Roger L. Simon

Google's Choice, China's Dilemma

I was pleased to read Google’s acknowledgment of culpability for allowing China to censor the Internet giant’s search engine. Maybe they were listening to Tom Lantos. The Guardian’s report even hints that Google is going to do something about it and insist on no censorship, which would toss an interesting hot potato in China’s lap.

How would China react? This is no small question. China, as most of us would agree, is not a communist state in any sense Karl Marx would recognize, but more like a repressive Las Vegas. It frequently behaves schizophrenically, embracing modernity and primitivism at the same time. One example of this schizophrenia are the near simultaneous reports that Harbin scientists have been able to breed a florescent pig while China itself has banned advertising of its own traditional Year of the Pig in order not to offend Muslims.

In some ways frightened, China feels it constantly has to balance between its energy source (the Islamic world) and its market – the West. Added to this are the natural totalitarian tendencies of a post-communist state. What can we do to help? Well, mighty Google can by applying pressure for freedom. As for the rest of us, we might seriously think about a Manhattan Project for alternative energy sources. It worked once.