A Post-Google China

Given by Tian Suning (田溯宁, Edward Tian) on a IT industry summit conference, this piece (Translated by Luke Habberstad. Source: China Digital Times) is the most interesting comment on the Google-China issue I have read.

The second problem. Google is not just for searching. Google represents the future of information technology, since the Google search engine and Google cloud computing [support IT technology] behind the scenes. When we make this sort of company such a big rival, are we not also rejecting these technologies? Let us consider the accomplishments we have now achieved with a modernized core attitude. They came precisely from having an open mind. We brought over the Western invention of mobile communication and the Western invention of photo-communication, and took the title of being the nation with the largest telecommunications company in the world (China Mobile), thus achieving a leap in development. In the future, software technology might emerge in a form that uses Google services. Can we simply follow one sentence from Comrade Lenin and then throw the baby out with the bath water? We need to consider these questions.

On the one hand, the Internet is a beneficial, extremely advanced tool. However, on the other hand, it represents the reform of our ideas. So, as to the question of why, when dealing with new issues we require new thinking, new methods, and a new ideology in order to solve the problems of the Internet age, I think that the Google incident does not provide a resolution. I think that it is the beginning of many similar sorts of incidents. It is not only one Internet company, and it does not only represent technology. Behind it all are values and consciousness, and these values and consciousness have a close relationship with the core technologies of future economic expansion in China. At this time, no matter if we are policy makers, policy advisors, industry insiders, or even one of the many users of the Internet, we have to consider these questions. If they are not resolved, conflicts will become increasingly complicated. We won’t have harmony or mutual benefit, but defeat and injury.

About Yifei Liu
I am a senior research assistant at International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). I received a master’s degree in journalism from UW-Madison with a focus on international and economic reporting in 2011 and a B.A in journalism from Renmin University of China in 2009. I am now living in Alexandria, VA.

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