Google in China Showed what Businesses can Do for Freedom
Persian Text نسخه فارسی
Google's decision not to censor search results at the expense of losing business in China is very similar to what some companies did during the regime of apartheid in South Africa by not accepting it. In the experience of South Africa, those who cared for the anti-apartheid stance in the U.S., bought more and more shares of those companies, making the stance not only good for human rights but also good for business. Of course one of the differences between the case of South Africa in those days and that of China today is that in South Africa, the regime was acting constitutionally when exercising the inhumane apartheid and an anti-apartheid company even had to challenge the country's constitution, but in China today, it is the regime which is acting *unconstitutionally* when censoring the Internet through their Great Firewall of China, and therefore it is not google that is not abiding by the law but the Communist Regime itself has been acting extrajudicially when wanting the Google to censor search results.
What Google has done by redirecting its .cn search engine to .hk search engine of its Hong Kong operations which is not bound by filtering laws is just a technical move of not much consequence because the Chinese censorship machine immediately took control to censor the destination when accessed from mainland China, the same way they filter the search engines or other sites from Europe or the U.S. Instead of focusing on the technical issues, what we need to focus on is the political decisions.
Just a few months ago at the peak of Iran's Green Movement a few companies in Germany that had cooperated with the machinery of censorship in Iran received the wrath of the world opinion that cared for the plight of Iran's prodemocracy movement; and even in Germany itself, the pain was so much for those companies that they held interviews shortly in which they announced of not doing any new business with Iran. Thus it shows that helping the torture machine of these dictatorial regimes is not good for business anymore, and those businesses that help with the censorship are not even business savvy.
Google's founders put themselves on the line to make this happen. When the company went public, they made sure to hold enough shares to be able to have the controlling power to keep their business a socially responsible one doing what is right and what is more right than standing for the rights that are accepted in the civilized world as the universal human rights, something simple but being denied by despotic regimes of China and Iran. Sergey Brin one of the two founders of Google has acquainted with censorship and persecution both in the form of Hitler's fascism and Soviet Communism by having been born to a Russian Jewish family in Moscow. Mr. Brin's caring about those who are experiencing the same pressures in China is admirable.
The Google founders have shown a great leadership in this episode by supporting the freedom of speech on the Internet and what is more important is that this move was initiated by the business itself and shows what businesses *can* do to help the human rights globally and one should not just expect everything to be done by the governments, NGO's or the grass root people's organizations that are doing all they can day and night. I hope other businesses globally to follow suit and see what they can do to help the people's human rights in China, Iran and other countries. Helping people who are still under the heavy boots of censorship, torture, executions and other violations of basic human rights in the 21st Century.
Sam Ghandchi, Publisher/Editor