Google surrenders to China

William R. Hawkins
China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology confirmed over the weekend that the license for Google to operate in the country had been renewed for one year. The renewal was granted to Beijing Guxiang Information Technology Co. Ltd., the operator of Google's Chinese web service. The U.S.-based Internet search firm had been in conflict over the regime's censorship policies in the wake of a hacking attack by alleged "students" who stole information on the accounts of dissidents and some source codes. That the cyber attack was traced to Shanghai Jiao Tong University does not mean it was not a government assault. There is a close connection between the extremely active "patriotic hacker" community and the recruiting of a "cyber militia" to engage in warfare, censorship, and propaganda on the Internet.

China's official Xinhua news agency reported on the terms of the renewal,

In the application letter, Guxiang pledged to "abide by Chinese law," and "ensure the company provides no law-breaking content as stipulated in the 57th statement in China's regulations concerning telecommunications."

The statement says that any organization or individual is prohibited from using the Internet to spread any content that attempts to subvert state power, undermine national security, infringe on national reputation and interests, or that incites ethnic hatred and secession, transmits pornography or violence.

Guxiang also accepted that all content it provides is subject to supervision of government regulators.

Global Times
, a daily published in English by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, put it more directly on July 13, "Google ended up surrendering to China." Though Google holds less than a third of the Chinese market in competition with local firms, it still hopes to make billions as the market expands, so was willing to "compromise" as Western reports put it.

The Global Times editorial recounted the debate that had taken place online among Netizens, "In the course of developments, more and more people showed declining sympathy toward Google and stood by the Chinese government."

Looking back, it can be said that had it not unwittingly triggered strong waves of Chinese patriotism, Google could have gone further to defy China's Internet censorship, which may have left China quite passive.

In the West, liberalism has promoted the notion that "free expression" means being anti-establishment, non-conformist in morality, and even seditious. But patriots are exercising their freedom just as much when they support government policy, the national interest, or traditional values. It is this latter group that Beijing is trying to foster. It knows that censorship alone is not enough to maintain popular support for the regime. The Global Times editorial argues,

For a government, people's patriotism is never a burden. In a world where people still walk forward with a nation as the basic unit, every nation, including China, needs its people's solid, profound patriotism. It nourishes a sustainable impetus for national development. In any nation, there are core values and resources that can never be swayed or encroached upon. This is the responsibility of not only the state, but the people as well.

Deep patriotism, founded on reason, strengthens national cohesion and reinforces social stability, and is indispensable to China's true rejuvenation and sustainable growth.

Though the "core values" and national interests are different in America than in China, the sentiment that "every nation...needs the people's solid profound patriotism" if it is to survive and prosper is certainly a timeless expression of truth. The danger is that it may take the threat from a ‘rising" China to remind Americans of this wisdom.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology confirmed over the weekend that the license for Google to operate in the country had been renewed for one year. The renewal was granted to Beijing Guxiang Information Technology Co. Ltd., the operator of Google's Chinese web service. The U.S.-based Internet search firm had been in conflict over the regime's censorship policies in the wake of a hacking attack by alleged "students" who stole information on the accounts of dissidents and some source codes. That the cyber attack was traced to Shanghai Jiao Tong University does not mean it was not a government assault. There is a close connection between the extremely active "patriotic hacker" community and the recruiting of a "cyber militia" to engage in warfare, censorship, and propaganda on the Internet.

China's official Xinhua news agency reported on the terms of the renewal,

In the application letter, Guxiang pledged to "abide by Chinese law," and "ensure the company provides no law-breaking content as stipulated in the 57th statement in China's regulations concerning telecommunications."

The statement says that any organization or individual is prohibited from using the Internet to spread any content that attempts to subvert state power, undermine national security, infringe on national reputation and interests, or that incites ethnic hatred and secession, transmits pornography or violence.

Guxiang also accepted that all content it provides is subject to supervision of government regulators.

Global Times
, a daily published in English by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, put it more directly on July 13, "Google ended up surrendering to China." Though Google holds less than a third of the Chinese market in competition with local firms, it still hopes to make billions as the market expands, so was willing to "compromise" as Western reports put it.

The Global Times editorial recounted the debate that had taken place online among Netizens, "In the course of developments, more and more people showed declining sympathy toward Google and stood by the Chinese government."

Looking back, it can be said that had it not unwittingly triggered strong waves of Chinese patriotism, Google could have gone further to defy China's Internet censorship, which may have left China quite passive.

In the West, liberalism has promoted the notion that "free expression" means being anti-establishment, non-conformist in morality, and even seditious. But patriots are exercising their freedom just as much when they support government policy, the national interest, or traditional values. It is this latter group that Beijing is trying to foster. It knows that censorship alone is not enough to maintain popular support for the regime. The Global Times editorial argues,

For a government, people's patriotism is never a burden. In a world where people still walk forward with a nation as the basic unit, every nation, including China, needs its people's solid, profound patriotism. It nourishes a sustainable impetus for national development. In any nation, there are core values and resources that can never be swayed or encroached upon. This is the responsibility of not only the state, but the people as well.

Deep patriotism, founded on reason, strengthens national cohesion and reinforces social stability, and is indispensable to China's true rejuvenation and sustainable growth.

Though the "core values" and national interests are different in America than in China, the sentiment that "every nation...needs the people's solid profound patriotism" if it is to survive and prosper is certainly a timeless expression of truth. The danger is that it may take the threat from a ‘rising" China to remind Americans of this wisdom.