After all, what's the big deal? Just like a sneaker company, Yahoo, Google, et al all have to play by Chinese rules in order to do business in China. If Nike can do it, why not Google?Link to "Never Poke a Dragon While It's Eating."
Well, let's break that one down. What happens when Nike gets itself into a PR pickle over, say, child labor or issues of environmental degradation or fair wages? Why, Nike simply pledges to do better, to spend a bit more to nominally clean up the environment, or to pay its workers a living wage, or to not hire children. Such practices cost Nike a bit more money, but don't raise any eyebrows in Beijing. Nothing wrong with a US company spending more in China, after all.
But companies like Yahoo and Google don't traffic in sneakers, they traffic in the most powerful forces in human culture - expression. Knowledge. Ideas. The freedom of which we take as fundamental in this country, yet somehow, we seem to have forgotten its importance in the digital age - in China, one protesting email can land you in jail for 8 years, folks.
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: email@example.com.