Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Congress bashes techies for Chinese fire drill disguised as internet access...

WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress blasted four U.S. tech giants Thursday, accusing the companies of willingly helping China oppress internal dissent in return for access to a booming Internet market.Representatives from Microsoft Corp., Yahoo Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Google Inc. defended themselves at a House International Relations subcommittee hearing, but a Google official acknowledged that figuring out China's Internet market "has been a difficult exercise."Lawmakers were skeptical of what several saw as the companies' efforts to explain their business practices in China only after a recent crush of negative media scrutiny and government attention.Rep. Tom Lantos, ranking Democrat on the International Relations Committee, told the company officials that they had amassed great wealth and influence "but apparently very little social responsibility.""Your abhorrent actions in China are a disgrace,'' the Californian said. "I simply don't understand how your corporate leadership sleeps at night.''The companies, in prepared testimony, appealed for guidance on how to work in what they called a challenging marketplace.Elliot Schrage, Google's vice president of global communications and public affairs, said "the requirements of doing business in China include self-censorship -- something that runs counter to Google's most basic values and commitments as a company.'' Still, he said, Google decided to enter China because it thought it "will make a meaningful, though imperfect, contribution to the overall expansion of access to information in China.''

Okay, so let's sit back and await the PJ Media headlong rush to slam Google and the rest for catering to the yellow peril. They've apparently most recently discovered that China isn't a bastion of freedom, so for them this is fresh news. For a time they were only a week or so behind what was happening, but most folks have known the truth about the Chinese for what, 5 decades or so now?

Talk about playing catch-up.

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