It’s all over the news already. I don’t think I have much to add to the new move from Google. The company rerouted traffic of everything Google China to Google Hong Kong. Is it the right thing to do? It’s up to your point of view. Everyone has an opinion about everything these days. Here are two sets of opinions that I think worth a thorough read above all the noise out there.

From the man behind Google

Sergey Brin was interviewed by Germany based newsmagazine Der Spiegel. In regards to whether it was an error to agree to China’s demand to censor when Google first entered the country, Brin said:

When we entered China, we had hoped that we could really help move Internet freedoms there forward. And I think we were partly successful. In the first few years, the kinds of policies we adopted — for example, labeling when there were results omitted — were also adopted by Baidu, the leading local competitor.

In response to if he worries about Google losing a huge market like China,

If you take the point of view that you have to be friendly with the Chinese government and they can make arbitrary demands of you, then you can’t really run a business.

And does the US government have your back?

No, I don’t think that they will do anything for us.

After reading a bunch of opinions from other people, I think Brin’s interview is a breath of fresh air. Less guessing of what will happen, more about sticking to your guns and turn your stern around when it is necessary. Not that I agree with Google’s decision to censor in the first place. No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. It takes courage to change.

The star of the Post-80 Generation

The noise level in the US is nothing compared to the land that is most affected by this development. But the bulk of the opinions are either siding with Google or angry at the move. The standout came from the poster child of the so-called “Post-80 Generation” – the generation born in China in 1980-89, the first decade when China’s one-child policy was imposed, i.e. the first only-child generation. This is the generation that has no experience of Mao’s China and witnessed the exponential economic growth head on.

Han Han, a high school drop out (a rarity in China), a published author and a professional rally race car driver, is the rebel of this generation. He speaks his mind on his blog but he doesn’t do it like the older generations – too much theory and ideals. He gets to the point with an attitude. Young people loves his writing, not so much the older folks. His blog gets more hits in China than many top blogs in the US. He blogged about the latest Google’s switcheroo but the blog post got removed. It still got traction before dissipating into thin air for good. The translation is a good read.

Do Chinese people seek out dangerous universal ideals? Chinese people seek them, but they seek them at their convenience. To a lot of Chinese people, the value of seeking such things is not nearly as high as seeking an apartment building or an online game to play.

It’s sad to say this, I agree with him. But there is more.

Google’s stated reasons for leaving do not resonate with the majority of Chinese citizens – there’s nothing there for them to identify with. This is a race of people who can eat genetically modified grain and oil distilled from recycled food scraps, drink melamine-infused milk, and take inferior vaccines. Their tolerance is higher than you can imagine. Their needs are lower than you can imagine.

It seems to me that Google has taken a hard look at itself and made a decision to change. Will the Chinese netizens do the same?

Advertisements