A matter of business

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-01-18 07:54
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Is Google's exit threat a matter of censorship and human rights?

If it is, the move should have come much earlier or the Web giant should have never entered the Chinese market in the first place.

The statement posted by Google says that disputes with the Chinese government on Internet regulation and major cyber attacks on the company that allegedly originated from China have forced the company to consider leaving the nation.

We don't yet know about its real intention to quit China. But reasons in its statement are not convincing. And it is too early and overly sensitive on the part of Western media outlets to play it up as a political issue and portray Google as a guardian of human rights and freedom of speech.

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Every country has its own rules to censor particular kinds of information on the Internet. We spare no efforts in cracking down on pornographic content on the Internet, which we believe and numerous examples have shown are detrimental to the healthy development of young people.

Google should have been quite clear of the Chinese government rules on the management of the Internet even before it entered the Chinese market. In the four years since it was launched in China in 2006, the Internet has been improving rapidly. It has become an important channel for Chinese people to vent their grievances against corruption and whatever possible wrongs committed by the government at all levels.

If Google considered it feasible to develop its Internet business under Chinese law four years ago, it would be ridiculous for it to feel otherwise when the Internet environment here in China has improved tremendously in terms of censorship.

As far as the cyber attacks are concerned, such attacks happen everyday and there are no Internet portals that have not been attacked by hackers. And the Chinese government has always considered such attacks as an online crime and has made strides in cracking down on such offenses.

Wherever Google operates, attacks from hackers will be a problem it has to deal with. So this is undoubtedly not a plausible reason for the Internet giant to quit a market.

Whatever the real cause for Google's possible move, this case is purely business in nature and it should have nothing to do with political ideology. If this Internet giant has political values, it should never have been involved in such a business.

Nevertheless, this case provides some Westerners, who are biased against China's political system, with an opportunity to point their fingers at the Chinese government and even play it up as a political debate in Sino-US relations. Having turned a blind eye and deaf ear to the changes that have taken place in China, they grab any opportunity to do so.

If anything, this case will and should not have any impact on China-US relations. Neither will it negatively impact the political openness the Internet has helped to create for this country in its steady advance to further democracy.

(China Daily 01/18/2010 page8)