Google is free to leave China
By Han Dongping (chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2010-01-20 10:07
Google’s decision or its threat to leave China has caused a huge uproar in the World. It has become a huge headline news item world wide. President Obama was quoted to say that U.S. would take up the issue of Google’s complaints in China and its decision to leave China. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton demanded answers from China regarding Google’s complaints. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on American high tech industry to deal with China in concert. The U.S. government, the upholder of the free market economy, no longer hides its “visible hands” any more.
The Chinese Government has been learning to introduce free market mechanism into its economic system and society for the last thirty years. The Chinese government believes that it has succeeded in its efforts in introducing the free market into its economic system and asked other countries in the world to recognize its free market economy status. Some countries have already recognized China as a free market economy and others have not. I think that the Chinese government should allow Google the freedom to leave, just as it allowed its freedom to come into China, in order to demonstrate that China is practicing free market in managing its economy.
When I took my first international relations class, I was shocked to hear my professor tell the class about how our world is in a state of anarchy. The powerful will do whatever it pleases, and the weak has to put up with whatever it has to put up with to survive. I was shocked by my professor’s candid words at the time. Now I am very thankful to my professor who taught me the real lesson about our world. The bottom line in our “realist world” is: the powerful can get away with a lot, while the weak nations have to put up with a lot.
That is the realist world we are living in. But as an idealist, I always hope that our world can be a better world, a world where there are no bullies, no wars and where innocent people do not have to die because somebody else wants something from them. Some realists will call my dream of a better world as utopia. But I have a strong conviction that utopia has its important place in our human world. If more and more people are tired of the reality of our world where the powerful does whatever they please, and the weak have to put up with whatever they have to put up with, then a better world will be more possible. Someday, I hope that someday our world is no longer just “a jungle”, and that peace, and equality of nations will reign over the world.
Many years ago, I was asked to give a speech about free market economy in the U.S. at a conference to a Chinese Audience. The Chinese professors and experts were shocked when I said that all modern economies were state sponsored, state organized and state regulated. There has been no exception. The first world nations are the first world nations because their states have always been behind their companies. They have been willing to fight wars to open more markets for their companies, and send troops abroad to defend the interests of their companies. They have instigated coups and rebellions in order to defend their economic interests. They still do today.
Despite all these very visible state actions in the economic activities of the first world nations, the economic experts and professors in the first world have been preaching to the third world countries about the benefits of free market economy. They argued that the first world nations are first world because they practiced the free market economy. Nothing could be further away from the truth. If the third world countries continue to practice what they have been told, they will always be third world countries. Instead, the third world countries should do what the first world is doing, not just what，they say， they are doing.
Google complained that the Chinese Government asked it to filter the search results. Its complaints had the effect of singling China out as a government of interfering with people’s free access to information. The truth of the matter is that every state and every country regulates the information their people can get access to. Some powerful countries can control the information more widely and more effectively. For example, the four news agencies from three countries, the U.S., Britain and France, control 90 percent of the international news. Some countries can not get their side of the stories out. For example, Zimbabwe, a poor African nation, could not get its side of the story about its land reform program out. The whole world only heard how bad and how brutal the land reform program has been in Zimbabwe. Some states can control the information so skillfully that it leaves no traces，while other countries can not do that well.
The truth of matter is that every person and every state in this world is biased in its own way. More importantly we are not aware of our own biases sometimes. The state is in the business of controlling information. President Carter once said in his campaign that he would never lie to the American people. He already lied right there. The president of United States, or any other powerful nations in the world, can not tell everything he knows to its people. If he does, he is not the president of the United States, or any other powerful nations in the world. The governments of different countries of our world are in the business of controlling the information and telling lies to its people, occasionally if not all the time. It is up to the individual citizens to figure out what is true or false.
Again, the Chinese government should allow Google the freedom to leave China since it claims to be a free market economy. Even though I wish people in the world could have unfiltered access to information, it will never happen simply because of our inability to process the infinite amount of information in this world. There is so much information and knowledge out there in the world, and we have too limited time and energy to pay equal attention to everything in the world. We can only choose to care about some of the things and ignore other things. This is where our bias comes into play.
Not only should China allow Google the freedom to leave the way it should in any free market economy, China should also treat it the way it would be treated as in the U.S. Before it leaves, China should freeze all Google’s assets in China, like it would happen in the U.S. and make sure it clears its liabilities in China, such as its taxes responsibilities, its settlement with Chinese employees, its law suits with Chinese writers in regards with intellectual property rights and so on before it leaves for ever.
Dongping Han is Professor of History and Political Science at Warren Wilson College, NC. The opinions expressed are his own.
Note que a China publicou um artigo em sua defesa escrito por um chinês residente nos EUA. Não é uma escolha ao acaso.