China swings at Clinton as Schmidt fudges exit plan
When I say pull out, what I mean is....
China has hit back at criticism from Google and Hillary Clinton accusing them of cultural imperialism by insisting that their view of freedom of information is somehow universal.
In an editorial Global Times said: "The US campaign for uncensored and free flow of information on an unrestricted Internet is a disguised attempt to impose its values on other cultures in the name of democracy."
The article added that most of the information coming from the West is full of "aggressive rhetoric" aimed at countries which failed to follow their policies. It went on: "When it comes to information content, quantity, direction and flow, there is absolutely no equality and fairness."
Therefore, the article argued, online freedom is actually a one-way street for less developed nations - they can only be passive receivers of information.
Countries put at this disadvantage had to take action to protect their national interests, not just to maintain political stability but also for normal social and economic activity, the editorial added.
The paper then addressed Google's recent noises about closing its Chinese search business and claimed that the vast majority of Chinese people "do not want free flow of information". It said: "Western countries have long indoctrinated non-Western nations on the issue of freedom of speech. It is an aggressive political and diplomatic strategy, rather than a desire for moral values, that has led them to do so."
Meanwhile Google's boss Eric Schmidt told the FT that closing its search business did not mean the company had any intention of leaving the country entirely.
He said: "We have lots of other business opportunities in China - we would like them to be successful."
Schmidt would not say how negotiations with the Chinese government were going but insisted the firm was still intent on ending censorship of results.
The comments do not make any clearer what Google is trying to achieve here. Ending its search business in China, where it trails local rival Baidu, will not stop hack attacks on its Gmail servers.
Nor is it likely to have much impact on the Chinese government or people. It's time Google either took its toys home or accepted the dirty dealing necessary when dealing with any government. ®
Your point about democracy in Africa is spot on, and I'd highlight another example: Russia. Going from Czarism to Communism to sudden, early 90s democracy didn't exactly sort their troubles out. In fact, it could be argued they were lumbered with it rather than empowered by it - hence the return to authoritarian rule now.
This is the point often made about China, and it's a realistic one. If you have a population used to accepting that the government will do best by the nation, then to suddenly tell everyone that "no, you have to take part in government now" is going to cause a massive upheaval and not one they might easily accept.
Progressive democracy: good. Sudden democracy: chaos. Of course, the problem with the former is that "progressive" might mean "speed of a tectonic plate."
...not sure about China ...
I must admit, I like their argument ... it does have a kernel ot truth. And pot-noodle-democracy (instant and totally undigestible) has been *such* a success in Africa. When the Bejing olympics were on, I heard a Chinese spokesperson saying that they understood they were perhaps a bit behind on human rights, but that democratisation has to be managed, or the population will suffer.
I'm not saying it's right, just it's a different perspective. After all, if you want a country where the police make laws up on the spot, and the politicians are corrupt and self-serving, you don't need to fly half way around the world ....
Wait a minute..
Sure, China has a point, and sure, Google's so called 'pulling-out' of China is an epic fail of an excuse for cutting their losses due to competition from Baidu (so it seems). This doesn't excuse China from attacking (hacking) the accounts of human rights activists, if this is indeed what did happen, as is being suggested by many news sources.
China still has human rights issues, there's no questioning that. I mean, it was only a month ago since this happened:
Before everyone sides with China, that is.