Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stance by China to Limit Google Is Risk by Beijing

This is a nation that builds dams, high-speed rail lines and skyscrapers with abandon. In newly muscular China, sheer force is not just an art, but a bedrock principle of its seemingly unstoppable rise to global prominence.

Now China has tightened its grip on the much more variegated world of online information, effectively forcing Google Inc., the world’s premier information provider, to choose between submitting to Chinese censorship and leaving the world’s largest community of Internet users to its rivals. It chose to leave.

Google’s decision may not cause major problems for China right away, experts said. But in the longer run, they said, China’s intransigent stance on filtering the flow of information within its borders has the potential to weaken its links to the global economy.

It may also sully its image — promoted to its own people as well as to the international community — as an authoritarian country that is economically on the move, perhaps even more so than the sclerotic, democratic West.

“The Chinese are very serious about pushing their soft-power agenda,” Bill Bishop, a Beijing Internet entrepreneur and author of the technology blog Digicha, said Tuesday. “Google just put a big hole in that sales pitch, and I think they know that.”

To read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/24/world/asia/24china.html?ref=asia

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