Friday, 15 January 2010

is China immoral in censorship?

For ethical and/or commercial reasons, Google is threatening to say Goodbye to China. Google was complying with Chinese censorship till date, now it is in civil disobedience. Google is complaining that cyber-attacks over its systems originated from China (likely from intelligence network, given the sophistication) hence it is no longer in good conscience to support self-censoring of search results. Meanwhile analysts are wondering whether the low market penetration in Chinese search market was significantly worth to Google anyway. China is basically suspected to have acted in bad faith.

It is sad that a large population can be cut off from useful information just because their government feels insecure. But I have a different point to make. It is high time others stop patronizing China (or India, or Africa....). China is trying to set rules for the games it plays rather than playing on someone else's turf.

Many in Western free speech lobby are taking a moral stand over Chinese censorship. I think it is ok for China to allow or disallow rights to citizens. For example I have no business asking my neighbour to behave to her family members. Likewise, westerners have no right to tell China how to treat its citizens.

Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to justify the attacks and I am a strong believer in democracy. But people outside have no moral high ground in imposing a belief system on China.

It is ok to call censorship suboptimal, but not ok to judge it moral or immoral.

PS: Interesting graphic.

3 comments:

Invictus said...

Wont comment on the blog as such but must say that I didnt quite like the "neighbor" example. Interfaring is one thing but to ignore if something wrong is happening in your neighbor's house saying that it is not-my-business is just another way of saying I dont care.
True, that we cant decide what is right and wrong for others, but there are times when you have the right to speak. Right- not given by the other person but that comes from your own confidence in your beliefs. Splitting it in black and white, however, might be tough.

Kartik said...

We should speak out (and call censorship suboptimal). But let us not pretend that we can tell China what is moral/immoral.

For the neighbour, I can say/suggest but NOT interfere unless it affects me in some way (often it does - that is gray).

I guess we are saying the same things except for caring part. I will care no matter. But if caring/suggesting doesn't help I will let the cute little birdie go, it is on its own.

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