Can You Read This in China?

The answer might, strangely, be yes.

“The Chinese government sells its people totalitarianism and suffering under the moldy guise of communist solidarity”

How about now?

Censorship in oppressive countries is nothing new, although it is on the rise.  What we need to look at is how the major net companies, Microsoft and Yahoo, and of course Google, capitulate to these regimes and aid them in their censorship.  There is only one argument thrown up in their defense.  The idea that they are just following local laws.

Needless to say this doesn’t hold water.  Imagine you sell fruit, and the price of selling fruit in a certain country is that you out members of a “suspect religion” like Falun Gong or Catholicism, sending them to be tortured and killed.  What would be the ethical thing to do?

Stop selling fruit in that country.

China and a host of countries represent huge markets, and huge temptations for large corporations like Google or Microsoft.  There are two sides to this ethical coin.  On the one hand, this is clearly unethical.  They are putting profits and market shares above the value of human rights.  On the other, just by being there, they allow some help to get through in the form of as yet uncensored websites and proxies.  How?  Well by finding proxies and workarounds through google of course!

But how long until even that route is closed?  Until technology and application “progresses” to the point where an oppressive government can block, completely, any attempts to find workarounds or proxies?  Can they do that now?

If so, then there is no ethical upside to the involvement of large web companies in the oppressive machine.  Just the unethical act of sacrificing liberty for corporate gain.

And don’t think it will stop there either.  Tools used to censor in Thailand will circle back here one day or another.  It would be best to stop this before it gets to that point.

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