'Don't become a tool of hegemony, Google!'

16:16, January 27, 2010      

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The Google-China dispute shows a strategic position change of the United States. In the past, the United States maintained its global hegemony relying on its use of force. But now, its national strength has been dramatically undermined by the global financial crisis and a couple of "anti-terrorism" wars it has engaged in. So it is shifting its strategic focus from the military to the Internet. It is against this backdrop that Google becomes a tool of the country's Internet hegemony.

What makes a multinational company as big as Google intervene in the security and social policies of another sovereign state? Obviously, the case is not as simple as corporate decision-making of a business, but an act driven by other hidden factors.

A common principle for a multinational corporation to run its business is that the company is expected to obey the laws and systems of the local country, such as China. Similarly, the local country also has a principle while bringing in foreign companies, that is, the process should comply with its laws and systems. And, that principle of abiding by local laws is the bottom line, which cannot be undermined.

It is normal for a national government to manage the Internet. This is also what all countries are doing, for instance, to curb pornography and combat Cyberspace-related crimes. And, nearly all governments require that Internet contents must abide by local laws and should not compromise its national security. Google has followed American laws well. As a U.S. company, Google blurs the geographic photos of many places of the United States.

Generally speaking, the major methods of Internet management include monitoring, filtering and deleting unwanted content. Some Western countries repeatedly ask other countries to ensure freedom of speech and Internet freedom, while when there are contents threatening their own national interests, they would immediately impose strict control. For instance, Google has filtered a lot of online posts on the ground that they are of racial discrimination and anti-American rhetoric.

China's Internet monitoring and surveillance is entirely in keeping with its own law, while trying to ensure a great degree of freedom for Internet companies and users. According to statistics, currently, China has more than 200 million blogs, ranking No. 1 in the world. Every day, more than 100 million Chinese speak freely on the Internet.

As a website, People's Daily Online has enjoyed a great degree of freedom. Our “Strong China Forum", a hot online forum on current affairs, has existed for many years. The only principle and bottom line for us is to comply with the Chinese law and keep the healthy development of the Internet. As long as the readers' remarks are not against the law, anything can be discussed and posted. It's entirely free to dicuss and debate on our website.

Take another example. We have set up different message boards for all levels of local Chinese governments. In 2009 alone, more than 7,000 grievances and suggestions concerning local areas were publicized on our site, attracting heated debates among Chinese netizens. Many of them have been heard by local governemnts.

In addition, we have a column named EZheng, literally meaning, debating politics. Everyone can voice suggestions in the column. According to my knowledge, a majority of the questions put forward by the netizens have been properly replied and problems get solved. So long as the Internet is supported by this belief, it will never lose vitality and soul.

Google is a very creative company with a unique innovative culture, which is difficult for many other companies to compete. I believe Google will grow further in the market place as long as it simply follows the rules of doing business, while not playing politics. I hope it won't become a tool of the U.S. hegemony.

By People's Daily Online
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