No More Chinese Communist Party

July 24, 2010

Cohn: Google makes evil empire blink

Filed under: Uncategorized — carryanne @ 11:21 pm
Tags: , ,

The Star : “Don’t be evil.”

Google’s fabled corporate motto is coming in handy these days, inoculating the search engine giant against any riposte from China’s Communist leadership — which has strong ideas about what’s evil and what’s not.

The last time China’s rulers faced a direct challenge — albeit from a quasi-religious group called Falun Gong — they branded it “an evil cult.” And unleashed the full fury of the state’s powers to banish it. And crush it.

Adherents of Falun Gong were armed only with their finely honed “qi,” or inner energy. Google, by contrast, had algorithms in its arsenal, and enough marketing muscle to survive the threat of losing its mainland license.

China was prepared to imprison and torture Falun Gong members, but lacked the stomach to tie down Google’s global brand. China needed the idea of Google more than Google needed the lure of China.

Not many movements, or nations, have that leverage. What politician today can claim that China needs his country more than his own nation needs China? Not Canada, not Britain, not America. Not even Taiwan, which recently concluded a lucrative trade agreement with Beijing.

China blinked and yes, lost a little face, though the outcome is mostly symbolic. Google search results coming via Hong Kong will remain uncensored, but the bottom line is that China will still block those sites to mainlanders who click on the Internet links that pop up. But at least surfers will know they’ve been blocked in a transparent way, as opposed to having their search results vetted without them even knowing.

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