After Hours

Google's exit: Is China just a money pit?

It's official. Google has stopped censoring Chinese search results. We discuss what this move means for the company, the country, and the Internet.

Podcast

It's official. Google has stopped censoring Chinese search results. We discuss what the move means for the company, the country, and the Internet.

The Big Question is a joint production from ZDNet and TechRepublic that I co-host with ZDNet Editor in Chief Larry Dignan.

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About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

154 comments
VOMIChairman
VOMIChairman

About time! Being that I was born and raised during my early years in a dictatorship, I have strong feelings toward this subject. Unless you've ever lived in a dictatorship, it's really hard to imagine what that feels like. In any case, for a while I was concerned it was like Obama's fake endorsement of a public option that he never even bothered to fight for. Whatever Google loses from China, it can make up elsewhere in other parts of the world. In any case, I would rather have 1000 small customers than 1 big customer who can squeeze my testicles and make me holler uncle anytime he chooses. Therefore, in both the short and long run, it's a good business move for Google. That also sends a message to other despots, dictators, and light dictators (as in light cigarettes) around the world who are also our very close friends that it's not our job to coddle them. They are always FREE to filter Google's information ON THEIR OWN and WE respect their right to do so in their own country. We don't want to--and nor should we--impose our own values on them and vice-versa. It's up to their [any nation's] people to hold their government accountable for their actions and it's not Google's job to decide what's right for the Chinese, Saudis or, as a matter of fact, any other nationality. However, that being said, it's not Google's job to ignore its own values and assist these despots, dictators, and democratic-free leaders (as in fat-free) in their actions.

arthurborges
arthurborges

I've lived in several countries, to the point where I'm not sure how to draw the line around what exactly qualifies as a dictatorship. Nobody can run a country all by her/himself... not even Andorra or San Marino. You have to build a power base in order to climb the power pyramid. That means negotiating with the various interest groups that constitute the society you hope to govern. On the other hand, some governments are more centralized than others. States rights have been an enormous handicap to running the USA even when it had less than 100 million inhabitants; please consider that China is 13 times bigger with 56 ethnic nationalities -- and even within the Han majority there are serious multifarious differences of mindset. Even Pres. Charles de Gaulle, in a moment of exasperation, blurted out: "How can you govern a country that makes 175 kinds of cheese?" At the time, the French population stood at 45 million. De Gaulle, by the way, instituted a new constitution still used today that contains Article 49.3 whereby, if the president is in a pinch, he can tell his prime minister to walk into the parliament, read the government bill and add "The government invokes Article 49.3 and assumes all liability for it": that means the bill shortcircuits a vote and enters directly into effect as law. Is France a dictatorship? Or more exactly, how much of a dictatorship is France simply because both houses of the legislature are fully aware of the existence of Article 49.3? Google's option obtains what you state: Beijing now filters google.com.hk like it filters anysite.ca or nimportekwoi.fr. Yes, the Chinese will solve Chinese problems the Chinese way, just like VOMI solves VOMI problems the VOMI way. This is as it should be, I feel. That said, if I were in the USA, I would be monitoring any erosion of values at home right now: I had a Colombian teaching friend with an uncle who was retired KGB. After reading the provisions of the Patriot Act, he simply exclaimed: "We never had such powers! Yes, under Stalin, we could arrest anyone we liked. But we didn't have the technology."

JCitizen
JCitizen

Yeah! Google! Without being able to serve all information for Chinese businessmen, Google's services weren't doing them any good any way. Free open information is the only way to get ahead in the business climate. China just did us a favor for forcing Google to realize this. Now the free world will easily compete with the Chinese juggernaut! And no, arthurborges, I am NOT a paid shill to anyone. I am my own captain of destiny! And so far, a bright one at that!

arthurborges
arthurborges

JCitizen, I never accused you of being a paid shill. And please feel free to promote yourself to major, lite colonel and more! As for me, I teach a low-stress 14 hrs/wk at state university; the salary is USD 740/mo. plus free flat and utilities in a country with a superlow crime rate, really nice students and colleagues, and where a bad restaurant is hard to find. More to the point, everybody inherits the tunnel vision of their own culture and society. I post here simply to share mine, as you have shared yours: the hope is that our tunnel visions go binocular. Have a nice day. Google's I'm-a-good-girl freakout is off the radar screen here and netizens have gone back to online gaming plus social networking.

Shepps
Shepps

... for a most amusing and interesting thread, I don't think I have followed a TechRepublic thread for so long. You _do_ seem to sing the praises of the country you live in a little too fervently, but hey, that's everyone's right, I guess. A question to you then: all these things which China bans from publishing (the tiananmen square massacre and... errr what else do they ban?...). Surely, the common middle class Chinaman is aware that these things happened and are being censored...? Or not? Do they not really care about censorship? A good friend of mine lived there for about a year. Things he noted or got annoyed about were lying taxi drivers who would quote one price to you entering the taxi and then demand a higher price when you leave (sounds like a funny thing to happen, but he said it happened again and again and again). The second, actually interesting, thing was that he said the Chinese sang praises for their system, even those who had lived abroad for 20 or more years. He said they got very blinkered to any other view of the world other than that with which they grew up. Do you agree on those observations?

JCitizen
JCitizen

I'm sure the Nazis did too. I can't blame you for praising the PRC, If I lived there in fear, I would too! If you are not fearful, then I would say you were amazingly naive. Call me what you will, but that is the way I swing on this.

arthurborges
arthurborges

This is a society where everybody operates extensive social networks: everybody heard about Tiananmen in real time by personal phone calls. Tiananmen was about 20% inflation per year since 1984. It got to the point where folks were dipping into savings to cover daily expenses. Meanwhile the best & brightest were watching, say, government vehicles getting borrowed to move soup noodle stands around town (private vehicles were banned till 1990) and saw semi-educated farmers getting rich from noodle stands while the whizkids had been banking on high-flying careers that paid little but came with lots of perks, e.g. plane tickets at the same price as rail tickets because their time was more valuable. Anyhow, pretty much everyone connected the dots to read inflation=corruption. What they wanted was a return to stable prices and rockbottom corruption, i.e. "people's democracy", not some leap into any locally-untested Western model of government. Yes, I've found a nice huge comfort zone here. On taxi drivers, I have to infer your friend lived in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen or another first-tier city where taxi drivers have perfectly Parisian or New York morals. In second- and third-tier cities, rip-offs are rare. That said, you're flagging yourself as a newbie by merely asking the price: when you know a town, you know what the fare should be so you do like any native: get in, buckle up and state your destination. Of course, the Chinese know there is censorship. It really cheeses off porn-starved teenagers and any number of scammers -- though too few of the latter. Most folks use the Internet for gaming, instant messaging and free movies. That's it. The 13-to-22 generation is largely apolitical: they're into finding a job, wife and home. The politically minded teens join the Youth League, which is a mix of the Scout movement and Young Democrats or Young Republicans. As for Falun Gong, the Dalai Lama and Harry Wu, the first two are awfully unpopular and almost nobody has heard of the last. Yes, there are think tanks in major universities where all sorts of ideas are floated and some of the floaters get rapped across the knuckles, but check out the last PEW Global Attitudes Survey on China: 87% of respondents felt their country was "going in the right direction". Performed in the USA about the same timeframe, that survey netted something under 30%of respondents who felt their country was "going in the right direction." On "blinkers", well we all inherit the blinkers of our native culture and society. Sure some of us make it past culture shock and even come to prefer a host country over our homelands, but that doesn't mean we turn around and trash it top to bottom. Each society has its own balance of freedoms and restrictions. Total restriction leads to uprising; total freedom leads to social implosion. China has its balancing act; your land has its own. Good luck to all!

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

They are run by a small group of power hungry, scared men who can't handle any "waves" in their society. So, they will jerk anyone around for any reason. All they do is use the lure of "possible" profits to fool people into spending their money is China and the screw them.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Chinese rulers have been "handling waves" for at least 3,500 years (or 5,000 depending on the baseline) and is still around. The jury here is still out on whether the USA, with only 234 years of wave handling experience, is up to Chinese standard.

davidmaxwaterman+techrepublic
davidmaxwaterman+techrepublic

While US people might distinguish between the Chinese gov and the Chinese people, the Chinese people don't find it so easy, and they've reacted negatively against Google's stance. I doubt Google will ever be successful in PRC now...they'll have to pull of some serious PR trick to win the Chinese people back, especially when they weren't that important to the Chinese people anyway.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Some folks are disappointed in Google, some don't mind going through .hk because you can search in simplified Mainland characters and others are really insulted that Google should consider itself above the law. Beijing may not respond tit-for-tat but Google can't expect favors anymore, which is going to hurt one way or another sooner or later. At one point in the 1980s, Volkwagen China and its plant outside China were losing money. then mayor of Shanghai, Jiang Remin published a new regulation requiring that all Shanghai taxis had to be VWs. That helped the German automaker ride out a deep cashflow problem. The regulation was rescinded once VW was on its feet. Sooner or later, one way or another, Google will regret having opted for direct public confrontation.

valduboisvert
valduboisvert

Lots of wishing thinking on some posts here. No one is better than the other. There is more than the eye can read in the news. It always was, will always be. Google made a correct strategic decision and I give them credit for that, while China has a pretty consistent attitude with their communist dictatorship orientation. I can not label either of them as "bad" or "wrong", but only as correct and consistent. Now, the fact that the whole conflict was sold to the entire planet as sort of an ethical issue is another story. And China it is not quite a money pit. They offer cheap workforce and as long as you can stop them stealing your technology or backstabbing you, you will end up being more profitable.

arthurborges
arthurborges

If you don't want your technology stolen, then all you have to do is to follow in the footsteps of intelligent companies like Airbus, IBM and, um, Google: open a little hut here and fill it with smart locals who can do R&D on the cheap. Then patent their output. Actually, the Chinese are not backstabbers on two conditions (1) NEVER humiliate anyone -- feedback that is frank-but-friendly by US or European standards does not fly here and (2) foster a sense of family in the employer/employee relationship. This is not 100% sure-fire insurance against disgruntled employees, but it definitely cuts the risks. The main risk, here as elsewhere, is that an employee, or group thereof, walks off with a chunk of your clients. If however, you are a smart boss, you help your ambitious employees develop their potential and help them start up their own companies by outsourcing something to them -- and taking a share in their company to lock in their loyalty. As a rule, if you help people develop their inner potential, they will be grateful about it all their lives. Sure, there'll be a b*st*rd in one out of 10 cases, but after the 10 percent write-off for his shortsightedness, on the whole, you'll still be coming out way ahead.

austin
austin

You know, you know, you know, you know, you know Larry.

surentharp
surentharp

it's the advantage for the people, the chinese people ruling the internet while google censored,now the google uncensored so who losing it - i think not chinese people and it's government

valduboisvert
valduboisvert

... might be that not the chinese people are ruling the internet, but the chinese government.

angela380in
angela380in

This is just so sad to hear that even Google is leaving China. This is not a free country, and yet people don't even realize it. There is something that needs to be done before the Chinese are empowered by the emperors again!!!!!!!!!

arthurborges
arthurborges

No society is free. Society means living in a group of people on the basis of a minimum set of shared values. As a member, you agree to that minimum set in exchange for the society's protection, e.g. if someone starts torching your home, you can phone 911 because there is no warrant out on you. That absence of a warrant says you abide to that set of values and are entitled to dispatch of a cruiser plus the pair of officers inside. Then there are values of no importance to a society, where members are free to do as they wish. In medieval Europe, you got beheaded for wearing purple, a color reserved for the king and queen; in China, it was yellow. Other colors were "free". In the Vatican State, it is illegal to open a mosque or synagogue, but the age of consent is 12 years; in the USA, you can open almost any flavor of place of worship, but 15 year-olds are off limits: each society has its own mix of freedoms and constraints. Angela, we all suffer from at least some of the tunnel vision of the societies into which we are born and raised. That you haven't noticed the freedoms of Chinese society tells me you have more exploring to do here. Finally, the last emperor went out in 1911. China reincorporated as a republic with separation of church and state in 1912. It reincorporated as a people's republic in 1949. Changes to the 1949 constitution and Party bylaws have effectively turned it into what, by West European standards, would best be defined as a single-party social democracy. It is amusing to read of such subscription to the China Threat, the re-branded version of the Yellow Peril. Are you afraid the 2.5 million-strong People's Liberation Army will "swarm" across the Bering Straits and down into California? Fine, but how? In 1.25 million stealth kayaks? Because the PLA simply has nothing near that sort of force projection capability, dear. Do you think they might make you give up your bank job, burn all credit cards, turn your lawn into a rice paddie and make you do real work? Will they put a gun to your mother's head and make her cook real food instead of frozen pizza and Swanson TV dinners? Will they actually coerce your kids to study and pass exams regularly for a change? Will they melt down all your silverware in backyard furnaces and force you to eat with chopsticks for the rest of your life? Oh please tell us more!

Shepps
Shepps

Arthur, again your mails are making me chuckle. :) Actually I am sure China could shaft the U.S. with all the bonds they hold but that is another topic and they would probably shaft themselves in the process. As to your interesting part on freedoms, you are correct in that there is no absolute right or wrong. However I guess there is a minimum which we now expect the world to behave with. A few centuries ago and in some countries today, killing another human being is/was not necessarily considered wrong, but just as you say that people have to adhere to the societies they were born in (in exchange for certain protection), so do I also think that countries have to stick to a rule-book if they want to be part of the international community. Attempts have been made to define the laws that we consider 'fair', indeed I used to live about 100m away from the set of pillars in Germany inscribed with all of the basic human rights of man. And I think that basic rights such as the right to speak freely without fear of retribution (for instance) is something that _should_ be everyone's right. Don't get me wrong, each country falls foul of these to varying degrees, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't strive to let every human being able to enjoy those same rights everywhere. So country for country, law by law we should all fight (whatever that means) for change. After all, I quite enjoy wearing purple shirts...!

arthurborges
arthurborges

One way or another, the US will renege on its debt. You hear clamoring for a revaluation of the yuan, but no mention is made of compensating China for the heavy foreign exchange losses it takes when it cashes in Treasurys at maturity. Killing being okay a few centuries ago? Um, 75% of war dead and injured have been civilians since World War II. Precision munitions are mostly a public relations smokescreen. I'd rather think it's always been morally unfashionable to kill but that technology and human progress have enabled mankind to concentrate ever more killing power into ever fewer fashionably democratic hands. "They have to stick to a rule-book if they want to belong to an international community," you write. Well, all empires are built on one rule book or other, but somehow I sense the one you're pushing is written in American English. However, if you are truly speaking of a community, then it's a matter of negotiating the contents of that book in good faith. I confess I don't much of that. US diplomacy often seems like, as one quipper put it: "The art of saying 'nice doggie' until your sniper gets into position." Basic rights? Are they political or social? In a pinch for how long would you prefer your right to mouth off in the street in exchange for skipping a meal? I let the media defend that right all by themselves -- they're the folks that get the most mileage out of it. But if you wanna skip meals to save Fox and the Beeb, then be my guest. Personally, I've never worried about free speech. I simply write what I write. And keep laughing: only free men have a sense of humor. The rest are de facto slaves of one sort or another.

valduboisvert
valduboisvert

I apologize but I am having problems understanding what you said. Are you suggesting to help the chinese people who probably doesn't want your help anyway ?

BruceEArnold
BruceEArnold

This was a very interesting discussion, but... After listening to the guys say "you know" about 100 times it was like Chinese Water Torture. I could only stand about 50 percent of the talk before I quit. Other choice words were also used that don't belong in a professional discussion.

th35had0w
th35had0w

Bravo Google. The Chinese government has every right to set it's own censorship standards and policies. Every country does. Whilst I have my own views on what China does, I won't pretend to have any real understanding of the complexeties and challenges that they face. Well done Google for going in in the first place and sacrificing some of their core values to try and 'make nice' with a new and growing global neighbor / participant. At the end of the day, Google also has a similar right with what they deem the apropriate use and application of their product / brand name. Is the Google product to be used for the internet, or should it regionalized and modified on a per country basis? If the latter is true, then it should be renamed on a per country basis. If the former is true, then the country must use it 'as is' or not at all.

dave.bailey
dave.bailey

The gradual metamorphosis of the internet, from an ad hoc playground of the technically adept, to a competitive arena for influential corporations, has left many of us with mouldering, outdated stereotypes depicting purity of purpose and "The American Way". Nations adapt and change in response to internal and external influences, in the same way that businesses adapt and change in response to social trends and return on investment. It doesn't take much research to get an understanding of the influences capitalism has had on both business AND government. Google is only one of many examples of the results of responding to the inherent ripples in the system. When Google was spawned, commercialism was not the issue it is today. There were few filters -- at least from the point of view of, "What makes the most money for corporation X?" At the same time, there was no way of knowing that the question might change to, "What reflects the national interests of country Y?". There is no doubt that we are witnessing an historical moment on the world stage. After the gradual loss of our collective ability to see the world without the distortion of capitalism, we must now suffer the impending loss of the prosaic world view we have come to love and cherish so much. Living in the real world carries SO much baggage, doesn't it?

Flametorrent
Flametorrent

..about the whole.. google and your private data. Hospital records are now paperless, so they have everything about you online too. The future is in the internet and everything will soon be there, if not already there. Personally, I have nothing but my social security number to hide. I wouldn't want everyone in the world knowing my address and phone number, but that's only because I already have enough friends and don't want creepy people coming over and talking to me. I think people are getting into whatever hype there is at the time. Like in the year 2000. "We're all going to die!" Lol, it's 2010. 10 years later. ..wait. What if we -did- die, and this is all a dream? Whatever the case, I think Google getting out of (C)hina was a good move. They don't want them there anyways! Did you see the news and comments left by the populous? They really don't want Google there. For me, Google's move made me trust them a bit more. No cover ups, and no "I'm going to block these people from this as long as so and so money money cash a few bucks money $$$ cash a few more bucks and a small favor". Man, I would love working for Google. I really feel like going down that slide and getting some soda.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Flametorrent, this is a society where you go way out of your way to avoid embarrassing anybody. Google chose to get confrontational. Read up on Rio Tinto. Four of their people got arrested for bribery and bigtime commercial espionage (tapping into operational information about China's minimum bargaining positions). They are theoretically eligible for the death penalty. RT entered into quiet diplomacy. The sentence hasn't been handed down yet, but it looks like that in exchange for guilty pleas, they'll be let off. The bottomline remains that if somebody hacks into my laptop here, it doesn't give me the right to break Chinese law or declare myself above it. At all events, Google has not only generated bad blood in Beijing, it has also done so in Hong Kong -- see http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/LC25Cb01.html for details by an ex-US diplomat.

Flametorrent
Flametorrent

That's so interesting. I like that people there go out of their way to avoid embarrassing others. A few bad eggs shouldn't make or break a company, but I see your point. :] If it happened once, it will happen again. For one giant to obtain so much information.. haha reminds me of the government. That's not good. I really don't know what to think yet, I'm going to go read that link you sent me. Thanks. Have a nice day. I'll be back later.

heaslip
heaslip

Jason: Man some of the sophistication of responses by IT folk I'm sad to say very much so reflects the "dandruff thick as snow on the specs., smelly, etc." opinion upper management has had towards segregating some IT folk to the backroom. I've been in IT for over 25 years and I'm amazed by some of the writing I've seen here today. I thought there was a time when IT and intelligence were joined at the hip. Put a triple analog lock on that back door.

mchamer
mchamer

It shows character, not just greed. I like Google more !!

gelgin2k
gelgin2k

There is a lot of back and forth about moral indignation and right and wrong in these responses. The bottom line is there is no moral corporation that is publicly traded. There is likely precious few that can show weak vestiges of morality that are still in private hands. Companies have a single principal; The bottom line. We argue about morality and justice and right and wrong, all the while US companies have flocked to China, India, and anywhere they can to access slave labor rates provided by oppressive regimes, or simply oppressed economies. If a company can save a dollar by working with tyrants or bribing officials they can, will, and are doing so in these environments. Stop thinking a company can be just or righteous or moral. Such ideas interfere with the bottom line and will be crushed out of existence. Companies in the US have done a fine job of making our own government corrupt, Political action committees write the laws then pay the senators and representatives to enact them. They get away with it because we have little or no time to engage in our own process. I like many spend 50-70 hours a week working and 10-15 hours a week commuting, I didn't have time to read the 1017 page health reform act much less write my senator and representative to provide my thoughts. So who are we to throw stones at China? I don't like the government, won't visit, and am actively trying to buy less made in China products. However it seems to work for some so more power to them. In the mean time stop debating the morality of companies there is none, stop looking for it.

Shepps
Shepps

To quote you: Stop thinking a company can be just or righteous or moral. Such ideas interfere with the bottom line and will be crushed out of existence. ---------------- Your observations, whilst correct, should not lead to the conclusion that we should accept things as they are. Yes, it would appear that no corporation has morals, but I would like to see it happen. I think we have to do this both on a personal level and on a corporate level. I do have some faint hope that some companies, for instance, do actually care about the environment and are putting steps in place to protect it for the future EVEN IF it hurts the bottom line. There is no point in making the bottom line the be all and end all of policy-making at governmental and corporate level if there is no tomorrow in which to have a bottom line. As for health care, we in Europe are pretty shocked at the indignation of the middle class in the US at paying higher rates to make sure that no person is left uninsured. You should be praising Obama instead and just accepting it because it is RIGHT. Yes, your bottom dollar might be hurt, but the fact that 10s of millions were uninsured in a first-world country should really shock you more. I am sure Google had ulterior motives about their moves but at least they are making some kind of stand and seem to be doing the right thing. Perhaps they aren't but at least they are giving media attention to a subject we all like to ignore, the fact that we trade with a country that will happily lock away its citizens for speaking their mind.

Shepps
Shepps

You are probably right, that Google isn't all clean and I get the controlling the vertical and the horizontal argument of yours... but what would any company do whose search engine becomes the world's number one? Would you stop offering, e.g. certain apps just because your search engine could potentially find those apps and be in a conflict-of-interests position as to whether you should boost your own apps' rankings? I am sure you are right, that alot of dodgy stuff goes on, but does that mean that any company who have reached a certain size automatically have to be seen to be doing evil? As for that being the reason that China is fed up with them? Hmmm.. I am pretty sure that China would relish in the prospect of accessing information of Google, Baidu or whomever to see what their own 'dissidents' are up to and get them locked up quicker. I fear that they are in a pretty big glasshouse attempting to throw rocks on Google...

edwardwstanley
edwardwstanley

get 'indexed'... when you are both the provider of the index and have other services in competition with other companies, 'you control the horizontal... the vertical...' ( an outer limits reference).. the bottom line is its a conflict of interest in both providing web services and the engine to find out what services are available. In simple terms they are going against their mantra. ON another note. They fail to disclose the information they collect and what they use it for, they are not alone, facebook, and other 'web 2.0' time wasters. It's no surprise the China is fed up with their crap. I'm a big time capitalist, but when I find myself having to agree with China, on these companies respective 'open' business practices, I fear the purported 'doing good' corp culture of Google has crossed over to the male cow feces side of business practices.

rokosz1
rokosz1

I stopped listening after the umpteenth "Ya' Know'

Kirk2010
Kirk2010

It will be what it will be as this huge country slides towards opening things up and not without sparks. Call it "Choogle" as China's version of Google and maybe you can name a drink after it some day to remenisce. However, collapse the words in the other way and you could end up with Gina? Even conservative Mom's in the U.S. might try to censor that.

SgtPappy
SgtPappy

Simply Brilliant! Is that pronounced G - eye - na?

benardquek
benardquek

Lack of commercial sense and unable to compete on its own terms, Google did the right thing by getting out. It also shows that this company doesn't really want to adapt either. It shows a lot of arrogance in its marketing decision and can't be trusted as a commercial entity.

pivert
pivert

Why would China worry? They are the dominant power on every territory. Take away everything that has a "made in China"-label on it. Now take away everything that could have been made in China (chances are it probably is and it's just repackaged locally). They are not a normal economic power. They are run be a military government. Let there be no mistake on this. They may look inferior to you but they really think of themselves as superior. And they are at the moment. Once they put their eyes on something, better duck, dodge and dive. Look at their current technologic interests: anything that controls or spies on their population is bought or copied immediately. Can you imagine what would happen if they stopped buying dollars? Besides instant world peace, the whole economy would halt. This scenario can take place in... 24hrs. So Google has learned this the hard way.

QAonCall
QAonCall

China buys dollars out of need. They have a hyper inflation bubble that is coming errant some oddity. Their currency manipulation is partially offset by dollar purchases. Their problem is now the dollar has a currency bubble too, with the DC spendathon going on. New CBO report that in less than 10 years the US would be at 90% GDP with just current outlays. China and the US are walking a fine line right now.

arthurborges
arthurborges

If China demanded payment in gold, the US would be unable to pay and both economies would nosedive because exports would collapse (half are from local subsidiaries of multinationals by the way). In Chinese thinking, if you have the ability to help a neighbour, you have a moral duty to do that, even if you know you will incur a net loss. In international realpolitik, so long as there is a high level of trade, the military option is off the table. Nobody in his right mind in China wants to see an implosion of the US economy but they are pretty cheesed off at getting their hand bitten by the folk it feeds.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Pres. Hu is a mechanical engineer who built his power base in the Youth League, which is 100% civilian. Moreover, any republic is based on the principle of a civilian as "commander in chief" of the military. That said, chair of the Central Military Commission is a post that the president may or may not hold. Hu holds it. Yes, the surveillance cameras that cover your tracks all over the USA were doubtless all made in China, but they're only beginning to appear in Zhengzhou where I live -- Zhengzhou is the equivalent of an economically diversified and prosperous US state capital. Nobody in the whole world wants to see the US economy collapse. Americans think in terms of enemies that need to be defeated. This is the historical experience of the USA: Europeans who simply landed, cheesed off the natives and had to fight them off to survive and expand. The Chinese experience is different and society here is based on figuring out how to establish the best balance in relationships to neighbours. This seems almost impossible for most Americans and even many Europeans to fathom, but that's how the Chinese think. They also expect folks to keep their books balanced and to know how to save, just like our pre-creditcard grandfathers did. However, when a friend is in need and you have the ability to lend, there is a moral duty to fork up and cover the need.

fjp
fjp

Better late than never, I guess, but they would have more of the moral high ground if they'd refused at the start. Microsoft seem very quiet on this front - I assume Bing gets filtered? Perhaps the Chinese version should be called 'Bung' (UK slang for a bribe)...

arthurborges
arthurborges

They're keeping all their Mainland sales offices and R&D center here -- I guess they don't want to lose sales revenue or shift into exorbitant Hong Kong salary payscales and real estate prices. Google may have a leftwing heart, but the shareholders are definitely rightwing. Noble ethics at people's prices, don't you think?

QAonCall
QAonCall

Your response indicates that you presume the answers in your questions. Few within the context of a small number, can or should be a minority, but on Google's board I am not sure that is the case, I would have to examine the entire board to draw a full picture, the point was simple, greed is NOT owned by what you referred to as the Right Wing. Apparently our mainstream media has done a fair job of indoctrinating that into your psyche as well as most of the American public. To see this for yourself, simply ask how many of our liberals ride around in private jets, or money gotten from the backs of American labor or industriousness. You will soon find that greed is party neutral. 'Left' simply means or has been used to mean left of what we call 'center' politics. The center will move in one direction or the other on individual issues but seldom stays on either side long (take today's political climate where there is more government spending and intrusion, and the center moves back toward the right side). What determines (generally speaking) the right or the left is the belief in 2 key principles. 1) Government's role in the individuals life 2) The rights and roles of states. A left leaner generally see an active federal government that has a role in people's everyday life. While a right leaner would say that the federal government has little role to play in our everyday life and that citizens should demonstrate the governments roles in their life at the state level where representation is closer, more responsive and elections have larger consequence. (Think local schools boards, city/town election and state and county etc.) The representative republic we have was drastically shifted with the 17th amendment in this country which power shifted a great deal from the states. Since that time, the federal government has grown wildly, as has our debt, and with it, the power of global companies (the ease of global corporate money to influence US politics should not need explanation, since this is basically what we are discussing). One final point, the current administration is generally considered left, and has not only supported bank bailouts, but also car companies, and pretty much anything that was in their electoral back pocket (yes the banks supported Obama overwhelmingly, again, don't let the press fool you...Obama has filled his administration with former Goldman Sachs employees who were the biggest beneficiaries of the bailouts and stand to gain the most from a cap and trade system). In general, the more fiscally conservative people of the country opposed bailouts, and considered bank failures part of the business cycle. Notice there is no party affiliation. The reason 'left' of center opposed bank (generally speaking again) bailouts had more to do with ideology, than principle. Wall street is seen as the enemy by many on the left (see Obama's upcoming attacks on corporate greed etc). As I previously stated, if Google was principled they would have stayed in the fight, to bring information to everyone. Their stand is political show, for those inclined to read headlines only and now read the whole story, to your point about the workforce that remains there. Sorry so long!

arthurborges
arthurborges

Does "few" mean an absolute minority? Does "left" in the American spectrum mean "Marxist" or just ObamaCare fans who morally oppose bank bailouts they cannot stop anyhow? But yes, the link is worth a read! Thanx!!!

QAonCall
QAonCall

that because profit is the motive, the driver is 'right wing' There are quite a few board members who are VERY left of center on gurgle's board. Plus they have a special advisor with government experience...and invented the internet ( ;) )! That aside, gurgle has NO moral high ground, no matter how much PR they buy! http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE59B2R120091012

arthurborges
arthurborges

See ex-US diplomat's take on the Google shift at http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China_Business/LC25Cb01.html. He rakes Google over the coals. Personally, it has caused me to read up lots more on Google. Now I know In-Q-Tel has a stake in it. The above link tells me GoogleMail is way more aggressive about harvesting personal information and I'm following legal issues they're having across the European Union. So yes, it has affected my opinion adversely. I do find it arrogant of any person, physical or moral, to place him/itself above the laws of the land. If Google sincerely has an ethical issue, then it should withdraw entirely but I note Google is keeping its R&D center (because it doesn't want to pay skyhigh Hong Kong wages & real estate prices?), and that google.fr and google.se, for example are unaffected. Above all, it is maintaining its sales offices in the PRC too. So my attitude is that Google has leftwing ethics with rightwing beancounting.

QAonCall
QAonCall

By google's commitment to turn over the records that they use to spy on people. Apparently China feels their hack has gained them the necessary code to replicate googles search, and their spying without further need for the Gagglers. I hope Google stock drops 100.00 per share for responding to the breech by saying 'if you don't have anything to hide, why do you care of we are spying on you?' I think that kind of thinking from the hypocrites at google deserve to lose them the largest fuure internet market in the future. Welcome IBM, MS, et al.

Ssp
Ssp

It is very surprising that you say "if you don't have anything to hide, why do you care of we spying on you?". Sheer stupidity. So by this logic, do you mean you can walk out on the streets nude coz you have nothing to hide ? And I infer that you are just a 12 year old sneaking here and posting while your parents aren't around.

spage
spage

What you're failing to acknowledge is the difference between the sovereignty of a country and the policy of a company. You can choose what companies you do business with, but you can't choose your government--especially when it's one that routinely violates the most basic of human rights. Google as well as all individuals have the right--nay the duty to disregard laws that are unjust and violate our free agency. My applause for Google and for all peoples who defy statism.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Enjoy your country! Yes, there's an equivalent in the UK for the idiomatic US expression of "getting hauled on the carpet": "getting invited to tea without biscuits." I guess the sort of copy you would like to read goes something like: http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index1356.htm Enjoy that too! Have a nice day.

spage
spage

What kind of McCarthian tactic is this? In my country, I don't live in fear of what other people might hear me say (like in yours). There's no one in my country that might "take me to tea" for my political beliefs. At least not yet. Take care, do not be a slave to your laws or your country, and try not to expose other people as criminals. Zai Jian, comrade.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Google entered China in 2006. It didn't happen at communist gunpoint; shareholder gunpoint, maybe, but not communist gunpoint. But while we're at it, Spage, do lead by example and tell us which laws of your country you nobly elect to disregard out of higher principle. My applause to you for each example. And yes, Spage, you have more readers here than you might like. Have a nice day!

jurgislasevicius
jurgislasevicius

The Chinese govt. is a terrorist organization, they conduct their behaviour by allowing and conducting hacking, producing poor grade/quality merchandise, treating their own people like dirt and expecting the rest of the world to follow suit. I hope that the rest of the world will follow in Google's footsteps and completely pull out of China. The Chinese govt. should be executed for the way they conduct themselves they are criminals. I hope that the Google stock multiplies many fold over this courageous act that they have just carried out, especially in no longer filtering the Chinese searches. The Chinese govt. by the very fact that they want to filter out their wrong doing incriminate themselves. Another bone of contention is the very successful country of Taiwan which the Chinese govt. wants to wreck with it's immoral and perverse ways. So once again WELL DONE Google and may other companies follow suit and block anything that is Chinese from ever being imported into their respective countries until the Chinese communist govt. change their ways and make life better for all.

JCitizen
JCitizen

will continue to engender naive ideas on both sides. We criticize you because you block open information, and you criticize us on with opinions that are not privy to open information. Probably 87% of the stuff on the internet is pure BS; but at least the free open exchange of ideas; allows us in the free world to make our own educated decisions on what is truth or fiction. We cannot respect you statement that we are naive, because we know you don't have all the information you need to make that decision. It is a simple cold hard fact.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Input from a Mainland student would be most welcome by everyone here!

arthurborges
arthurborges

I've posted here about Mao's choice of an astrologically optimized date & time for the founding of the PRC, plus a bit more. On astrology, you'd be surprised how many heads of state consult them. Pres. Reagan is one U.S. example that comes to mind. Moreover, I think we should be as modest as smart scientists about science: it only covers what it can measure and restricts its discourse to what it can make its numbers tell. When it makes statements about phenomena outside its field, it loses credibility. I find it perplexing how some scientists will believe in God but not astrology, when their instruments can neither prove nor disprove the existence of either.

JCitizen
JCitizen

The PRC is just a new form of the Emperor and his court. Minus his astrologer *snicker*

arthurborges
arthurborges

You write: "The current government bears little or no resemblance any of the very different dynasties that ruled China in that time, so your criticism of America and the rest of the West by comparison holds no water." So, in your view, as of October 1, 1949, all 450 million Chinese were instantly brainwashed of their entire past, personal, social, cultural and ethnic? To give you a simple example, Mao outlawed astrology when he came to power, so a number of astrologers fled to Taiwan, but curious fellows that they were, they did a birth chart for the People's Republic and were highly amused to discover Mao had picked the most auspicious possible date for the birth of his republic. When you visit Shaoshan, his hometown and check out his parents' and grandparents' graves, you'll find they were all buried in positions that respected the rules of feng shui. This idea that the PRC operates in some sort of cultural vacuum is something you will have a hard time convincing any social scientist of; it is sooner a case of political quarantine invented by the media -- and practiced even by the NPOV-hugging Wikipedia. Even rightwing Taiwanese would simply listen to that in silent disbelief. It's simply too far from reality.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Both Mao Zedong and Chiang Kai-shek were great admirers of Sun Yat-sen. During WW2, Chiang was even captured by the Communists but released after promising to postpone their civil war and direct his units at the Japanese occupier. When Chiang's widow died a few years ago, it was front page news nationwide on the Mainland. Even during the Cold War, Beijing and Taipei coordinated action to defend China's territorial claims to various islands in the South China Sea. It's not at all the simple Us/Them scenario the media paint up. The total amount of cross-straits investment is now so high it's a state secret in both countries and neither Beijing nor Taipei may know the full extent of it -- but increased economic integration between the island and Mainland is one big blunt fact.

beanxyz
beanxyz

Yes, you hit the point and i totally agree with you. Censorship exists everywhere, and now Google starts to claim its "freedom" in Australia again..

Flametorrent
Flametorrent

The attitude there is so different from here! I live in an extremely small community, not some big time city, but whenever I do venture into one every one is so individual. So many people have Ethnocentrism (I've always wanted to use that word) and it's like what you said. "Each is right in his own context, neither is superior". But you know, other countries are creating an opinion of the USA based on our stupid President, and New York. Here where I live, we don't like it either. It's sucks having to pay tons of taxes that are paying for 'Healthcare' when my Mother couldn't get into a hospital herself... because we ran out of money paying for every one else! And no one is going to help us but our family. And that's how it should be! We should take care of our family and friends. Don't get me wrong, I always help strangers (friends I haven't made yet), but in big cities they take advantage of your generosity. And 'um.. there are a number of issues concerning opinions. It's all about money in the places that are of concern to other countries, but that's not all of the States. Here (yeah.. California) is bad in the upper areas, but down here it is so amazing. I went out yesterday night and I was carrying a ton of things and a lady came up to me and opened the door for me. She was paying attention to some one other than herself. It was the greatest feeling ever. And this happens to me pretty much every day. And I always help them too. Some people have no idea how good it feels to help others because they only care about themselves and they are ignorant of the importance of others. If a country across the world understands that "It's all about everybody being polite to everybody. All the time. Because you never know when you might need each other (again)." then why can't every idiot in the States understand that too? And another thing.. so many little kids typing away and creating resentment.. The internet is an extremely powerful tool, and it should not be given to children that have no morals. Haha, again with that. But hey I have to preach it, I want the future to be bright for my kids. Other people need to take care of their kids so they don't start having anomie thoughts. And again! Culture is extremely important, concerning the issue Trhaya brought up. This specifically, "Point of fact, that 5,000 year-old civilization is doing its very best to appropriate any aspect of Western civilization it thinks can help modernize its own moribund society". This does happen very often. I mean, Western civilization is just a mutt of all others. We 'appropriated' before they did. And Mutts make good puppies, because they are healthier and they live longer; But pure breeds are much more expensive, because they are unique. And the Mutts would not have existed without the pure breeds, so we should be thanking all countries for any contribution they made to us (haha u.s.). Heck, my teacher had me write a research paper on The Lord of The Rings. I learned from the research that a single book can change a culture for better or worse. Not sure a man wearing a Wizard outfit in public is better but hey whatever floats your root beer.

heaslip
heaslip

I know Brazil has a newer, fresher, and insightful with red China. I value your opinion. Americans by and large are ignorant of history, including our own. I fear for the Taiwan government being sold out by the less virtuous American/Multinationals to the Politburo, and their growing interest in militarism. Do you recall Mao's little red book? The black panther party sold them in the USA during the sixties and never read them. They merely acquired a bag of them (large bag) and sold them to anyone with a buck. Not knocking the panthers, more so the buyers of Mao's writings. May Brazil keep it's identity and soul with dealing so nearly exclusively with the benevolent red Chinese. I believe your president is wiser than ever allowing that to happen. Obrigado!!

QAonCall
QAonCall

You think Google made a point? That is why we have the current administration...people believe that thinking good thoughts will stop bad activity. Read here: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9870e638-3751-11df-b542-00144feabdc0.html The point Google should have made (besides not spying on people period which is REALLY what this whole story should be about, not Google pulling out of china), they would have been better off taking all the revenue from their search engine in China and donated it to human rights organization in China or sponsoring democracy seminars or fostering capitalism to help the Chinese people change their circumstances. The US government and business have a limited amount of influence they can apply to China, but in 9 days in Poland in the 80's 1 man convinced a nation there was more people who wanted freedom than wanted tyranny. A peaceful revolution ensued. Change is an internal mechanism, not an external mechanism. China will oppress the people when companies like Google (who agreed to spy on the Chinese as long as the government have them, or any government gave them) the appropriate legal documents (ie warrants etc) or IBM or any other company has the dollars thrown at them to do something under the auspices of good whether they know they are not doing good or not. Google's best move was to stay in the fight, not abandon it. Google nobility is very limited...companies have little ability to promote ethical behavior when they live on or over the edge of ethical behavior. MHO supported by facts.

trhaya
trhaya

Last I heard, the oldest person in China is a little over 100 years old. Alluding to a 5,000 year-old culture that doesn't begin to resemble modern China in the least means nothing. The current government bears little or no resemblance any of the very different dynasties that ruled China in that time, so your criticism of America and the rest of the West by comparison holds no water. Point of fact, that 5,000 year-old civilization is doing its very best to appropriate any aspect of Western civilization it thinks can help modernize its own moribund society. Many people feel that if China is going to take on Western aspects, it must follow the accepted rules of the society it is copying. That's the difference of opinion being discussed. Try not to muddy the waters with comparisons to long-dead civilizations.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Lead by example as they say in officer training school.

hydrodane
hydrodane

Aloha, since when does a company gain financial benefits from "appearing" to put on a high moral standing? isn't this contrary to what we see in just about every single business circumstance? being naughty sarcastic to make a realist point here. It is unrealistic that the bottom line or even the speculative and fundamental economic bottom line of any company (google included) will reap some latent profit from "doing the right thing"..there is much more to it than that. I am also of the opinion, that this entire google china debactle is much more than just the surface the media is repeating..and definitely more than what google is representing as the real issue. there are political posturing issues at every turn here, from my estimates. for instance...google "failing" to gain more than a minor share of the market in china is certainly something not very glowing to report to shareholders. So, creating a nefarious conflict is just the sort of play one would expect out of a public company to preserve the public trust, while it is more than likely that google has simply failed where it was expected to continue an ascent as it has in other markets. Of course, there is a real issue of security, censorship, and freedom of internet and privacy to discuss...but google was never (imho) practicing a model that is sustainable in practice of in hype that would last, considering the alternatives (bandu).. realistically, google is more likely than not to cave in to the reality of the world market ...domestic and international. privacy is dead...google should stop pretending it has even modestly delayed or arrested the direction of the type of data sharing and mining that its very model enjoys. I think most (even IT persons) are suprised to find out what the big ticket customers are for google's data....and it isn't marketing and ad revenue....it is quite a blurry set of lines, if you can even see any lines anymore. My point, is that the "problems" in china while they are real, are not the essential issues with companies such as conformance with nation-state law and policy. If anything, this lesson with china, should allow the online user to understand what the lessons are...where the real risks are...and fight to understand and then to change, how data mining and sharing company, do not represent a wholly beneficial test for privacy and censorship. the internet is not free...never was...but in the evolution, lets be active to ensure that all that is serious and critical is not lost to a business reason. btw...alos my opine...china will eventually change.....noone can expect it to occur quickly..as with ANY nation-state...things take time. I get a pure jolt of laughter listening to so many people trying to defend and "protect" china...and meanwhile are completely and utterly in deniable or plain ignorant of what kinds of censorship, privacy violations, and "openess" policy actually exist right here in the the good old US-of-A. If you want to be taken seriously, then fix broken things at home, before you go off charging all the problems of the world. The rest of the world simply sees alot of noise..and more than just a little hypocrisy. Aloha hydrodane

arthurborges
arthurborges

These 56 ethnic nationalities here have millennia of experience of natural & manmade disasters. That has written into their DNA that when all hell breaks loose, your personal survival depends entirely on family and close friends. Everything in society is about consensus and maintaining balance in all relationships: direct confrontation is a no-no. The national experience here is that "rugged individualism" is simple lunacy. The American experience differs. Each is right in his own context; neither is superior. Even a traditional Chinese med physician would never be so rude as to confront a disease directly. Her/his strategy is to reinforce the patient's ability to negotiate the outcome with the illness. The strategy is also to contain disease expression so as to avoid any surge that might prove fatal to the patient. It's all about everybody being polite to everybody. All the time. Because you never know when you might need each other (again). China is facing an entire spectrum of issues, now as before. It will solve them the Chinese way. And they've been solving them for 5,000+ years. China is the most viable and evolved excuse for civilization that the human race has so far produced. They're willing to host, listen and respond to input from 234 year-old toddlers like the USA, but please don't expect them to return to the 19th century when the British, French, German, Swedish and American definition of a "drug war" was to force the Chinese Government to legalize nationwide sale of drugs (opium, at the time), especially when they are in a position to assert their sovereign right to make and enforce laws and regulations over their territory. That's the attitude here.

billy2423
billy2423

Ban them for good. all they ever do is try hacking into servers etc.

Flametorrent
Flametorrent

What's it like? This.. feel for the place. :] -F0kx [!]

arthurborges
arthurborges

You've never been here and gotten any real feel for the place, have you?

wahmed
wahmed

Google is like a big baby on steroids, and now with a body of a giant, but brains of a 7 years old. You have to respect every country's regulations, culture and norms. Who is Google to draw the ?morals-line? for a country?... The sheer arrogance has destroyed many big empires of the past, Google is the victim of it.

JCitizen
JCitizen

The PRC is democracy for the party and no one else. That is as plain as the nose on your face. If you think I'm going to be convinced otherwise; there just isn't enough room in this blog to explain that. Democracy for the dictatorship! Whoopee!

freecitizen
freecitizen

Mine differs. Any authority would only jail someone when that person is a threat to society. Not so much for how incompatible dissidents views are but more so for their capacity to cause disorder. You are expressing a view like the Chinese government is a rogue entity. But is it? They may not have the kind of democracy you think is ideal for your values but it is a democracy nevertheless. Although it may be a one party state, suffrage is a universal right. So every Chinese citizen is represented in government. On the other story, is Obama doing enough for the Palestine issue? I think not, the Israelis are still building settlements on Palestine lands aren't they?

arthurborges
arthurborges

Only machines are disinterested and machines have no morals. Any organization is only a mashup of people with links to other people. People are subjective. All we can hope for is fairness, i.e. leaders, judges, umpires and the like who can find the center of gravity between the subjective positions/perceptions of the parties involved. Societies are living organisms that need a minimum of "corruption" to grow and evolve smoothly but then too much will corrode it to implosion. To hold that one man's meat is another's poison is pure tunnel vision. Actually, one man's poison is everyone's poison. The trick is not to go around "doing good", but simply to do no harm. Obvioiusly, this still leaves us saddled with our imperfect world. Take care!

JCitizen
JCitizen

if their were some kind of disinterested world oversight organization that could vouch for how all countries handle this touchy subject. But I can't name one. That is truly disinterested anyway.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Organ donation is quite an issue: not donating means contributing to unsatisfied demand that will be met by organ traffickers who kill. As demography in the industrialized world pushes the bell curve to the right and we find ourselves saddled with growing proportions of the elderly, demand for fresh raw organs will continue to grow. On the other hand, while donors are legally prevented from selling organs, nothing prevents for billing for the organ one way or another. Now we can throw in religious traditions: what is the right thing to do for a Jewish patient? This religion requires the body to be intact for burial and organ donation would desecrate it; on the other hand, it is okay for a Jew to accept a donation because of the requirement to do everything to save a Jewish life. In such a case, is it ethical for a government to require a religion to modify its beliefs on pain of denial of transplant services? There is no easy answer here, if only because any physician, regardless of her/his religion, takes an oath to save lives without reservations. Period.

santeewelding
santeewelding

You smuggle into the conversation aspects of life and death that few, if any, have reconciled for all.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Even though I find it difficult to believe the PRC leaves this as a voluntary option, I signed my donor card, and don't expect to survive such a situation, as I don't want to be a vegetable, or waste societies resources on saving a hopeless cause. Signing that thing might guarantee I might not make it with an unscrupulous ER unit; but I don't care; If I'm that far gone, I might as well kick the bucket. My body is broken enough without putting up with anymore suffering.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Read up on it in the USA: http://forums.plentyoffish.com/datingPosts9359375.aspx and: http://www.alzaytouna.net/arabic/?c=1519&a=97450 Note that US prisons are officializing their appetite for prisoner organs too: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/03/08/national/main2548860.shtml In the European Union, the law makes everyone a default donor; you have to come forward and assert your intention not to donate. However, many E.U. citizens still imagine the opposite. Organ trafficking is a growing industry. One piece of advice to everyone: if you donate blood, do it anonymously.

JCitizen
JCitizen

even though I didn't vote for him. I also reserve the right to be critical of his administration, and especially of congress. I think all US citizens love our presidents. I learned to love Bill Clinton after he left office! Probably one of the best moderate presidents next to Regan, that we ever had.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Where you might actually have someone willing to secede from the union! ;)

JCitizen
JCitizen

It was the ridiculous US Army policy during WWII to segregate the forces during that conflict. So on portions of Omaha and Utah beachheads, yes it would look like nothing but black army troops were in that area. Because of the segregation, not because they were the only ones in the first waves. Some beachhead engineers and barrage balloon units were deployed to those areas, and did a jolly good smashing job there. The blight of segregation will haunt my country for ever, and so will slavery. But you have to admit your mistakes and drive on. Something you never see from the PRC, that I can remember anyway!

JCitizen
JCitizen

It's the American way! Others have Leopards, we got wolverines! HA! :) As I've personally seen a wolverine kick a bear's butt, I'd vote for the wolverine in that contest! America includes Canada and Mexico, of course!

JCitizen
JCitizen

what else can I call a government that sells organs of hapless victims of the criminal "justice" system there; and runs over public demonstrators with army tanks!?! Sorry but I put that as just another evil empire; mostly to it's own people. As far as the Chinese people, I love them just like any good Christian would. I would anyway, as I have never met a Chinese immigrant I didn't like.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Even Mrs. Macbeth had spot removal issues.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Everybody spies on/hacks everybody. Early in the Google freakout, Chairman Gates said he didn't see what Google's fuss was about. Someone else (will s/he forgive me for not citing their name here) wrote that any hacker would only be hacking into mechanisms Google itself set up for its own purposes of, um, internal "hacking". The way I surmise it, nobody has any privacy at all left so I use my real name everywhere -- what's the point of making police/intel officers have to do extra overtime which may go unpaid? They have families too.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Sorry, but come and argue that with folks here. Sure, some get a raw deal. I would like to believe that never ever happens to anyone in Singapore. Gosh, you're rightwing of Lee Kwan Yew: how daring of you!

Shepps
Shepps

most amusing @ the guy who posted the Wolverine comment, made me laugh to see that 'a leopard can't change its spots' now has a 21st Century equivalent...

Shepps
Shepps

The hacks were designed to find Chinese dissidents, weren't they? In which case it's clear who ordered them to be carried out. Albeit I guess you could start off a big conspiracy theory by suggesting that other parties did the hacks and made it to look like the Chinese authorities were responsible. Not quite the same thing as being hacked by your normal hackers from within the US borders. From what I understand, the hacks were fairly high-tech, but then you wonder if the Chinese authority really did initiate them, why they didn't base the attacks out of another country... Also, I don't think that was the main reason for pulling out, but more likely the straw that broke the camel's back...

Ssp
Ssp

You must be out of your minds to say that (Sheer arrogance of Google). I would challenge you to list out the history of China and what you know about the country and how all people and industries are suffering there under the iron arm. Basically people have no respect and freedom there. You should try living there for a year and stop your stupid posts like this.

arthurborges
arthurborges

The parents of one girlfriend were in Normandy in 1944. They say they saw nothing but African Americans for the first two weeks after D-Day, June 6. That led to an embarrassing incident, actually. When she and I visited them for the first time, well, she had told them she had an American boyfriend, and they came to pick us up at the railway station. When the mother first saw me, she burst out into a great big smile, held out her arms to embrace me and joyfully exclaimed: "He's not black!" There was a bit of confusion until the girlfriend told me about their Normandy experience. That said, I tips me lid to the military: fulfill do a necessary function and rarely get the credit and post-service follow-up and benefits you deserve.

arthurborges
arthurborges

All the threats and counterthreats out of Beijing and HK in the run-up to handover were about manipulating stock market prices so that Beijing interests could accumulate the capital to buy up the prime real estate; in exchange UK companies got to empty the well-heeled HK treasury because by law only UK companies could tender for HK public works contracts, all of which were needed to tide over the economic downturn everyone was expecting right after handover -- and there was a slump. In contrast 1999 handover of Macao involved a bilateral Sino-Portuguese commission that sat down for about three or four months and simply produced a all-included deal for transition. No fuss, no muss, no bull patties. As for UK efforts to bring democracy to HK, it turned up pretty much out of nowhere: Legco (the Legislative Council) was never more than an advisory body under British rule. But there was no shortage of hype in the early 1990s about the Mainland hordes rolling into HK and massacring everyone when in fact HK's GDP was almost half as big as the Mainland's and Beijing had absolutely zero interest in (1) killing a goose that came with so golden a dowry and (2) doing anything that might cast a shadow over eventual reunification with Taiwan. If you're looking for empires of evil, please find them somewhere else -- like on some DVD blockbuster.

JCitizen
JCitizen

and that is the purest BS I've ever heard. You're as bad as O'Liely on Fox!! The African Americans had to do political battle just to get included in the fighting! And after all, who can blame them?! Why use them as slave engineers, and delivery boys like many in the army wanted? They wanted to fight for their country and did! The Tuskegee Airmen never let my dad's flight down, they NEVER lost a B-17 while being protected by them!! Many of his fellow airmen said that hearing their accents was like music to the ears over the radio; because you knew you were coming home alive! Many a white man and Hispanic hero went down in flames before our fine black heroes arrived! Yes their were some black troops on the beach on D-Day but nothing like you lie about here! For someone with "Education" as a job description, you make me laugh! ROTFLMAO!!! :^0 :^0 :^0 :^0 Why don't you just admit you're a paid shill! :^0 :^0 :^0

JCitizen
JCitizen

I wouldn't be criticizing Google as amoral when you have the PRC selling prisoner organs on the open market, and running over their citizens with army tanks. I'd call Google moral any-day compared to that!

JCitizen
JCitizen

that this guy is just a paid shill for the PRC. I've never seen such a ridiculous argument! We in the US don't give a flip for someone's feelings, we just drive on, with all clods flying in our direction. We are used to criticism. When we are wrong we admit it just like our new president did. Many of us disagree with him too, but we are just that way here! You can't expect a wolverine to shave his hair and act like a monkey. Neither is Google.

JCitizen
JCitizen

That business was ready to jump ship, if the mainland didn't negotiate certain capitalistic freedoms for Hong Kong. Things are way different than in the mainland; there is a reason many call it a "Special Administrative Region". Are you sure your job title shouldn't be "Re-education"?

inet32
inet32

I was responding the claim that a company is obligated to obey a country's laws. And I was pointing out that they are NOT obligated to obey a county's laws - they have another option - simply to get out, or in this case to get out of a jurisdiction where those laws apply.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Google values happen and evolve within the four walls of shareholder values. Shareholder values are called dividends. The Hong Kong shift protects those high values perfectly. Beijing is shrugging off Google like a flea on a tiger's a**, but when time spins out her web, sooner or later a window of opportunity will present itself and Google will be facing payback time. China is about mutual respect and settling differences quietly. The current solution is face-saving on both sides but the initial slight is down on the record. Arrogance does not go down well here and Hong Kong Government likes the move as much as Beijing does: Google never bother consulting HK Govt about any impact -- like Beijing might have declared it was a matter of national security and used the affair to clamp down on Hong Kong speech rights. But did Google care? Um, HK Govt found about the shift in the media like everyone else. Google is indeed true to at least one core value: Arrogance.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Under the old system, the best & brightest opted into the Party because the wage differential between janitor and university president was 1:3, but the perks were worlds apart. So the best & brightest went that route. Smart parents breed smart kids. Smart parents also have the right connections. There's definite privilege there. Just like in the USA. Bill Gates is the son of an eminent California lawyer family, for example. Market economies breed market geniuses from the children of market masters. What's new about that? On the overseas Chinese, um, some come to fleece China and skip town as voraciously as the worst corporate scoundrels. Nothing new here: some Americans scam Americans; some Chinese scam Chinese. As for contempt of foreigners here in China -- yep, I've seen that too. It's like contempt of aliens in the USA: the less you act streetwise to local ways, the dumber you profile in the eyes of the natives. What's new about that too?

arthurborges
arthurborges

I have friends who are still old enough to remember D-Day in 1944 and its aftermath. You really ought to know that Britain, De Gaulle's Free French and the USA sent in Black Africans, North Africans and Black Americans first to spearhead the liberation of the European continent. The whiteys were saved for later, after the Germans had been softened up. Maybe part of the horror of Nazi racism was that it was directed at fellow Whites?

arthurborges
arthurborges

Apart from 1.3 billion native boarders who never had any more choice of boarding here than you did to board in Minnesota, you'd have to ask the likes of Boeing, Airbus, Volkswagen, Peugeot, IBM and hundreds of other voluntary boarders who boarded here by voting with their feet and wallets to board here. Ask them. The corporations I mention also do R&D here and I guess they're paying their employees to do more than photocopy schematic drawings of Western inventions. Ask Google too. They're not stupid enough to move their R&D out of here. There are so many new things happening here every day: do visit if you are not, um, "bored of education".

gcrain
gcrain

By this logic the Aliies should have respected the Nazi's plan to eradicate certain ethnic groups. The real problem is too many countries and companies have been blinded by greed that they have accepted China's human right's violations. Hopefully with Google finally drawing a line in the sand others will begin to do the same.

arthurborges
arthurborges

A U.S. company that doesn't believe in the death penalty should get out of the U.S.A.

arthurborges
arthurborges

How many Google execs have been shot so far?

arthurborges
arthurborges

Companies tend to demand more ethics from their employees than they practice toward them. They are however, very sensitive to cultivating a reputation for ethics as part of their corporate image.

arthurborges
arthurborges

...that's there's a lucrative business angle behind it after all. But then I've seen ego grab control of top business executives before. I've been asking around among friends and acquaintances here but so far, I've found no support for the first explanation. I'll keep you posted.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Then Google should withdraw from the USA. Maybe they could settle for an intranet covering Lichtenstein or Andorra?

arthurborges
arthurborges

China has no "National Endowment for Communism" to finance Puerto Rican nationalists or other domestic organizations that very rightly worry more than a police or two. Nor do newspapers do full-page spreads on the anniversaries of events Americans would rather forget: everybody's history has ugly moments and the rule in Chinese society is to NEVER EVER embarrass anybody, even in private. And when you see somebody in an embarrassing situation, because they happen to everyone despite the best intentions and precautions, you quickly say and do things to minimize the impact.

gregb
gregb

I may not care for Googles approach on some things but they did not break the laws. They are trying to do business in an agressive market. The real villain is China. They haven't invented anything in the last 50 years. Only copied or stole everything. Why would any want to do business within their boarders.

Shepps
Shepps

Should a US company that doesn't believe in the death penalty refuse to do business in or with the states that do? Interesting question...

Shepps
Shepps

my point exactly. What other option did Google have. And I made the point above: when illegal attempts are made to compromise your servers you have good grounds to pull out completely.

Shepps
Shepps

I don't see them trampling on any laws. They have said they will no longer abide with censorship and are pulling out of China to make the point. In some ways the effect Google has is more emphatic by having gone in and pulling out rather than never having gone in, in the first place. Had they done that we would have long forgotten that they never went in. And are we forgetting that what precipitated this was a huge scale attack on Google's servers? I ask myself who really was not abiding by international law in this whole thing...

Shepps
Shepps

I don't think you are really comparing two same things. The US for all it's failings doesn't put people in jail just for having views that differ to the Government's ones. By doing business with a state that condones that sort of behaviour you are condoning it yourself, and maybe it isn't quite out of altruistic reasons from Google, but it _may_ just be the right thing to do; put some moral code ahead of buisness. I remember Google getting slated for going into China in the first place, and now we question them leaving? It might have been a little late but it's definitely definitely a case of 'better late than never'. Let's hope other companies follow. And for all of you who keep on slating Obama, I still think he is trying to do the right thing, which is more than can be said of his predecessor. Look at his stance on Israel. I have never seen a president EVER been as frosty with Israel for their flaunting of international agreements on building settlements in Palestine. But that... is another story! lol

arthurborges
arthurborges

The British lease on HK ran out in July 1997; the tenant left and the owner recovered unrestricted rights to HK territory. If Google were being all moral about it, it would have shut down everything from sales offices to its R&D center and all the national engines still untouched, e.g. google.fr, google.se, google.de.

freecitizen
freecitizen

Those are problems for the Chinese to sort out themselves. If you want to get involve then, be a Chinese first.

santeewelding
santeewelding

What you do now? Welcome to the Great Debate.

freecitizen
freecitizen

Come on, give us a break. In what way is China a threat to anyone's existence? If anything, it is the US that must learn not to interfere with the internal affairs of other states. Laws such as the Taiwan Relations Act and US policy towards the Dalai Lama are clear violations of China internal affairs. This gives rise to the questions, why don't China support independence for Alaska or Hawaii? Or that the Southern States should really re-think their union with the USA and fly the Confederated Flag once more. This is because unlike US cave dwellers, the Chinese know how to mind their own business. It is nobody business to impose their values on others.

lilywei
lilywei

Well put. Google has been a money making machine since its success from its search engine. There is very little discussion in turn of profit on open source, chrome, Google voice, Gmail etc. From its booking, search engine is still the main revenue generator and others are just R&D + trial out effort to see whether it can be the next revenue generator. The fact that Google remain the R&D and sales work force in China shows Google still have long term vision for Chinese market. As today, Chinese consumer prefer to use Bidu as search engine and how Bidu affect Chinese google profit has very little discussion. I think this move is more of making a statement rather than giving up the Chinese market for good. After all, with the existing R&D and sales work force in China and a better search engine than Bidu will make a very good come back story and headline again.

Amathar
Amathar

>Google is a for-profit business, not a morality shop So they should hire assassins to slaughter any Bing developer they can locate? Use child slaves to run their business to cut costs? Pollute some low-income neighbourhood to death to save a few expenses? Shame on you. You "profit at any cost" nuts make me sick. You represent the worst side of human nature; looking for any excuse to put the responsibility for your reprehensible urges at the feet of something else. If a person violates their morals in service of anything, THEY violated their morals, period. There's no excuse, no trasferral of blame. Anyone who continues to work for an immoral organisation is immoral themselves - and vice versa. I think the progenitors of Google understood that, though they may be struggling to control it in the face of endemic greed and cultural differences. I also think Google's decision shows a kind of moral fortitude we should all applaud.

beanxyz
beanxyz

Google will regret its decision to give up such a huge market in China. it's a political issuse rather than a business one.

Flametorrent
Flametorrent

I totally agree. Our current President should learn from Google's move. Way to think!

ninja67555
ninja67555

oh we have to respect their death penalty policy do we ? and their attitude to protest, just get the tanks out......u gotta respect that.

heaslip
heaslip

Google was maliciously hacked by individuals tracked to the Chinese technocrats. Don't you find it interesting the majority of billionaires in the NEW red CHINA are the spawn of Politburo members. Morality, not a priority in red China, although I respect the people, I despise the government. Vietnam closely modeled after the Maoist system calls back the expatriate sons and daughters only to fleece them after enticing investment. They do this by a revolving group of officials who are hopelessly corrupt and full of contempt for these guests. The request for bribes keeps coming with each change in mgmt. Eventually they are deported penniless. Google, I believe is supporting our American brand of freedom as it should, being an American company. As the man said when you crush an egg, the white runs out and the yellow remains. (Vietnam reference) Many Vietnamese are ethnic HAN. Have you ever experienced a leading top of the game Corp. which was not arrogant? I have not.

vince
vince

So, a company should never operate from a stance of ethics? If you'll notice many large corporations have recognized that ethical business practices is having an impact on consumer spending. I find that if today's companies do not employ some ethical practices they will be left behind.

mdbarback
mdbarback

Google is a for-profit business, not a morality shop. As a business they should be looking at what the price is for them to keep to the Chinese laws vs. the dollars (or future dollars) they will make from China. I can't comment on how well they did their calculations. But, if ego or morality played any kind of role in this decision, I don't think they could have gotten this far as a company. Unless there is more evidence to the contrary, it's hard for me to believe this decision is based on anything but good business.

inet32
inet32

You don't HAVE to respect another county's laws; there's another option: LEAVE. That's what Google is doing. You only have to respect another country's laws if you do business there and Google is saying they can't be true to their own values and do business in China.

whatisnew
whatisnew

The good fight comes several years late. But the late action is better than no action like Yahoo and Bing.

garnerl
garnerl

"You have to respect every country's regulations, culture and norms." True, but you also have the option of not operating in a country that disagrees with yours.

benardquek
benardquek

Very well spoken indeed. I think Google's success so far has gotten into its head and they think they can trample on laws of any country when they operate from cyberspace.

IT_Lunatic
IT_Lunatic

While I don't agree with most of the political views that Google's founders express, I have to say that I am proud of them on this move! And as Bill stated.. our current President can stand to learn a thing or two from Google.

arthurborges
arthurborges

Our national Browser Helper Object? Bad joke? Oops. Sorreeeeee.

arthurborges
arthurborges

That's how I try to teach: keeping windows of creativity open in my students so that they can crystallize their own personal version of Truth. In that way, the entire world will ultimately benefit.

acw
acw

Google is under no obligations to succumb to the communist pigs in China. I think all countries in free nations especially American ones should make the same choice.

BillSmythe
BillSmythe

Google has the courage and forethought to NOT abide by the censorship requests of a communist regime. I am amazed at the guts Google has! Our president doesn't even stand up to small tyrannical governments that threaten our existence and that of our allies. BHO can learn from Google. Way to go Google! Keep up the good fight! Bill S.

ruggb
ruggb

What is all this c**p about Google placing itself above the laws of a country???????? Does that mean that Yahoo, Bing, and anyone on the Inet are above the laws of a country??? Google MOVED OUT of China. They are no longer under China law - They are under Hong Kong law, which, though a part of China, is under different laws - like states in the US are under different laws among themselves. I guess some people want to find any excuse to be irrational and hate any big company. GET OVER IT.

Flametorrent
Flametorrent

Yeah Google did get far extremely fast. I agree that a Country needs to have its own regulations, cultures, and normalities intact and in order, but I disagree that an individual company on the net (no matter who is it) should cover up a single thing. It'll just get more and more lenient and pretty soon searching for God and checking the news from another country will be blocked. A very small trickle of information is coming out of the Undernet and it's sad that it has to be that way. We should be free to the knowledge of the world and have the various protections from our own self-worth and religious stand points to make decisions by ourselves. In the midst of this, I can't help but think that all of this would be fixed if we just had better parenting. Kids really look after good parents, and genes influence this yeah but most of it is the parenting. If we can raise our kids to respect their religion(culture... etc.) and make it as a freedom of theirs to love, then they will make it so and they will shut out bad influences. We need to build better morals and to have a firm belief that the future generations will have enough sense not to read a stupid comment on twitter and believe it like sheep. When I have a kid, and he reads something on google that says "God doesn't exist", I'll ask him/her "Would having a firm belief that he doesn't exist make you feel better?" Knowing full well that my kid will have enough sense and moral understanding to know that I believe that there is a God because I want him to exist, and to know that he/she doesn't have to believe in him too just because I do. Point being that I'm not pushing him/her to believe in anything, but admitting that I have slightly curved his/her mind into being and thinking a certain way by the things I say and teach. I will make sure to keep his/her mind as open as possible even though I will act to preserve my own way of thinking. So our future generation, and even the current one, should work harder to create a "moral-line" for our own people. From my perspective, I have little hope that we will all join into a single nation and put aside our differences, because to do so we would have to give up what makes us special. I want to go on Vacation to Japan, Germany, and yeah even China, know why? Because it is different from here. Better or worse, I just want to experience something new. ------------Main------------ By saying all of this, my main point is that we have to take care of our own people and not rely on some corporation to do it for us. If you don't want your kids searching Google for porn and twittering about the news in China, then just block it and the rest of the world will continue having an open mind. ..or a closed one in your eyes. Whatever. I'm happy, you're going to be happy without Google. So why can't we be friends? *song plays*