Losing the search engine to find the way?

Google’s decision to stop censorship on its search engine in China after months of threats to move out became news all over as international media scrambled to cast a specter of worry and alarm over the issue. This article from Yale Global Online however, looks at the whole “clash of the titans” (Newsweek, 25/01/10) situation from a different angle and tries to argue how this episode is really not as serious as it seems (most of Google’s online services are still running and MNCs are not exactly running away) and may perhaps even be seen as part of China’s ‘gradualist’ approach toward greater economic and socio-political reform. An extract:

“Maintaining open access to Google’s Chinese search engine in Hong Kong would be consistent with this evolutionary logic of China’s reform agenda and will be an instructive way of testing whether a freer internet will spell more or less trouble for the government. Chinese leaders will find that a better informed citizenry can help curb corruption, promote social justice, hold government officials accountable, and aid in  enforcing laws and regulations.”

Some questions:

1.Why exactly did (most of) you think censorship is a ‘bad thing’ in the first place? What supposed right do you think censorship seems to transgress against?
2. Do you think this issue might help move China forward instead (especially given the thoughts from the above article)? If not, do you have any alternative interpretation or recommendation?

(Do take a look at Debatepedia’s coverage on the issue to get a sense of the different perspectives on Google’s decision to stop censorship in China)

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