Enabling Chinese CensorshipPosted: January 10, 2007
Someone pointed me to TopCoder recently, a programming competition website, which requires registration to view past contests (which is really all I wanted to do). As I went through their laborious registration process, something in their despicable terms and conditions caught my eye (emphasis mine):
Provisions Applicable to Chinese Citizens and Expatriates Residing in China
According to Section 2 of the Decision, “to protect national security and social stability, the person or organization perpetrating any of the following acts in violation of the criminal law shall be penalized according to the criminal code:
1. Disseminating rumor or slander on the Internet, or publishing or diffusing maleficent information to instigate subversion of the state power or socialist system, advocate abruption of the country or harm unity of the country;
3. Instigating inter-ethnic enmity or prejudice, or disrupting ethnic unity on the Internet; and
4. Establishing or organizing heresies on the Internet and impeding the implementation of laws and regulations of the state.
Section 3 of the Decision also stipulates that “to safeguard the order of the socialist market economy and social stability, the person or organization perpetrating any of the following acts in violation of the criminal law shall be penalized according to the criminal code:
Section 4 of the Decision stipulates that “to protect the legal rights of personal safety and property of individuals, legal persons and other organizations, the person or organization perpetrating any of the following acts in violation of the criminal law shall be penalized according to the criminal code:
1. Insulting others or drawing up slanders against others on the Internet;
Wow. First off, to state the obvious, I’m glad I don’t live in China. The Chinese government sucks (Waaaaaah – they’re going to censor me).
Second, and more disturbing, is how this Connecticut-based company is kowtowing to Chinese oppression. They’ve basically stated that they’re going to do the Chinese government’s work in censoring anyone Chinese who criticizes their government. I know what some of you (and probably the wimps at TopCoder) are thinking: “If TopCoder doesn’t play along with Chinese rules, they may get blocked in China, and the Chinese people as a whole will suffer as a result.” This is completely ass-backwards thinking.
One of the reasons the USSR fell was that it became unwieldy, inflexible, and dogmatic. Its centralized structure couldn’t keep up with America’s relatively dynamic society, and it fell behind (and apart). China presumably took those lessons to heart, so the Chinese government came up with something very clever. Keep up contacts with American businesses, as long as they don’t say anything about its repressive policies. The corporations win because they get access to a bigger market, and the Chinese government wins because they win the flexibility without giving up control. Of course, the losers are the Chinese people, who remain stuck under a repressive regime, and any other victims of Chinese policy.
If American corporations like TopCoder (and Google) had any morals (or guts) whatsoever, they would tell China that if they want to be part of the global game, they have to open up and free up. If American corporations refused to work with China as long as they remained Communist and repressive, then China would eventually be forced to evolve into a more egalitarian and open society, or risk suffering the Soviet Union’s fate. But avaricious businesses saw dollar signs in their eyes, and decided that they couldn’t care less what the repercussions were beyond the bottom line (a sadly common theme).
So take a good look at the TopCoder Terms and Conditions. They are committed to enforcing laws that “safeguard the order of the socialist market economy”. They should be ashamed.
p.s. I’m sure I’ll find dozens of other examples of this sort of crap out there. I know Yahoo has a history of collusion with the Commies. But honestly, I’m afraid to look…
p.p.s. I didn’t even get around to the part about “disrupting ethnic unity”. What’s that all about?