Friday, January 27, 2006

Boycott the Chinese Censors

Final Update: 7/26/2006

After reading a number of very well-reasoned articles, blogs, etc, I have decided to recant my statement about banning the "Chinese Censors". I guess you could chalk it up to the premise that providing tainted food to the starving is better than giving them nothing at all.

-The Analyst


Yes, boycott the censors I say! All of them.

First it was Microsoft, Yahoo, and Cisco bowing to China's demand that they censor all internet traffic into China to prevent the people there from hearing about such 'threatening' topics as democracy, the Tiannamen Square massacre, and the real legacy of Mao. Now Google has jumped on the 'oppress the Chinese people under a totalitarian communist dictatorship' band waggon.

Yes, yes. This is the same Google which was founded by anarchists and whose corporate motto is 'Don't Be Evil'. (Telegraph) It seems that even mockeries are made in Chinese sweat shops.

Yahoo even went so far as to turn over information on a Chinese journalist, after which he was imprisoned, sentenced to 10 years! (CSM)

Each of the companies, in turn, has defended their blatant aiding and abetting of the supression of the Chinese people by its own government. (Example) Maybe none of this should seem suprising, since corporations have a history of ties with dictators - benign or not. (Non-professional link, but common knowledge for the most part). But then, maybe we should've learned our lesson by now.

I had hoped Google, of all companies, would have been less anxious to be corraled into the Great Berlin FireWall of China. I even hoped they might make a statement. Alas, neither them, nor Yahoo, nor Time's Person of the Year have had the guts to stand up to one of the greatest dictatorships in history. Maybe its because they each fell seperately. Maybe they'd be stronger in numbers. Unity, solidarity, and all that other stuff that is actually allowed to pierce through the communist sensors.

So, in that vein, I call for a two-front boycott.

First. The American people could boycott Google, Yahoo, and MSN. Even a full-out boycott wouldn't be necessary to send a message. If the American people (the #1 internet market on the earth) refused to use any of those companies' search engines, mail services, or websites for two weeks, I imagine it would make a decent statement, if for no other reason than the lack of traffic to their sites would spook advertisers who pay big bucks to advertise on those sites. (Money seems to be their utmost concern, so its worth a shot).

An even better step would be to cancel your MSN or Yahoo internet services and switch to another company - and let them know why. The American people should also contact members of Congress and the companies themselves, express their dissatisfaction, and urge action.

Second. All three companies should boycott China. Why the three have not already made a joint stance, or even a joint attempt ala the still-limp EU3, to get China to ease up on three of their major cash cows.

China is now the #2 internet market in the world, and one of the fastest growing economies. A significant amount of that is the result of the business that these three internet giants have brought to China, the ever-important broad access to information they enable, etcetera. To be sure, shutting off all of these companies' links to China for a couple weeks would place the international media and political spotlight directly on the government of China. The people of China, devoid of so many of their most widely used internet services, would become increasingly irritated to say the least, and its a safe bet who they'd point the finger at.

These actions could be timed to coincide with the (supposedly) upcoming Congressional hearings on U.S. internet business dealings in China.

So. Let's see just how powerful the internet really is, shall we?


I just did a Google search (I'm such a hypocrit!) for "Boycott the Chinese Censors" - unfortunately I didn't see my blog - and I found this article on Bloomberg which also calls for a boycott. Sweet! Read all about it!

Then I found this on-line petition for boycotting Yahoo!, run by this blog: BooYahoo!


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