think we should be giving thugs brass-knuckles. Of course I have the freedom to say that here which is a major point for me.
  • Re:Oh really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by profplump (309017) <zach-slashjunk@kotlarek.com> on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:24PM (#31455062)

    Did you miss that fact that the Cuban embargo itself is a form a censorship? In this case both the US and Cuban governments are in the wrong, and we should defy *both* of them.

  • Re:Game of Chicken (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:24PM (#31455066)

    If they do this and win, they could start a intellectual and philosophical movement in China... If they lose, not only would they be kicked out and lose money, some of their people possibly could wind up in a Chinese prison (It is violating the law after all)...

    I'm pretty sure that if Google started an intellectual and philosophical movement in China that some of their people would definitely end up in a Chinese prison or worse.

  • Re:Oh really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    Providing search services to Chinese citizens and letting their government rewrite results as they see fit may be better than denying them search altogether.

    No, it isn't. No media at all is always is better than censored media. Censored media allows the censors to maintain control. Without any media, people are in fact freer to form their own opinions rather than having opinions supplied to them.

    It doesn't matter how you spin it. There is no justification for Google to participate in censorship of this kind when they don't actually have to. No excuse at all. Chinese people will lose a search engine, but that is not Google's fault; it is the fault of their government.

  • Re:Bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vampire_baozi (1270720) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:26PM (#31455100)

    Most educated Chinese are well aware, and really don't care that much about the Mao years. Same party, different leadership. American parallel: The Civil War killed more Americans than pretty much all other wars combined to date, since it was Americans vs Americans on American soil. At the time, Lincoln was in charge, and he was a Republican (which used to be the "good" party- Democrats and Republicans sorta swapped platforms in the 1960s as a result of the Civil Rights movement).

    So new boss, very different from the old boss. They don't give a fuck if the Chinese know about 6/4 or the Great Leap Forward. But stopping censorship would open up the floodgates of freedom of speech and criticism. Peasants don't know and don't care about history. They do know that the local party officials are corrupt, and that many of them are getting shafted. An uncensored, free internet would be a great way for them to learn more,share stories, and organize. It would be an amazing platform for the criticism of the communist party.

    It's not even the Central party they'd be criticizing; many Chinese adore Grandpa Hu and Grandpa Wen. The local party officials are another thing altogether, especially in rural areas.

  • Re:Oh really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Omega Hacker (6676) <omega@nOSpAM.omegacs.net> on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:28PM (#31455130)

    Except that the Cubans on average don't actually understand what they're missing. It's not as if they had Internet and cell phones and then suddenly lost them due to embargo. China's been using Google now about as long as the rest of us, and if they *lose* it due to very unmistakable censorship policies their government imposed, they can't possible miss the connection between the two. Try going without Google for a week now that you're used to having it instantly available, and you'll get pretty ticked. Lose it indefinitely due to the government's transparent attempts at censorship (whether you as a Chinese subj^H^H^H^Hcitizen believe in their justifications or not), and you're going to get royally pissed off. This is a good thing, in the large.

  • by presidenteloco (659168) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:30PM (#31455152)

    Any government that is afraid of its people having information

    (let's perhaps make an exception for specific information on how to make weapons of mass destruction
    out of common household ingredients)

    is inherently not a government "of the people for the people".

    It is not confident in its own popularity, or in the inherent stability through general agreement
    of its governmental system.

    Does the Chinese government not realize that their insistence on censorship simply
    highlights the inherent weakness in their government and system of government?

  • Re:Game of Chicken (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ircmaxell (1117387) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:31PM (#31455158) Homepage

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

    Sometimes it's worth it... Not always, but given the wide belief that censorship is wrong, if that's what it takes to start a revolution, then perhaps it's necessary...

  • The founders of the United States would disagree with you. The goal was to create a multi-branch government with equal power, such that each has the power to keep the other branches in check. Sadly, much of the power that was to sit with the legislative has been lost to the executive. Worse still, the judicial and more specifically the SCOTUS has been slow to intervene when the legislative or executive overstep their boundaries.

    I don't agree that any government is benign by default. This depends a lot on the goals of the government and what power the public has to make meaningful change to the government. In some ways, a republic is no longer serving the needs of the US. Direct democracy would lead to a lot of changes in policy that are bad for government but good for citizens. Initially it sounds like it would be mob rule, but sadly, I trust the good nature of citizens in general a lot more than I trust politicians.

    The politicians look out for #1: themselves and reelection. You vote for them because you trust that they will represent your opinions in legislation but it doesn't work.

  • Re:Sure buddy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:37PM (#31455236)

    They will stay... they are money whores just like everyone else.

  • Li is Right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vampire_baozi (1270720) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:37PM (#31455240)

    Before I get modded troll, consider he does actually have a point. Openness and free exchange of information are serious threats to social stability in China (which is, as others have pointed out, what Google does best). China watched the fall of the Soviet Union as a result of glasnost and perestroika. They are eager to avoid the same mistake, as the costs of social instability (both human and economic) would be far too high, for the country, its people, and not least themselves.

    This isn't about Tiananmen or the Great Leap Forward, which are pretty much open secrets. It's about suppressing free flow of information, and maintaining control over all mediums of information exchange. They had control of the traditional media, phones, SMS, etc. The internet is another beast. Finding out and sharing information about corruption and other major shortfalls is far too easy with an open, uncensored internet. They don't want peasants knowing too much about local corruption, and when they do know, they don't want them to be able to organize or share this information. Censorship is a key component; allowing criticism of the government even on such now-unimportant bygones as the Great Leap Forward would potentially open the floodgates on new criticism on issues that could result in instability.

    So, Li is right. In order to suppress dissent, they must maintain control and continue censoring. Whether you think the cost imposed by censorship and lack of free speech is greater than the potential losses from any resulting social instability is another matter entirely. Many Chinese think, and I often agree, that while the Chinese government is too sensitive right now, maintaining a stable environment for economic growth is a bigger priority than free speech. The farmers I talked to in Shandong and Jilin also agreed- they know they're getting shafted in comparison to urban dwellers, but they're still doing better than at any time in history, and would rather not lose their chance at a new fridge, air conditioning, and a TV in return for some abstract ideas about freedom to criticize the government. In their minds, censorship and its evils are the lesser evil, when compared to potential civil strife.

  • Re:Game of Chicken (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:39PM (#31455278)

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

    Sometimes it's worth it... Not always, but given the wide belief that censorship is wrong, if that's what it takes to start a revolution, then perhaps it's necessary...

    I'm just not sure that Google, or we at /., should be the ones deciding that some of the Chinese people should start dying for this. I'm pretty sure that it should be their decision.

  • by Pojut (1027544) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:39PM (#31455284) Homepage

    The founders of the United States would disagree with you. The goal was to create a multi-branch government with equal power, such that each has the power to keep the other branches in check. Sadly, much of the power that was to sit with the legislative has been lost to the executive. Worse still, the judicial and more specifically the SCOTUS has been slow to intervene when the legislative or executive overstep their boundaries.

    Which would work perfectly if there was no such thing as political parties. However, referring to people as Democrat or Republican or a third party instead of just American destroyed any hopes of a balanced government.

    I don't agree that any government is benign by default. This depends a lot on the goals of the government and what power the public has to make meaningful change to the government. In some ways, a republic is no longer serving the needs of the US. Direct democracy would lead to a lot of changes in policy that are bad for government but good for citizens. Initially it sounds like it would be mob rule, but sadly, I trust the good nature of citizens in general a lot more than I trust politicians.

    Government is just a tool. Whether the people weilding the tool use it to build or to demolish is up to them. Remember, a hammer can drive nails to hold up a wall...or it can knock them down.

    The politicians look out for #1: themselves and reelection. You vote for them because you trust that they will represent your opinions in legislation but it doesn't work.

    Not sure about other countries, but in my own (USA), this is because of the requirements to get into power. You have to know the right people and follow their orders to move up in the ranks, but you can't do that while working for the citizens...you can only do that while working for the asshole with the power.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:40PM (#31455294) Journal

    Governments are the enemy of its people in all cases and in all nations.

    Wow, this is such a bad misconception that if you base your actions on this idea, you will end up doing weird things like flying a plane into a government building. Government isn't our enemy, it is our collective way of cooperating and getting things done. You should read the preamble to the constitution sometime, it tells the purpose of government. Then look at Somalia for a vivid example of why government is better than none. It's good there are no warlords in America.

    Instead think of government as a kind of servant. It exists to do our will. It is run by people, so it is not perfect, and you certainly need to watch it, otherwise it will start doing stuff you don't want it to do (government responds to people who pay attention to it: if the only people who pay attention are the ones that want special kickbacks, then it will respond mainly to them).

    Seriously, do you think Obama is your enemy? Do you think Harry Reid is your enemy? I don't agree with everything Obama does, but I generally feel he is trying to help the American people. Harry Reid is kind of a dud but calling him an enemy is a bit much. Even if you do a character analysis of Bush (whose policies I generally hated), read his speeches, look at his actions and try to figure out who he really is, it's hard to claim that he wasn't at least trying to help out the American people.

    There are some people in government who are enemies of the people, and these people should be identified and removed, but that is different than saying that government is the enemy. "Government is the enemy" is some kind of backward reactionist ideology. Instead view government as a tool: it can benefit or harm us, much like a hammer.

  • BUMP (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:43PM (#31455332)

    And one would think that Apple, with its high profit margins, would be able to manufacture its products somewhere else more civilized than China.

  • Re:Oh really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:44PM (#31455360)

    These are people we're talking about, not governments. You're only wishing harm on regular people.

    Also, "There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." --Isaac Asimov

  • Re:Game of Chicken (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:46PM (#31455390)

    If they do this and win, they could start a intellectual and philosophical movement in China... ...It could provide energy to the anti-censorship movement in China...

    Tiananmen.

  • Re:Game of Chicken (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ircmaxell (1117387) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:47PM (#31455402) Homepage
    Isn't their corporate motto "Do no evil"? So isn't also part of their corporate objective? And if you equate censorship as evil (As I personally do, and I am a Google shareholder), than Google's censoring results (even if it's the law) would be against their corporate objective. So if that's the case, they can either put up a fight, or leave...

    And the chance of starting a movement by leaving is slim to none. Which is why in my OP I said they should fight (if it really mattered to them)...
  • Information... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZorinLynx (31751) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:50PM (#31455446) Homepage

    'If there is information that harms stability or the people, of course we will have to block it,'

    If information can harm the stability of you're country, YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG!!

  • Re:Oh really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by headkase (533448) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:52PM (#31455474)
    By making it barely tolerable you lengthen the time the current regime is in power. How many suffer? Over a shorter time now or forever into the future? We are in an ideological war with China, it is unacceptable that we even let ourselves get into this position but now that we are it is equally repugnant to take actions that prop up an obviously Evil, from my cultures training, abomination.
  • Re:Oh really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao AT hotmail DOT com> on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:56PM (#31455518) Homepage
    There are varying degrees of "wrong". The embargo was a drastic measure that merely failed to reach its goal; but a communist government is an unacceptable evil by its very existence.
  • by TiggertheMad (556308) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:58PM (#31455554) Homepage Journal
    I am not sure that this is really about censorship. This is a staring contest.

    Google called China out as a pack of thieves and thugs by revealing their hacking and break-ins.

    Google made a statement that this was close to the 'last straw', and that they were thinking of leaving China.

    This is an attempt by China to try to out stare Google. The topic on the table isn't really the question of 'Will Google stay in China an stop filtering the internet'? By changing the focus of the debate, China is trying to recast the issue as China's laws vs. a foreign company who doesn't want to follow them.

    If Google leave under these terms, it doesn't look as bad for China.
  • by blitzkrieg3 (995849) on Friday March 12, 2010 @03:59PM (#31455570)
    Human rights have nothing to do with it. Google was hacked. If people can't trust the contents of their GMail inbox to remain out of the hands of Chinese intelligence, and Google can't ensure that some Chinese entity isn't stealing proprietary code, Google's profits will suffer. Pulling out of China will make this less of a threat. It's a cost-benefit analysis, and that's how it would be presented to the shareholders.
  • Re:Oh really? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:00PM (#31455578)

    It's pretty funny that the US used to pat China on the head and treat their case like a baby 3rd world country when they still had a large economical and military lead margin over them but now that they ended up in an economical mexican standoff with us by our own faults, all of a sudden it's all the rage to call them fucking nazis in every regards! Forget everybody else shaking their fists at us!

    What GP proposed is merely that denying Chinese citizen's access to modern information technology would do more to keep them in the dark ages and their government in full control than the reverse.
    Yet, your ironic stance seems to insinuate that we should punish all Chinese people for their government's policies while the overwhelming majority of them have nothing to do with it, can do nothing about it and want nothing to do with it for perfectly valid reason. The saddest part is, the few who heroically fight their government censorship and get arrested for it over there will be the ones hurt the most from losing gmail and google services.

  • Re:Game of Chicken (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:02PM (#31455606)

    Are they doing the right thing by not censoring their results? According to us, and our culture they may be, but not according to the host which has accepted them as a dinner guest.

    So? If your host offers you human flesh to eat (or whatever you regard as immoral) then leaving is a good response, along with expressing your horror at what's going on. The fact that they have different standards to you doesn't relieve you of the obligation to live up to your own standards yourself.

    (If you don't regard participation as repugnant / offensive / wrong then that's another matter but in that case hiding behind your host's choices would be unnecessary and frankly pathetic).

  • China has a terrible reputation as a global citizen. At times, they've flooded the market with shoddy goods made of questionable, even dangerous, materials. Their wholesale destruction of the environment is shocking, even to non-environmentalists. They manipulate their currency to make it impossible for importers to compete on an even basis. They have instigated what amounts to a low-level cyber war against businesses and governments the world over. They routinely muzzle speech and dissent within their own borders, and force those who do business with them to do the same. They reportedly have thousands of political prisoners, and every time they want to "make nice" with the West they trot out one or two of them and let them go home to show how kind-hearted they are.

    Personally, I've had just about all I care to take of such noxious behavior. I may not be able to completely avoid "Made in China", but there's no reason to encourage them. There are plenty of other people to buy goods from.

  • by PalmKiller (174161) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:06PM (#31455656) Homepage
    Besides China at odds with Google's mission as stated on the http://www.google.com/intl/en/corporate/ [google.com] page: The name reflects the immense volume of information that exists, and the scope of Google's mission: to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.
  • Re:Oh really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rising Ape (1620461) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:11PM (#31455746)

    Those regular people are ultimately in charge of their government and their destiny.

    In China or Cuba? Seriously?

  • Re:Li is Right. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:12PM (#31455768)

    I agree with your analysis of the situation on the ground. However, what I do need to point out is that there's an inherent short-sightedness in trading a fridge for the ability to hold your government accountable. Sure, things are peachy right now for the average Chinese. But the average Chinese does not exist, and the majority of the people who are better off mask the millions who are shafted or just plain killed because of a corrupt government. Not to mention that things like the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution are inherently harder to pull off in an open government. It's a question of whether people want their fridge or a decreased likelihood of a government catastrophe. It's clear what the Chinese are choosing, but I also know that that would never be my decision.

  • Re:Game of Chicken (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:13PM (#31455778)

    According to us, and our culture they may be, but not according to the host which has accepted them as a dinner guest. It's morally relative and looks a lot like a modern-day "The King and I".

    The problem is you are comparing our culture to China's government, not China's culture. You may be right that China's culture says that censoring is the right thing to do. If China had a democracy, you could argue that its censorship rules reflected its culture (I would argue that you were wrong, but I would agree that you could make that case), but China does not have a government that even vaguely resembles a democracy, so the position of its government is not inherently a product of the culture of the majority of its people.
    Actually, another problem with your idea that anti-censorship is a reflection of Western culture is that a large number of Westerners would support censorship of certain content if they could be sure that it would be limited to content that they oppose (see University speech codes).

  • Re:Game of Chicken (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:14PM (#31455804) Homepage

    Sometimes it's worth it... Not always, but given the wide belief that censorship is wrong, if that's what it takes to start a revolution, then perhaps it's necessary...

    It is always easy to say it is worth it when you are not the person going to jail or having your family threatened. I can agree that morally it would be worth it, but if I were in such a position I don't know what fraction of Slashdot readers (myself included) would actually do anything. It is really easy to talk about doing the right thing against an oppressive regime when you're elsewhere.

  • Re:Oh really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:16PM (#31455818)

    The danger to China in a Google pullout (whether they realize it or not) isn't in the typical search market. Baidu, yes, already crushes Google there.

    It's in the ability of China's scientists and researchers to have a strong ability to search scientific research papers and similar material from the rest of the world. In this specific area, Google's offering is excellent and Baidu, not so much.

    Of course, there's probably not a situation in which key Chinese scientists didn't still end up with some kind of access to Google for this purpose one way or another.

  • by cyberjock1980 (1131059) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:17PM (#31455842)

    Unfortunately, this would mean that Bing would quickly try to take China and ignore ethics, etc. American corporations bow to the laws of China regardless of their beliefs for profit. After all, if you don't try to move into China, your competitor certainly will.

    I expect Microsoft to use this to their advantage bigtime. Do we really want MS to overtake Google because MS has less ethics? How is this fair at all?

      What I'd LOVE to see is laws passed that provide some kind of tax break or advantage for companies that stand up to the censorship laws in other countries. I know, I know, I should expect companies to do this because it's the right thing to do. Corporations in the US were built because of the freedoms given to them in the US, yet they have no problem depriving others of those same freedoms for a few dollars.

  • Re:Game of Chicken (Score:4, Insightful)

    by countertrolling (1585477) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:20PM (#31455860) Journal

    The belief that censorship is wrong is not very wide at all. The first amendment would have no chance of passing anywhere in today's world, including the US. That whole part of "no Law" is a real stickler. Despite the supreme court's weasel words stating otherwise. The majority, and especially the middle class is very authoritarian [newsweek.com]. Nobody wants to rock the boat during sweeps week.

  • Re:Li is Right. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DeadDecoy (877617) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:27PM (#31455960)
    Isn't that presupposing that openness will cause civil strife? An alternative argument is that, if all the flaws about the government are out in the open, it'd be easier to identify and fix problems early, instead of letting them grow out of control. I think the free flow of information causes true damage, only when there are no process to rectify them. E.g. if a corrupt official is abusing their power the people can impeach the official as opposed to initiating a violent coup. Similarly, if a company dumped mercury or lead into the local water supply, would it be better to warn the people that an accident occurred or cover it up? Having growth and stability is good, but it doesn't seem sustainable if no one takes responsibility when things go bad.
  • Re:Oh really? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:29PM (#31455986)

    Than again, who really cares? People just move on. It's just "a site", I can change it, why not? Should I change my live because of "an American site"? There is no secret that the government is "protecting me" on the internet.

  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:31PM (#31456006)
    " Li insisted the government needs to censor Internet content to protect the rights of the country and its people."

    Censor to protect rights?

    Someone remind me why we're even dealing with these people? Oh yeah, wait. Lots of money. It's pretty amazing how some people fear "socialism" here in the U.S. but are perfectly willing to do business with communists.
  • Re:Game of Chicken (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:31PM (#31456008)
    You're missing the point. While Google care about censorship what they are really upset about is the Chinese government's attacks on Google servers. If they stayed they would still be subject to these.
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:36PM (#31456080) Homepage Journal

    Obama is trying to help the American people? ORLY?

    Health care reform: he is against single payer and against public option. He is against people buying into Medicare from any age at cost (at cost of providing Medicare as insurance). He is against importation of cheaper drugs from other countries, like Canada. He allows insurance companies to raise premiums all they want, as long as they give him these ephemeral 90billion over 10 years, which they have already reclaimed through rising cost.

    Financial reform: he is against installing regulations against derivative markets. He is against reform of the Fed and even will not support audit of the fed. He holds position that there are 'too big to fail' financial institutions that need to be saved at all costs. He listens to Rahm Emanuel, which is evil in itself, the Obama's Dick Cheney.

    Gitmo: did he close it? Did he stop the Patriot Act? Did he return Americans their lost amendment rights? Habeas corpus, what ever happen to that? Will the 9/11 attackers be tried on the ground where the committed the attack, as the US law prescribes?

    You show me a promise, I'll tell you how it was broken.

  • by dwiget001 (1073738) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:37PM (#31456082)

    "...the government needs to censor Internet content to protect the rights of the country and its people."

    Uh huh.

    Maybe I am missing something, but since when were the rights of any country and its people protected by censorship?

    O.K., that is a bit rhetorical, I admit.

  • by fnj (64210) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:38PM (#31456090)

    Well, God help us. Can't have any of that there "instability," eh? Gotta have it all nice and stable and nailed down. Yeah. That's what tyrannies thrive on.

    Here's a clue, Li, baby. The people don't exist to serve the state in the manner which the state, in its infinite wisdom, decides. It's supposed to be the converse. A true, thriving society is not about "stability."

    Could China's government be worse? Yes, it could be a lot worse, and it HAS BEEN a lot worse, in recent memory. But it's still an ugly denial of human dignity and liberty, and acceptance of that ugliness is a participation in an evil.

  • Re:Oh really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Otto (17870) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:43PM (#31456164) Homepage Journal

    Yes, seriously. No government can exist without the support (or apathy) of its own people. At least, it cannot exist for very long.

  • Re:Li is Right. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:46PM (#31456214) Homepage Journal

    You have your analysis backwards. The USSR was having massive economic problems, that lead to the situation, that was impossible to hide. The elephant in the room was that the USSR was failing economically, this could not be concealed, 'glasnost' (openness sort of) and 'perestroyka' (reconstruction/rebuilding) was resulting from the economic problems, not the other way around.

    The implementation of changes in the former USSR republics was flawed, but nobody knew how to deal with such things. Do you know how to change a huge country's political and economical systems and yet have stable economy in the process? I don't think anyone really can say they do. Besides, even if you do know it, what are your chances of implementing all of that in such an environment?

    China has done one thing right: keep the political system as is, but allow small and then medium and even large business to take over economy, (while of-course controlling stakes in those businesses). It's probably for the best for them. However it does not look like the Party is right when at this point when it comes to openness, human rights and such. The Party now is finding itself in a situation, where the economy can really move itself, the role of the Party is diminishing. That's why they want to keep control of the information - to keep control of power. They don't care about some ideas of overall stability, they just want stability for their own positions of power.

  • Re:Game of Chicken (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:54PM (#31456336)

    Google for Peons (censored) vs. Google for Party Officials (non-censored)

  • Re:Sure buddy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by evanism (600676) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:01PM (#31456458) Journal

    Can we have one here in Australia too please!!

  • Freenet (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:04PM (#31456496) Homepage

    The problem is that Freenet is tough to use, I would argue it's tough even for geeks like us who read Slashdot.

    The other issue is getting the app in the first place, and getting a list of peers that aren't blocked. And when you're risking life imprisonment, it's pretty damn important that you get peers that aren't controlled by the government.

  • Re:Game of Chicken (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:05PM (#31456500)

    I'm just not sure that Google, or we at /., should be the ones deciding that some of the Chinese people should start dying for this. I'm pretty sure that it should be their decision.

    Well, no matter what Google does, people dying isn't going to be Google's decision, /.'s decision, or their own. It's going to be the government's decision.

    Let's not get confused about who is pointing the guns and would be responsible for murders. If Google decides, "fuck this," all they're doing is deciding "fuck this," not killing people.

  • Obama has supported secrecy in ACTA, supported renewing the PATRIOT act as it is, and given a free pass to the FBI on its abuse of NSL's, as well as failing to follow through on many of his most important promises of things like transparency in the government. He most certainly is an enemy of Americans.

  • Re:Oh really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ma1wrbu5tr (1066262) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:14PM (#31456626) Journal

    a communist government is an unacceptable evil by its very existence.

    Um, 1950 called and they want their outdated and incorrect rhetoric back.

  • by evanism (600676) on Friday March 12, 2010 @05:25PM (#31456812) Journal

    I agree with your sentiments.

    China is morally and politically the enemies of the west. Chinese government thinking is incompatible with any western government.

    Ignoring IP (like most /.ers do) is one thing, but to sanction it with government inaction, or action, or tacit acknowledgement is another. Trade laws, IP, currency manipulation, trade embargoes (gold, rare earths, cement, iron and steel) are showing that the Chinese Government are not Happy Trade Friends, not even handed consumers of western product.

    If people THINK that China is their economic saviour, they are deluded. As per above, their interests are not "our" interests.

    Has everyone forgotten they are a totalitarian communist regime?

    Does anyone, for one second, think the $895 Billion in Bonds the CG holds is going to anything other than a dick in the bum? (http://www.ustreas.gov/tic/mfh.txt)

  • Oh my! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Un pobre guey (593801) on Friday March 12, 2010 @06:00PM (#31457372) Homepage
    I'm so surprised! A sovereign nation with an authoritarian government insists that foreign companies abide by its laws! Who woulda thunk...
  • by Un pobre guey (593801) on Friday March 12, 2010 @06:06PM (#31457450) Homepage
    Oh quit your pretentious whining. If you are a US citizen, you live in a country that incarcerates and executes far more people per capita than China, invades far more sovereign nations than China, killing, maiming, and rendering psychologically disturbed tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians per decade. The US also provides lavish funding to insurgents of various sorts to destabilize governments it finds offensive. We support right-wing authoritarian governments, including absolute monarchies, that as you complain "routinely muzzle speech and dissent within their own borders, and force those who do business with them to do the same" as well as "have thousands of political prisoners." Your tax dollars pay for this. The politicians you vote for support this.

    You are nobody to criticize what China or anybody else does if you are a fellow US citizen.
  • Re:Oh really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jpmorgan (517966) on Friday March 12, 2010 @06:24PM (#31457688) Homepage

    No it doesn't. Communism, and specifically the command economy of communism, doesn't make sense on paper, except to the intellectually unsophisticated. Anybody with a good understanding of economics or even mathematics should be able to see the fundamental flaws in a command economy. On paper an economy is a glorified optimization problem, and communism is a shitty algorithm even theoretically.

    Why has China done well over the past 20 years? Because they've abandoned communist economics in favor of a government directed free-market. Which is also known as fascism. Unfortunately, fascism does work.

  • Re:Game of Chicken (Score:2, Insightful)

    by quanticle (843097) on Friday March 12, 2010 @06:53PM (#31458048) Homepage

    Every single one of them can leave their job if they disagree with it.

    Okay, well, lets say your CEO decides that America's drug laws are outdated and decides to start distributing marijuana with company resources. It can't be wrong, since you always have the option to quit, right?

  • by Schoenlepel (1751646) on Friday March 12, 2010 @10:40PM (#31460638)

    ok, pick up a dictionary and look up communism [wikipedia.org] and socialism [wikipedia.org]. I think you'll notice that those are two qiute different ideas.

    In the case of China you're not dealing with a communist nor socialist country, you're dealing with a totalitarian [wikipedia.org] country; quite a difference.

    The error most people make is that they believe that totalitarianism is the same as communism, which it is not. However, countries trying to implement those ideas to the absolute however have all fallen to the trap of totalitarianism, which is a shame.

    It is disturbing to see persons who seem quite intelligent otherwise make the simple, but dumb, mistake of switching those three ideas.

  • by Schoenlepel (1751646) on Friday March 12, 2010 @11:07PM (#31460868)

    While China only does this economically, the United States goes a lot further then that. Country refuses to give the U.S. oil? Simple solution: bomb the crap out of it and replace its government (Iraq, Afghanistan (oil pipeline)). Or how about staging a revolution? (Iran, Venezuela) Installing a dictator is viable option too... most recentl attempts being Venezuela and Bolivia.

    Oh, wait... but since it's the U.S.A. (no, not the United States of Argentina) it's alright to do that, because the U.S.A. is a *cough* democracy *cough*.

    Also, how about U.S.A. police brutality? Or how about the largest prison population in the world (again, the U.S.A.)? How about signing the rights of the child treaty? How about the death penalty (government sanctioned murder)? How about Guantanamo bay?

This screen intentionally left blank.

Working...