A Defense of Google in China (GOOG)

Jan.27.06 | About: Alphabet Inc. (GOOG)

The Stalwart submits: We've heretofore avoided the Google story of the week, which is that they've decided to cooperate with the Chinese government in censoring search items for Chinese citizens. The irony, of course, is that this comes just after bravely standing up to the U.S. over releasing search data. However after reading this Financial Times article about U.S. congressman, Chris Smith (NJ-R) wanting to hold hearings, we believe we'll drop our $.02 in.

Is the situation ideal in China ideal? No. Is it better for the Chinese people if they have access to Google, but it be censored? Clearly yes. The government is making a huge mistake in thinking that by blocking terms like democracy, somehow they'll be able to stem a democratic movement. It's the exchange of information, and ideas in general, that will allow popular organization to grow like plants in concrete, ultimately causing huge fissures and cracks. The argument that Google is doing something wrong sounds like the same argument people use when they argue that manufacturers are doing something wrong by not offering workers, in developing countries, Western-level wages and conditions. Ultimately, it's a step.

One might ask: Why do we allow trade with China at all? After all the government is known to be terrible on human rights. It's because trade and engagement is superior to isolation and brings about change quicker. Look at how little change the embargo of Cuba has brought.

It's really easy to criticize, in this case, but most people doing so have absolutely no skin in the game. Saying "Well I wouldn't deal with Red China, even for the money" takes about as much courage as saying "I don't agree with you, but I'd fight to the death for your right to say it". It sounds very bold and impressive, but is meaningless because those people aren't actually in such a situation. So, before you drop your Adsense, or switch to Yahoo, acknowledge that the problem is with China, and not Google.