Politics are usually something I try to avoid on the internet. Lord knows we all have enough reasons for sleepless nights and high blood pressure (parenting for instance) without adding the endless partisan demonizing that goes on over the internet due to politics.
However, there are some things that go beyond politics and enter the realm of ethics and basic human rights. As I am sure all of you know, the current government of China decided that the agreement by such former champions of free speech as Google and Yahoo to censor information going into China and to turn over the details of those bloggers who the government branded as seditious was not enough. Information was still getting through, and coming out, through a thousand little blogs and independent web sites, to say nothing of twitter and other social networking sites.
Therefore, the Chinese government decreed that any PC sold in China must have their Green Dam censorship software built in to block any content that the Chinese government felt their citizens should not see. Of course they explain that this is to block pornography, which some people see as a reasonable thing to do. Personally, to me that is an inexcusable example of censorship and big-brother paternalism, but no matter. Once that software is provided with any PC sold in China you are already halfway down the slippery slope. Once the hubbub dies down, the Chinese Government will be able to use the same software to block any information they feel is too disgusting for people to see, such as free and open debate of their government’s policies.
Thankfully a good number of people saw things as I do and there was far more of an outcry then the Chinese Government had been expecting (did they learn NOTHING from the Olympics?) and they opted to postpone enforcing the requirement.
End of the matter, hurrah for democracy?
For one thing, the Chinese Government has stated they will still quietly go ahead with the plan, but they will just wait until the eye of the world is drawn to the next sensation. Beyond they, they don’t even need to enforce it. It seems that most PC makers, fully aware of the vast profits to be made by appeasing the Chinese bureaucrats, are shipping PCs with the Green Dam software ANYWAY.
The AP is reporting the following…
Taiwan’s Acer Inc. — the world’s No. 3 PC maker — Sony Corp. and China’s Haier Group said they were shipping Green Dam on disks with computers for sale in China. China’s Lenovo Group, the No. 4 producer, said it would offer the software pre-installed or on disk. Taiwan’s Asus Inc. said it was preparing to supply Green Dam disks with PCs. Taiwanese laptop maker BenQ Inc. said the system was on the hard drives of its computers.
Acer was supplying Green Dam because disks were already packed with PCs before the government postponed the plan, that had been due to take effect Wednesday, said a company spokeswoman, Meng Lei. Lenovo said it also was going ahead with plans made before the Green Dam order was postponed.
Hewlett-Packard Co., the world’s top PC manufacturer, said it was working with the U.S. government to get more information and declined to comment further. No. 2 Dell Inc. said it was not including Green Dam with its PCs.
Well, if China can use economic clout to make PC makers willing and eager accessories to censorship and the denial of free speech, then we can at least use the same tools to make our own voices heard.
Choose not to purchase technology by Acer, Sony, Haier, Lenovo, Asus or BenQ. BOYCOTT THEM until they change their policy, or at least until China gives them no choice but to comply. Obeying an unjust law to make censorship easier is bad enough, but to do so when that law is not even being enforced is far worse. Support HP and Dell for their willingness to at least put the breaks on this infantilization and infringement of the basic human rights of adult Chinese citizens and think things through. Before you buy a PC or other device try to find out where their manufacturer stands on this issue. Samsung? LG? Apple? What are YOU going to do?
I for one put my money where my mouth (and heart) is just this morning. I was a hair away from purchasing a Lenovo or Acer netbook when I opted for a Compaq (HP) model instead. A drop in the bucket? Of course…but I will NOT let my money be used to bolster the bottom line of companies that give into Chinese pressure and threats concerning human rights. I simply can’t do so in good conscience, even if it has no effect at all.
I urge you to do the same.
(Source – Simple Thoughts)