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The Forum > Article Comments > China and Google: searching for trouble - part II > Comments

China and Google: searching for trouble - part II : Comments

By Jeffrey Garten, published 28/1/2010

Google: advantage China for now, but it canít stop the march of globalisation.

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From the article: "Hopefully, Google and China will find a way to settle amicably. For the foreseeable future, however, not only does Beijing hold all the cards, but could actually reinforce its authority and enhance its standing among many countries of the world by humbling Google and warning all other multinationals against challenging its political power."

What?

Firstly, Google hasn't, and will never "withdraw from China". The internet is global. google.com, google.com.au and yes even google.cn can and do operate from anywhere on the planet while serving China.

Secondly, right now China's only power over Google is they can filter it. Right now I doubt Google would care. The market that China controls - selling Chinese ads targeting Chinese citizens for consumerist goods to, is worthless as they are so poor. The only reason companies like Google are interested at all is they might not be so poor in the future.

Google's power over China is two fold. Firstly they aren't in China and thus can freely ignore whether China or the UN says. Indeed they have done just that, as they no longer filter their searches at the behest of the Chinese Government.

Secondly despite what the article says, Google will always a propaganda war with China. Not in China, of course. But to suggest the rest of the world would trust China word over Google's is absurd.

Finally, Google is the biggest ad agency on the planet. If China wants to sell to where the money is, they have to use Google. Despite the fact that China goes out of its way to block Google, divert Google's traffic to its government pawn, Baidu, Chinese businesses use Google by preference.

So it boils down to this: China controls the information flow to its own citizens, but Google organises information for the rest of the rest of the world - where the money is. This game is nowhere near as unbalanced as the article makes out.
Posted by rstuart, Thursday, 28 January 2010 10:23:17 AM
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Neatly summarized, rstuart.

It often amazes me that there is still a breed of US management that believes that any deviation from "the American way" must by definition be wrong. The author of this piece belongs in that category.

Anyone who has had any dealings with China on business in the last twenty years will know that they trade very much on their own terms. They conduct their politics very much on their own terms. And their foreign policy is built upon China's best interests, not the rest of the world's.

In much the same way, it has to be said, as America's.

Anyone who believes that special pleading on any of these fronts will cut any ice with Beijing has been living in a bubble. Trade is still dominated by the twin forces of "a local partner" and bureaucracy-as-power. Politics is still very much dominated by the Party, and centralized control. And foreign policy is pretty much conducted on the lines of "try and stop us".

I have a great deal of respect for Google, and strongly believe that they will operate quite effectively without the China "marketplace" to worry about.
Posted by Pericles, Thursday, 28 January 2010 10:58:06 AM
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Either on an individual level you support "Human Rights" or you do not.

Whilst far from perfect, like the rest of us, the North Americans do have a far from completely unreasonable implentation of Human Rights in their own society.

They have come a long way now that *Obama* is in the White House
and whilst they, again like the rest of us, have plenty of room for improvement, they are in my view a world away from those nefarious and depraved individuals in control in red china.

I strongly support independence for Tibet and the Islamic Uigars and also a robust military defence of Taiwan if need be.

It is quite plain that the butchers of beijing abuse their own people, so why is it should any of us consent to allowing them to extend their abuse of humanity any further.

As it was an error to appease hitler and his mates pre WWII, so to has it been a mistake to appease the butchers of beijing.

Giving them access to "our" tech investments in Taiwan will only make the problem worse, let only consigning a "free" people to an awful fate.

I would personally cheer if Google pulled out of red china, notwithstanding the financial implications, until such time as their is regime change.
Posted by DreamOn, Sunday, 31 January 2010 4:30:51 PM
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This enlightening essay on China is a sober reminder, we have much to learn from the Middle Kingdom. The author is so typical of those impetuous " China Hands " that write on something few have any practical experience of. Many live and work in Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan for years and because of their close association with the locals, think they are qualified on any subject involving Chinese culture, cuisine, economy etc !

The Chinese, since the Neolithic era, have a culture spanning 4000 years, with 16 Dynasties, and sub dynasties, traversing the length and breath of that vast Continent. They are the most diverse people on Earth, from Mongolian, Tibetans, Cambodians to the Hakka trishaw jockey in Kwantung. They speak different languages. Their mannerisms differ from one village to another.

No one could possibly understand the Chinese psyche, or the " inscrutable Asian mind ", much less a Western journalist or " kwai lo."

The spat with Google is not unique by any means. The Press have taken the line it's about censorship, human rights,Corporations,and delusional power play. Hilary Clinton et al, like the US Admin, is playing hard ball Politics, to try subtle manipulation to gain kudos in a cyber War, that has been raging since Computers and the Net became passe.

The resourceful Chinese have embraced Western Technology for decades. MIT, Silicon Valley, and every Academic Institution have at least one Chinese person on their Tutorial staff. California alone is host to 1.2 million Chinese citizens. In Canada, 3 million reside in Vancouver.BC. The statistics are mind boggling.

For decades, the Chinese have ingeniously pirated Microsoft's software with imputinity. Bill Gates created all sort of tweaks to stem the haemorrhage, without success. The same for all the other super-duper Software giants. The lucrative practice of pirated software extends throughout SE Asia.

During the Bush Admin tenure, the CIA revealed they were tapping and eaves-dropping on every household, as a measure against Global terrorism. It raised hardly a murmur. After 9/11, the spectre of Osmama Ben Laden hovered under every bed cover ?

There is no..
Posted by dalma, Monday, 1 February 2010 9:15:19 AM
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denying Google is an exceptional tool with it's multifaceted addons and tweaks, that make Life so much easier. There is no better search engine. Their Research is a billion dollar enterprise which keeps getting better, and more user friendly.

Google's attempt to manipulate the Chinese Internet market is in reality a sinister snooping device, which basically analysises and correlates passwords, frequency, privacy, and even a copy of all your files hidden in your hard drive. They keep stats on how many user's logged on in Shanghai, Beijing or Mukden. Far from being benign, they can cause havoc in a cyber War. It can paralyse the entire Chinese Net works, power grids, Nuclear Plants etc. Corrupt traffic flow, military establishments, and ground aircraft. They can shut down, and infect every computer using their system. It can rob you of your identify and credit card details. It can penetrate your firewalls. As a military intelligence gathering weapon, there is no equal, Facebook, Twitter, ICQ are NOT benevolent societies.

All Governments possess the technology to encroach on another. It is part of the International Trade War. Spending patterns, consumer credit stats are charted and graphed to reveal an enormous picture of what makes us tick. A demographic blue print retail / motor / tourist etc industries plan and gear up for future expansions and earnings. It's a management tool.

Supposedly free software have hidden bugs, that pry into your privacy and examine how you surf the Net.

Literally, there are no free lunches.

The recent quarrel with the US's $ 1.5 B rearming of Taiwan, with Patriot missiles, Blackhawk gunships, F16 Fighters etc, is another attempt to escalate the Diplomatic war of words. The US is stll smarting at China's massive Economic growth. It's colossal share of Treasury Bonds, script, greenbacks, and the size of it's investment portfolio in the US. Much worst is the threat to dump the Dollar which would devastate the Globe, and scuttle every Economy on the Planet. As the Reserve Currency, the spectacle would trigger off an Apocalypse, too horrendous to contemplate.

No one alive would remain unscathed.
Posted by dalma, Monday, 1 February 2010 9:46:18 AM
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