Monday, August 06, 2018

Stability Prerequisite for China’s Internet Opening Up
By Yu Ning
Global Times
2018/8/5 23:17:33

A recent report by the Intercept, a US online news publication, revealed that Google is planning to launch a censored version of its search engine in China that will blacklist websites and search terms about human rights, democracy, religion and peaceful protest.

Although the news has yet to be confirmed, many Western media outlets, US politicians and human rights activists quickly poured scorn on the company, accusing it of capitulating to Chinese censorship and condemning its move as a slap in the face of internet freedom.

Google withdrew its service from the mainland in 2010 complaining about censorship and hacking. Any move regarding its return is bound to be linked to the mainland's internet management policy.

Regardless of its withdrawal, or whether it can regain access to the mainland, Google has been a politicized brand. This is undoubtedly a tragedy for this well-known multinational company.

The decision to exit the Chinese market was a huge blunder, which made the company miss golden chances in the mainland's internet development.

During Google's absence over the past eight years, the internet landscape in the mainland has changed rapidly and the number of mobile internet users has more than doubled, increasing from 303 million in 2010 to 753 million today. 

It's believed Google has the will to regain its footing in such a gigantic market. After Google's withdrawal, news broke now and then that the company was seeking to return. Opening-up to the outside world is the consensus of Chinese society. And it's also a basic understanding of the Chinese people that maintaining the openness of the internet is important.

Google is welcome to return to the mainland, but it's a prerequisite that it must comply with the requirements of the law.

Many countries now have acknowledged that cyberspace also has sovereignty and borders, and must be regulated by national laws and regulations. No country will allow the internet to be filled with pornography, violence, subversive messages, ethnic separatism, religious extremism, racism and terrorism.

China will adhere to the implementation of its laws on internet governance, ensuring activities in cyberspace are safe for society. This is the bottom line of China's internet management that should be respected by all foreign internet companies in China.

China is now quite open and will be more open in the future. It will unswervingly promote reform and opening-up based on its own national conditions and try to maintain China's stable development.

Google failed to understand the Chinese market eight years ago. Whether and when it can return hinges on its own attitude. Only by respecting local laws and regulations and following local customs can multinational companies win local consumers and the market. 

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