XIAO QIANG, director, China Internet Project, University of California at Berkeley
XIAO QIANG: Well, this -- we really should put this context of the Google event in a larger context, which is, it's not Google vs. China. It's more Internet vs. the authoritarian regime, the Chinese authoritarian regime, because, fundamentally, the Internet is an enabler.The offical Google blog announcement: A New Approach to China
It's empowering people the capacity to organize information, to effectively use information, and also to work together, collaboration, and even mobilize collective actions.
From those point of view, Google's services and products are just, for those leading services, empowering people to do so. And the Chinese government fundamentally cannot live in peace with such empowering factor of technology. Therefore, they cannot live in peace with Google, period.
So, when the Internet is getting larger and larger in China, the Internet users are more and more politically active, and the political speeches have become more and more proactive, then the government has to intensify its censorship measure higher and higher degree, and then to the point that the company like a Google cannot take it any more. So, this is fundamentally an issue of China's government vs. Internet.
Whether Google is there or not, the story will continue.
- Google's Threats to Leave China Renew Censorship Concerns
Ethan Zuckerman has a more detailed analysis: Four possible explanations for Google's big China move:
- Google decided to stop being evil
- Google retreated from a very tough market
- Google abandoned Chinese users
- Google is about to join the front lines of the anticensorship wars (very interesting)