What China hasn’t done is to acknowledge what the real stakes are here. This is more than just a squabble between an Asian country and a Western company: It’s a realization by China that it may no longer be able to repel an overwhelming tide of free – and unfiltered – information.
China’s “Great Firewall” is more of a proverbial dike, and Mountain View, CA-based Google is a hole that needs plugging.
In the digital age, Google’s mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” is more than just feasible.
Globally, more information is reaching more people at a faster rate than ever before. Innovations like broadband networks, wireless access and smartphones will intensify that trend. As emerging markets gain muscle, as wages grow, and as the world shrinks, a growing population will demand Internet access – and the unfettered and unfiltered information that goes with it.
So while China can stonewall Google in the near term, it will have to concede defeat in its war on information – and probably sooner than it realizes.