Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Great Firewall of China?

In "Inside the Great Firewall of China" (FORTUNE, March 20, 2006), the cover story mentioned on page 32:

The sharpest barbs have been hurled at Google. The company, famous for its "Don't be evil" motto, announced earlier this year that it has deployed a separate, politically correct site for users in China, which blocks access to content Beijing deems controversial. The result is a digital alternate universe in which uses who type "Tiananmen Square" into the Chinese Google site are guided to pictures of tourists strolling around Mao's tomb under balmy skies, while users in the rest of the world are directed to links depicting tanks and bloodied demonstrators.

Unfortunately, this in itself is a politically motivated statement. By using the example above, the author seems to suggest that one approach is more correct than the other. But is this necessarily so?

What if someone with no axe to grind searches "Tiananmen Square" genuinely looking for travel or historical information? Are we to say that his/her interest will be better served by linking to the violent suppression of the 1989 protest?

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