Opinion » Cybernaut


Unstoppable tech?



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To stay on top of technology business news, some of the sites I like to visit are Globe Technology ( www.globetechnology.com ) C/Net ( www.cnet.com ), The Motley Fool ( www.fool.com ) and ZDNet ( www.zdnet.com ).

Web companies aid Chinese censorship

China is an economic powerhouse largely by our own design. We knowingly turn a blind eye to human rights abuses, the jailing of dissidents and Falun Gong worshippers, the occupation of Tibet, threats against Taiwan, forced labour, low wages, the absence of unions or labour laws, lax environmental standards, the export of our own manufacturing base, and the fact that the country is becoming a despotic oligarchy run by the wealthy and privileged – all so I get a new spatula for 99 cents.

Our willingness to overlook everything that’s bad about China these days for our own selfish good has made China wealthy beyond measure. That wealth has attracted western companies looking to sell their wares, including internet and software companies like Yahoo, Microsoft and Google, which voluntarily censor content in China as the price of doing business.

All three companies were slammed recently by Amnesty International ( www.amnesty.org ) for stifling free speech while aiding the Chinese government’s efforts to crack down on dissent, freedom of speech and freedom of expression. All of these companies claim to oppose government censorship in North America, but hypocritically go along with it in China to enhance their bottom lines.

The conventional wisdom on this issue – espoused by the IOC when it awarded Beijing the 2008 Summer Games – is that China will eventually become a more open and democratic society once they’ve been given a taste of freedom and capitalism. So far it’s not working.

To clarify the hypocrisy here, we want to bring democracy to China with bags of our money, and democracy to the Middle East at the barrel of a gun.

Maybe if the Middle East could offer spatulas for 98 cents…?

Website of the Week

http://radio3.cbc.ca Whenever I’m feeling bored with my music collection I head to CBC Radio 3, which is kind of like a hip college radio station on a national level. In addition to compelling live radio this site also offers user playlists, a music blog, Podcasts, New Music Canada magazine, Roots Music Canada, and some awesome archived concerts.