GoDaddy has apparently joined Google in its China boycott. Which makes at least one company that cares enough about this issue to join Google founder Sergey Brin in his decision to pull out of the country.We suspect there won’t be many more.
Americans are obsessed with free speech. The Chinese folks we met there on a trip there a few years ago, meanwhile, didn’t really give a damn.
True, they didn’t like that their government drove tanks over students in Tiananmen Square. And they don’t like all that other repressive behaviour Google’s airbrushed search results didn’t let them read about.
But the lack of an ability to scream about how horrible the government is on national TV, radio, and the Internet?
That fell pretty low on their list of priorities.
What was higher?
The ability to make a living in a semi-free market economy. The ability to build a better life for their families. And so on.
As long as the Chinese government didn’t screw up the economy, the people we spoke with said, they were fine not being able to trash-talk them in the media.
Was this a scientific survey of the entire country? No. Do some Chinese put freedom-of-speech ahead of food, shelter, and the pursuit of luxury goods? Of course. But is the free-speech issue really as big a deal to average Chinese citizens as it is to average Americans? Based on the folks we talked to, we doubt it.
But at least Google has some company now.