Could Google's new tough stance on China change the way the country is seen internationally? While the Atlantic Wire already covered debate
over Google's motives for taking a stand against censorship, some commentators are focusing more on the international ramifications. Many are predicting negative fallout for the Chinese government, calling Google's decision a watershed moment for American companies doing business in China.
- Hang on to Your Hats "This is only going to be a trickier issue in the next decade," warns Sarah Lacy at TechCrunch. In the future, Chinese companies "could be likely buyers of US
startups--not the other way around. Will the Valley's rhetoric stick
- 'China's Bush-Cheney Era' The Atlantic's James Fallows,
veteran China commentator and former China resident, says that "In
terms of the next stage of China's emergence as a power and
dealings with the United States, this event has the potential to make a
great deal of difference--in a negative way, for China." His reasoning:
formerly, it was U.S. leadership "much of the world saw as deliberately
antagonizing them." With the administration change in the U.S. and
Chinese provocation, "China, by
contrast, seems to be entering its Bush-Cheney era. ... its
government is on a path at the moment that courts resistance around the
world. To me, that is what Google's decision signifies."
- Google Can Do This--U.S. Government Can't
"From the standpoint of pressing China on human rights, suffice it to
say that Google has a freer hand than the U.S. government," notes The
Atlantic's Marc Ambinder. "It may set an example for other companies, who will now face similar
pressure to either acknowledge the Chinese cyber attacks or the
increased surveillance of dissidents."
- Don't Wait for Mass Exodus from China, writes Andrew Browne at The Wall Street Journal, or any other "heroic gestures from mining companies,
music publishers and merchant banks, who've all had run-ins with
Chinese authorities lately." Yet he doesn't think the Google move is insignificant:
Google may just have set a new benchmark for corporate morality in
China. Call it the Google Standard. Other companies will be judged
against it, not just by human rights groups but a host of other
"stakeholders" whose interests Western companies must take into
account, from ethical investors to consumer groups. If Google could
defy China, these groups will ask, why not you?
- Starting the Wave of Backlash The Guardian's Charles Arthur acknowledges that the idea that "Internet censorship will end in China" is "hopelessly optimistic." But here's what he's hoping to see change: "Google ... is putting western companies and governments on notice that
it is now OK to say China is a bad neighbour on the internet."
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