Dear Larry Page and Sergey Brin,
Please, please, please, I beg you don't leave China. What would I do without you? Every time I visit your famously efficient search engine I feel as if I am back home in the States basking in the glory of democracy. If you leave, I will be forced to use Yahoo, and their search engine just sucks.
Foreign-born Net surfers and Chinese students who plagiarize their graduation papers need you. You are like the McDonald's of the Internet. All this Chinese food is great, but sometimes I just need a Big Mac - if you get my drift.
I know you are under a lot of pressure by "morally superior" individuals to stand up and fight for your rather clichd motto. But after all, you are a business, not a religion or non-profit organization.
When you first came to the Middle Kingdom, you raised your voice to decry censorship but soon silenced your rhetoric once the money started flowing. So why raise the issue now?
Sure, in a perfect world there would be no war and the Internet would be completely open. I wish that too, but it's just not reality. You gotta work with what you got. All this just so you can protect your name? What about your Chinese employees' livelihood?
Dare I even say it, what about your chubby Silicon Valley investors that care more about your profit statements than moral principles.
You have already delayed the release of two phones in China that run Google software and a retreat from China would certainly take a chunk out of their portfolio. I mean God forbid they have to sell their little cottage in the Napa Valley.
Last but not least, what about me! I know it's selfish, but hey - according to my Chinese students, that is what Western culture is all about, so I better join the bandwagon.
Oh, confused Mr Page and Brin. Haven't you learned anything from your time in China? The bird that flies the highest is the first to be shot down.
You can bring change, you just need more patience with a lot more persistence and humility. You need to be a stubborn thorn in the flesh, not a crazed lunatic trying to rob a bank with a BB gun.
In the end, everyone should take a step back and realize that it's going to be impossible for anyone to completely censor the Internet, it's just too big and there are too many cracks in even the most powerful firewalls.
I am reminded of a famous saying. "If you can't beat them, join them." Mr Page and Brin, I hope you can at least listen to my plea...don't abandon me.