A simple analysis of the Google.cn event – Chiu Yung

From Chiu Yung’s Web: (translated by CDT):

(Let me first say Happy New Year to everyone! After the energetic growth and endless disruptions of the blogosphere last year, let’s start over again on this clear day. )

Some blogger let out a long sigh over the google.cn event before the New Year,

I see this event slightly differently. We should see things clearly. This website has .CN in its domain name, and any website with a .CN domain name must strictly follow the [government] regulations on information management. Google has adopted .CN to localize its operation in China, so how can we expect that they do things differently?

Let’s for a moment put aside the fact that Google is in the business of information and search. Any foreign company that comes into China has to follow the regulations, no matter how unreasonable the regulations are, unless they do not want to do business in China. For example, if a foreign company wants to hire employees in China, it has to go through the local [government] appointed Friendship Labor Service Center to contract; these regulations have ridiculously existed for so many years, but they still exist. Google.cn is the same as those companies such as McDonald’s, and GE China: when they enter China, they have to follow the rules of the game put forward by the Chinese government.

So from this perspective, Google’s entering China is the same as those hundreds of huge corporations in China. There is no ethical problem, unless you say to enter China is the problem itself. The only difference is: Google is in the business of information and content, so when it follows “relevant regulations in China,” it makes the company very visible.

Let’s take a look at this criticism: “Google says no to the US government, but kowtows to the Chinese government.” This criticism is quite off-base. Because, according to US law, Google does not have to provide information to the US government, or as least that’s what Google believes. Not only can Google say no to the US government, ordinary US citizens can also say no to their government, as long as their action is based in the law. The US government can only ask Google to provide information through a legal procedure, not through the threat of power. If Google does not want to cooperate, the US government can only complain, but cannot block its IP or close down its server.

In China, Google also follows the “law.” But law in China is a different thing from US law, because in China the government agencies who have power are themselves the law. Since the authority is the law, then you have to listen to the authority……. I am not joking, this is how the Chinese legal system works. The so-called constitution and law were just written for people to occasionally take a look, …… Since when are these laws really being honored? We can’t expect Google alone to honor this (Chinese law) by itself, can we?……

If you do not think much of what I just said, you can refer to the three sentences I have written before [about MSN Spaces]. All you need to do is replace MSN with Google, it still fits:

1, It is not Google that is shameful, it is us (as the lower class netizens)…….. (original text)

2, We are not in any position to criticize Google. (
original text)

3, In a weak China, the government kowtows to the foreigners then persecutes our own people; in a strong China, foreigners kowtow to our government and then persecute our people. (
original text)

These three sentences are actually not so well said, not as accurate as our Academy member Mr. He: don’t blame it on Google, who told you to be unfortunately born in China?

If Google really did anything wrong here, we can only conclude: China not only changed certain lifestyles of westerners by providing inexpensive goods, but also used its enormous market to change westerner’s moral standards.

Chiu Yung is a long time blogger who lives in southern China.

January 30, 2006 9:04 PM
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