China and the West – a point of view


This is a note I posted in response to a discussion on a Linked-in group of Chinese-speaking executives
Jan 28, 2010:

Very interesting set of views. Liqun Yang though I like your thinking I have to disagree with your comments about the Google directors and and business operation.

What China does from a western perspective requiring Google and other search engines to “censor” or “screen” searches as well as not allowing facebook and twitter hurts China’s emerging image as a world power and soon-to-be leader on the world stage. We (the world) needs China’s help in solving some of the past intractable problems such as North Korea, Iran, parts of Africa. China has developed excellent and different relations with many areas of the world where common people on the ground could use the help of China and your emerging highly successful and qualified leaders. BUT, with that comes more scrutiny and expectations. We expect Iran or North Korea to heavily censor.

We all have our sensitivities and you seem to be carrying that for now normal 19th Century Chinese sensitivity to the colonialists/foreigners combined with a reasonable nationalistic view. As China emerges and is strongly recognized worldwide as a power competitive/equal with the USA I expect my Chinese friends to experience a transition past all the baggage we’re all carrying and become comfortable and content in your new roles.
In the meantime I’ll continue to support efforts to find common ground.

This Image has now been Censored by MadBomber!


Back to Google; Michael S makes some excellent observations. I haven’t decided yet whether their threats take real courage and I’d leave patriotism out of it for now. That’s another form of nationalism and frankly with two wars running we probably need to tone that down for awhile. I don’t say this critically but simply an observation from a guy who’s “survived” 30 years of business with China and who’s family has had members serve in the military in every generation going back past the Revolutionary War 1770’s.
Does anyone have any inside knowledge of why Google picked this time and issue to stand on and what are they really saying and discussing with the Chinese government?

I feel they’ve made a somewhat courageous stand to simply draw a line in the sand and to “threaten” to act upon it. China is changing, will continue to change, and needs to continue to change and this is one area which will change. If they move this discussion along good for them. We in America are changing and us business folks know “change is necessary” to survive.

To my Chinese friends I only ask to remember no need to become too sensitive on these issues. We want to find reasonable solutions and keep talking. Your star is rising rapidly and with that will come greater expectations from the world.

I’ll end with the nice quote Wei Luo: “The most important sex organ is the brain.” Guess that just means I’ll have to go back to school since I thought it was the little brain.

Brent Reynolds
The Mad Bomber Company


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