With 1.6 billion people and the world’s largest economy, China was an appealing potential market for any vendor with a ware to sell. But Google, through direct and indirect means, has made people come to some uncomfortable realizations. Mike Elgin of Datamation says what’s on his mind.
Google announced on January 12 that December hacks on servers in China, plus recent “attempts” by the Chinese government to “further limit free speech on the web,” “may well mean having to shut down Google.cn” and close Google’s Chinese offices.
But why would hack attempts, which Google says were both unsuccessful and not aimed solely at Google, prompt the company to threaten a Chinese pull-out? And why become suddenly concerned about Chinese government censorship, which has existed since before Google arrived in China?
The reason all this sounds surprising and mysterious is that Google is no doubt using omissions and euphemisms to both protect its employees and partners in China from retribution by the government, and also to leave the door open a bit so it might keep doing business in China.
Since Google can’t and won’t say the plain truth, I will: To do business as an Internet company in China is to risk pressure to collaborate with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the violation of human rights.