China and Google by Nicholas Kristof
Posted in: Censorship at 25/03/2010 21:35
Americans tend to think of China as this vast, unstoppable, titanic force. Some would add menacing. But the confrontation unfolding today between China and Google is a reminder that the Politburo sees the situation very differently. They see a fragile China besieged on all sides, challenged at home, desperately needing to churn out economic growth to sustain its political model. In short, they see vulnerability where we tend to see invincibility -- and that's one reason they took so tough a line on Google.
The truth is that many young Chinese can hop over the Great Firewall with proxy software or with a VPN, but it's a nuisance. And in any case, news gets transmitted by email and text message and word of mouth. I can't help thinking that the regime is going to make itself needlessly unpopular among young people when it takes away their Google. They may put up without an opposition political party, but life without an uncensored search engine -- that's tough!