What do you think of Internet companies colluding with the Chinese government?

    by Mark Glaser
    February 8, 2006

    The United States is the land of the free. But American companies such as Cisco, Google, Yahoo and Microsoft are taking a dual — some would say two-faced — approach to freedom: They believe in global human rights, but are helping the Chinese government filter and censor the Internet. Google recently got in hot water for its new Google.cn search engine that blocks results to search terms chosen by the Chinese government. And now the group Reporters Without Borders, which tracks jailed journalists and cyberdissidents around the globe, reports that Yahoo Hong Kong turned over data to the Chinese government leading to an eight-year prison term for cyberdissident Li Zhi in December 2003. The U.S. Congress will hold a hearing on Feb. 15 on the topic of Net companies colluding with China. What do you think about this behavior? Is it OK because shareholders demand doing business with China? Should the government step in? Should users boycott the companies?

    • william johns

      Think it’s pretty bazarre. Fifty some thousand of my generation died in Vietnam fighting against communism and many thousands more in the Korean war and somehow the capitalists we were fighting for have had a change of heart and now communism is ok with them and what’s a little oppression or slave labor compared to making a few bucks. Oh what ethics these capitaists have, they love China, outsoursing, not paying taxes, exploiting American labor, fighting tooth and nail against any union representation and getting laws like Taft Hartley passed against the working man. Amazing.
      Our society will evolve and our technology will change as we leave a dependence on fossil fuel behind us,ect. and America and it’s people will survive and prosper and so will the world economy hopefully, but right now I would take the people that are in love with the Chinese communists and pack their bags and buy them a plane ticket. They already have billions and live outside the U.S. to avoid more taxes, why not just help them go and live in China. How come they need America to send our soldiers everytime they get themselves in trouble? How come we spend our flesh and treasure to save their butts and they don’t care about America or it’s people except for how much money and blood they can get from us? When they talk of freedom it’s the freedom to pollute the streams and skys. When they talk about freedom and justice it’s a justice where the corporations get all the breaks and the working class gets less and less. They do what they want and control the country, am I supposed to say or do something against them. hell, if I did that they would call me a communist…starnge world we live in I think.

    • A. Bradley

      Hearing about censorship in China makes me grateful for the freedoms we enjoy in the U.S. That in mind, I don’t feel that complying with the Chinese government is reprehensible. Sure, we don’t want that kind of government but why should we tell somebody else how to run theirs?

      I feel the only reason this is making news here is because the idea of censorship is so anti to our Libertarian based press. Otherwise, why do we care what somebody else is doing in their country? Censorship is an unfortunate side effect in this kind of government and I’m sure it serves its unfortunate purpose. I just choose not to live in that purpose.

    • Mau

      There is an old saying in Spanish: “A donde fueres, haz lo que vieres”, which it basically translates into: “Wherever you are, do what you see”.

      Censorship in any form makes me cringe, I don’t agree with it and I definitely don’t support it.

      However, I don’t agree on the grilling of Yahoo!, Google, or any other company with presence in China.

      When you are a multi-national entity, you must follow the rules, constitution, or mandates of any country you have business with. Period.

      As far as I am concerned, some drugs that are ILLEGAL in the United States are NOT ILLEGAL in the Netherlands. Right? ABN Amro, a financial institution, is based in the Netherlands. Right?

      If an ABN Amro employee (U.S. citizen) is caught doing drugs (that are considered LEGAL in the Netherlands) within ABN Amro’s premises in a U.S. office location, should the employee be prosecuted for possession and use of Illegal drugs?

      I think the answer is simple: YES

      Should a Chinese citizen be prosecuted because he or she visited banned sites?

      Based on the previous example’s standard, I think the answer is still the same: YES

      Again, I don’t agree with censorship, but I think we are not being fair to the companies in question (Google, Yahoo!, etc…).

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