Last updated: March 24, 2010 - 8:24am
[Commentary] For four years, Google has caved to Beijing's demands to self-censor search results on its search engine within China. Now it has drawn a line in the sand about truth and transparency on the Internet. It will move its Chinese operations to Hong Kong in hopes of operating freely. Given Google's prominence on the Web, the move may force China's rulers to rethink their stranglehold over information reaching 1.3 billion Chinese.
But more important, Google's decision to stand up for an ideal may serve as a lesson for other companies operating in China - and perhaps even for President Obama. He has hesitated in challenging China's curbs on basic freedoms. Most of all, he has avoided official criticism of one of China's most damaging restraints: the manipulation of its currency on the open market.
The US must make sure its free-market model will prevail. With only a few words in the coming Treasury report, the Obama administration could signal that the course of history will be toward more - not less - economic freedom. Such a designation need not result in the US taking retaliatory action against Chinese imports. Rather, it could help Obama in rallying other countries to speak in one loud voice in hopes that China would become a responsible stakeholder in an open economic order. Google has spoken. Will Obama?
- China cutting access to uncensored Google site
- Google's China compromise stuns observers
- Google adds Twitter feed in China, again defying that country's rules
- Google's Hong Kong question page blocked in China
- Google tries a route around Chinese Web censorship
- Google Losing Ground in China
- Google Faces Fallout as China Reacts to Site Shift
- Baidu will take a long, hard look at Google
- China's renewal of Google's license offers hope of resisting censorship
- China Calls Google's Plan to End Web Censorship 'Unfriendly'
- China Issues Warning to Major Partners of Google
- Google's good deed in China
- At stake for Google in China: Smart phone empire
- Blow to Google as executive defects to Baidu
- Google asks White House for help in fight over censorship with China