Today I read an article on the New York Times titled “Google Shuts China Site in Dispute Over Censorship.” It talks about two months after threatening to leave China because of the state censorship, Google closed its Internet search service there and began directing users to the uncensored search engine in Hong Kong. The confrontation between Google and China has become the spotlight of the public. I find this is a very interesting article to look at this issue not only because that this is about the free speech in my country, but also its implication of “changing journalism” influenced by the power of Internet. This article raises a very interesting question about this combat between Google and China: is this all about Chinese government commercial interests to protect local companies or about free flow of information that threats China’s political system.
I totally agree with the view in this article that there is no simply answer in this situation. One the one hand, the Google’s retreat is an indication of the worsening climate of international corporations in China and the protectionism of Chinese government toward local companies and enterprise. On the other, it is quite obviously that Chinese government has tightened the grip on information flow on the Internet in recent years in reaction to the popularity of Internet that increasing the overflow of information involving covered sandals, history and corruption of politics. Even though the Chinese government has asserted the whole Google issue is all about economy and has nothing to be with the political-tie between China and U.S., it is quite clear that the persistency of Chinese government on web-censorship serves as political purposes to harness the information sources.
I explore this topic and read some other news reports and editorials concerning the Google event and the information censorship in China. I find this article did not provide suffice interpretation in terms of political context around this issue, instead it tells the Google story based on the analysis of the economy climate. If people can consider the confrontation of China and Google based on Chinese government perspective, they will find the whole fuss is all about how to sustaining and strengthening the state power through the harnessing and controlling of the information. Chinese government see their country quite different from what the West perceive, which often tends to think of China as powerful, vast and unstoppable. In fact, Chinese government sees more a fragile China besieged on all sides, challenged at home, desperately needing to churn out economic growth to sustain its political model. That’s one reason they took so tough a line on Google. For me, Google retreat in China is more of a political than commercial issue.
Young people put flowers to condole if Google leaves China