Friday, January 27, 2006

Why Google in China makes sense

Here is support for Google from an unlikely source, the BBC. While I don't buy the "the internet is censored everywhere" argument, there is a fundamental difference between blocking child porn sites and blocking searches around the word "democracy," I do believe it is far better to engage with China than to try to shut it out.

But if we in the West, with our liberal political culture and our attempts to build open societies, do not engage with China then we lose the opportunity to influence them and convince them of the benefits that this brings. If the Chinese government fears instability then we should offer help and advice and support, not closed borders and locked doors.

Different circumstances require different responses, and just because sanctions were the right way to put pressure on apartheid South Africa does not mean that a technology blockade is the way to influence China.

Also interested in the fact that the Google search actually highlights when a particular search has been censored due to government restrictions; this at least allows people to realize what they are not getting and that it is the government that is preventing them from getting it.

What consequences could that have for censorship?

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