Freedoms and responsibilities – Kazuo Ogoura

From The Japan Times Online:

The international community has been watching the rise of China and India with interest, and two recent events symbolize the growing stature of these two countries. One was the so-called Google incident. In the course of its entry into China’s Internet services market, Google Inc., a major American corporation, is said to have bowed to the wishes of the Chinese authorities by promising to suppress the distribution of information critical of the Chinese government. Google had previously resisted intervention by the U.S. government even with regard to information on criminal investigations and terrorist activities, trumpeting its commitment to the freedom of information, but it is now facing international criticism on the grounds that it caved in on this very point to China.

If it is true that Google acted to suppress information, this constitutes a challenge to the freedom of information distribution, and the firm can have little to complain about accusations that it compromised its political convictions and principles for the sake of the economic gains it hopes to reap from its foray into the huge Chinese market.

…… The other symbolic event is the agreement between the United States and India on the provision of nuclear technology, which was reached on the occasion of U.S. President George W. Bush’s recent visit to India. Under the deal, the U.S. will make civilian nuclear technology available to India, even though India is not a signatory of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. This amounts to recognition of India’s status as a nuclear power and acceptance of its freedom to act as a major power (such as by disregarding the NPT).

In the light of these two events, both China and India can be said to have achieved “double recognition”: recognition of their status as major powers, and recognition of the freedom of action that comes with that status. This leads to the question of whether these two countries meet the third of the true conditions for being a major power, the bearing of responsibility commensurate with this status. [Full Text]

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