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February 14, 2006


Tyler Lyman

As a staunch capatalist living in Asia, I fail to see the debate around an Multi National Corporation choosing to adhere to the laws of the lands in which they operate. In the case of Google et al who have launched sites in china and applied filtering technology it would be like an automanufacture refusing to put an airbag or other required technology into their vehicle because it is not required in the country of origin. We (the US) impose regulations on MNC's who enter the US market all the time, who are we to impose regulations on MNC's based in the US but operating in other lands.


Actually what the US does is says, "if you want to play in our market, you have to obey the following globally."

For example, US companies/subsidiaries can't bribe foreign officials.

You can't invest in both USA and own expropriated Cuban assets.

You can't own a bank in the USA and then assist US citizens in tax avoidance and/or laundering.

So, technically, MNC's have a choice.


Well technically, these companies aren't doing anything illegal either. Unlike helping U.S. citizens launder cash, censoring websites for Chinese users violates no U.S. laws.

I personally don't have any beef with these companies. They're just doing business and maximizing profits like they're legally required to (a corporation's board of directors is legally obligated to maximize profits for shareholders) so why the hell should we care?

And furthermore, how does censorship in China hurt Americans again?...

The interventionist streak of the American public has always struck me as rather odd.


"censoring websites for Chinese users violates no U.S. laws."

For now. With any luck, that'll change. The US is a democratic country, if the US wants to give companies the choice of doing business with America and promoting freedom in other countries of not doing business with America, that's their decision.


Having used the internet extensively in Asia but not China and not having seen this addressed in the media elsewhere... Can an individual request the US version of Google from China or is that site filtered by the Chinese government?
Google checks incoming IP addresses to determine the most appropriate version of search engine to use but this is easily overcome (choosing the US version appears as a selection on the landing page).
Two years ago the Chinese government was trying to filter data traffic (specifically web requests) into the country but those efforts collapsed, have they renewed this (AOL's "open site" would disprove that)?
Having some self-censorship is better than having no service at all. Also given the vast size of internet search engines I suspect more gets through than the censors would admit.
I do think it is important for individuals and corporations to protest censorship; there are bounds driven by social limits(i.e Justice Warren knowing it when he see's it).
Given the choice between having an operation within China and working the system to affect change versus protesting by not having anything, I'll always take the former. Constant and consistant erosion will open the gates.


The problem is Google's "Do No Evil" slogan. Whatever they are doing in China may be lawful, but to US citizens, giving in to a totalitarian government to allow censorship sure feels evil. Their actions have let everyone know that they are really no different from any other MNC doing business in China. They are catching heat because they've fallen off the high moral pedastal they had put themselves upon.


Relative evil, actually. If Google does not participate in the Chinese market, the Chinese are forced to use alternative search engines like Baidu, who are far more stringent and inconvenient when it comes to censorship. If you enter a banned phrase into the search engine, it will lock you out for up to 30 minutes. At least Google will let you perform the search, and will notify you of the results that you are forbidden access to.



what is important? china? or Bush killing Arthur Anderson thru Enron?

My name is NOT anon, and it is NOT feb15


Paul Campbell

WoW! Haven't you people heard of Amnesty International? Stalin: 'The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of a million is a statistic'. Likewise profit versus people. What price greed and power? The source of most rebellion is the individual's sense of lack of power against a parental force. Orwell!?

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