---- Google Hacked and No Longer Willing to Censor Results in China
physics - 12:09 am on Jan 22, 2010 (gmt 0)
shk3, thanks for your insights. We really appreciate them.
BTW, I as many our classmates would like to know what is China in your view. We can not know how do people overseas think us like you will not know how we think your countries.
I can't speak for everyone but having grown up in America here are my thoughts on the issue. Please note that I'm expressing my opinion of China from my American point of view and not of course speaking for all Americans or as an expert on Chinese culture.
To many Americans, freedom of speech is the right to express any opinion in any medium without getting in trouble in any way with the government. shk3 wrote:
It is not true that there is no speech freedom in China. We can criticize the government in proper way like newspapers, radios... Because government is unfamiliar with the Internet, we can not talk some sensitive issues in Internet for some restricts, which is set by ICPs because they do not want users post illegal materials. In Chinese laws, posting illegal materials may also give the websites trouble. ICPs have duty to prevent it and help police arrest the poster.
Many Americans believe that the government shouldn't be able to determine what is and what isn't a proper way to critize the government. The idea is that such restrictions means there can be no real free speech. This discussion, for instance, is something the Chinese government would clearly like to hinder. Why else would searching for the term googleblog.blogspot.com on Baidu lead to me being banned from Baidu? How can we have a real discussion if I'm not sure you can even read the articles we're talking aobut because of government censorship?
From an American perspective, the government (in theory anyway) represents the voters and their interests. This is different from having a benevolent leadership that isn't elected by popular vote. There have been several references to the current Chinese leadership as benevolent. In America it's not enough that a leader is benevolent, or good, or cares about the people. These things are good but not good enough. The people need to know that they voted the leader into office and could remove them from office if necessary (by voting for the other candidate in the next election or by impeachment for example). The leaders should represent the people and the interests of the people, not be a 'good big brother' to them, which is what I personally hear when people talk about benevolent Chinese leadership.
From the Declaration of Independence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happines. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, not necessarily the attainment of that happiness. Freedom of speech and other freedoms do not necessarily lead to happines. To put it another way, many Americans cannot imagine being happy without the right to free speech, but the fact that they have the right to free speech does not mean they're automatically happy. The idea is that liberty is an unalienable (and unavoidable) right - so when we see people in the world who have no liberty we feel this is unjust (even though those people may not feel that way).
I guess, being born and raised as an American, what I've come to believe is that the American dream is to live in a country where you have liberty (i.e. freedom of speech, freedom from political censorship, etc.) and you have the chance to attain success if you work hard enough. And whether or not you do achieve success, you have the freedom to express your views and ideas about the government openly if you choose to do so. Otherwise, the idea is, that you won't truly be happy if you can't express yourself. The perception by many Americans of China is that this dream is not possible in China. That even though it might be possible to attain success, you won't be able to be happy in that success because of the restrictions placed on your speech, political censorship, etc.
Someone said `You can feed someone, keep them in a bubble and they may feel happy`. So, why your happiness is only real happiness in the world? Is imposing one's view on others' is human right?
The idea of helping to encourage censorship is morally troubling to many Americans. However, you have a good point - imposing one's views on others is not a human right. Expressing one's views to others is a human right. Refusing to participate in actions that you believe violate the rights and freedoms of others is also a right. In that sense, Google should never have agreed to censor results in China in the first place, but they should have the right to stop operating in China if they choose to do so.
Google gives the Gmail information of a Indian user who said something bad to Sonia Gandhi in Orkut with pleasure. Why Indian laws are laws, but Chinese laws are not laws? The things Google wants is beyond the power of Chinese government. It is illegal and abnormal that Chinese government had agreed what Google said.
From the original article on Google's blog about this issue We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China. (emphasis mine)
So even though the perception has become that Google would stop censoring results without permission from the Chinese government, they really only said they would leave the country if an agreement could not be reached. Certainly this doesn't break any laws, Chinese or otherwise, right? I can totally understand how people view this as the west forcing our views down your throats but when you look objectively at the situation it's not really the case, is it? It's just Google saying that they want to be able to provide uncensored results or they would rather not operate a search engine in the country.
Chinese democratic reform is happening and the Google event may give a bad effect to it.
I personally hope that the actions Google is taking don't have a negative impact on any of the democratic movements in China, though clearly you're more qualified to make this judgement. Let's hope for the best as the actions Google has made cannot be undone now.
If China were not free as you think, the reporter could not have done such report like ones in DPRK, and you would never know anything about us.
To me, freedom is not just about freedoms for reporters who may or may not even be Chinese citizens. It's about freedom for everyday people to search for political terms and blogs, freedom for business leaders and University professors to speak out about democracy or other political ideas that the government might not like, and ultimately the freedom to choose who represents you in the government.