Google’s Schmidt: “The Great Firewall Will Fall”

Google chairman and unofficial “ambassador to the World” Eric Schmidt believes that China’s efforts to control online content and conversation are doomed to collapse. From Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy:

“I believe that ultimately censorship fails,” said Schmidt, when asked about whether the Chinese government’s censorship of the Internet can be sustained. “China’s the only government that’s engaged in active, dynamic censorship. They’re not shy about it.”

When the Chinese Internet censorship regime fails, the penetration of information throughout China will also cause political and social liberalization that will fundamentally change the nature of the Chinese government’s relationship to its citizenry, Schmidt believes.

[…] The push for information freedom in China goes hand in hand with the push for economic modernization, according to Schmidt, and government-sponsored censorship hampers both.

“We argue strongly that you can’t build a high-end, very sophisticated economy… with this kind of active censorship. That is our view,” he said.

Schmidt’s other comments may not persuade Beijing that relaxed controls would be in its best interests. On Iran, for example, he says that “before they overthrow the current leader, [citizens] have to have the information to do that.”

In May, Google started revealing Beijing’s censorship of sensitive search terms. Soon afterwards, some Gmail users received warnings of possible intrusion attempts by unspecified “state-sponsored attackers”, believed in many cases to be Chinese.