Have you heard about Google's troubles in China? Well it goes something like this.
Google is getting too big for it's britches, (30% market share now), and in addition to 'illegally' scanning Chinese copyright material, (thieving pirates!), it provides far too much opportunity for the people of China to access pornography.
So what is new? Well, Chris Thompson on 'The Big Money' Website has presented a rather insightful and novel perspective of the situation.
In his October 27th article, Huh? Google's Censoring China?, in writing about the controversy between China and Google Book Search over copyright infringement, informs readers that "On Oct. 21, the People's Daily Online books section began running a series of stories about Google's dubious practice" and "Shortly afterwards, Google search results for stories on the books section site were flagged with a warning".
He reports that a representative of the People's Daily Newspaper claims that "Google has maliciously blocked the channel in retaliation" for the Google Book Search stories.
Reminding readers that "the 'Chinese authorities have blocked both YouTube and Google periodically, and Google China preemptively blocks any content that might raise irritating questions about Tiananmen Square or human rights as a requisite to do business there" he goes on to make his final statement, which is guaranteed to make one laugh:
- 'Let's just say that watching the Chinese Communist Party's official organ complain about censorship is a wholly unprecedented experience.'
Although I must admit to a good laugh over that line, the irony of the situation is far too close to home for me, living as I do in China.
Google, nice people that they are, provided my website domain with a free 'sites.google' account, and I put it to good use in my teaching classes when I was in Yancheng (Jiangsu Province). It has the added bonus of allowing me to type in Chinese.
Unfortunately, that site is now no longer accessible to me or anyone else in China, but that is not my major concern.
My major concern is that I am currently updating all my files. I do this every year, switching links, and adding links to the most recent topic related articles. In the Bottom box on each of these articles, there is a link to my Students Site at sites.google, and when I start uploading the newer versions of those article pages, it sets off 'The Great Firewall of China'.
The first time it happened, I found that the uploading process began to slow down until finally I lost my connection. I reconnected, and lost it again. When I tried to reconnect again, I got a 'You are forbidden on penalty of death from accessing this totally corrupt and thoroughly decadent pornographic site!'. OK! It only said: "You are forbidden to access this site!" (My site no less!)
With nothing else to do, I went on with the work in an 'offline' state. A few hours later I tried going online again, and was successful for about one minute, and then up came the forbidden sign again.
Then I completely lost the internet for about 6 hours.
I can access my site again, but if I upload more than a few articles at a time with that offending link, I lose it and get the forbidden sign again. So it seems that I will just have to take it very slowly and carefully for awhile.
The alternative of course is to wait till this whole google thing passes over and everything is back to normal. But when will that be?
We lost facebook and Youtube during the Xinjiang riots at the beginning of the year, and they are not back with us yet, so waiting out this current hoohaa may take some time.
But there is one thing that this foreign man with his feet planted firmly on the ground of China can't help thinking about.
The Government of China has made the study of English compulsory for Chinese students for years now, and in the country's great leap forward into 21st Century economic prosperity, millions upon millions of ordinary Chinese (via the internet), have been exposed to a variety of Western concepts, such as, Human Rights, Democratic process, and above all 'Freedom'.
One cannot help but wonder at what lies in store in China's future, if ever comes a day that the regular Chinese Zhou considers that 'The Party' and it's manipulative control of their right to free thought and expression has gone too far.
As China's 'Democratic' posturing increases, it will surely come to be seen as more and more incongruent to the common man, in view of such stringent Media censorship. If it ever comes to a 'show down', one wonders who and what will be left standing when the dust settles.
Can there ever be another Tian'anmen? Surely not! But if there ever is, what incalculable damage will it do to China?
You might think that the overthrow of the communist government would be a good thing for China. I do not! The people are far from ready for a true democracy, and judging by what gets written about the Democratic and Republican Parties in the USA, and about Barack Obama, one wonders if even the Americans know what a true democracy is. (Silencing Dissent in America)
Do you know how to silence 'dissent'? One way is to force everyone to speak only what the powers that be consider to be socially (politically) correct, and the other is to create hate speech laws to combat those who insist on saying what you dislike. And you find the attitude of the Government of China offensive?
Like it or lump it, the Communist Government of China is here to stay, and woe betide anyone who doesn't toe the party line. Was that one, or two different statements?
Anyway, that's just my opinion. You are welcome to your own!
R.P.BenDedek is the pseudonym of the Author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' (http://www.kingscalendar.com/), and is a guest columnist at Magic City Morning Star News. An Australian, he is currently teaching Conversational English in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, China.
BenDedek Social Commentaries at Magic City
"The King's Calendar" is a chronological study of the historical books of the Bible (Kings and Chronicles), Josephus, Seder Olam Rabbah, and the (Essene) Damascus Document of The Dead Sea Scrolls.