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Google (Not) in China?

While visiting China a few years ago, I remember the monumental task of trying to find a reliable Internet connection for my laptop computer, and feeling that the task was both daunting and troubling.

Daunting because of what seemed like a dearth of wireless connectivity compared to other Asian ports from which our ship had recently departed. Troubling because of the obvious isolationism permeating the country, mixed with a timid appreciation for Western capitalistic endeavors. DSC00761

Nonetheless, I was able to achieve Internet connectivity in various Chinese ports of call, including Beijing where, apparently, I could visit Tiananmen Square -- as the photo indicates -- but might have had trouble typing the words,  "Tiananmen Square" in an Internet search.

And therein lies the problem.

As today's editorial indicates, Google is considering pulling out of China because of a security breach that may have originated in that country and possibly connected to the Chinese government. U.S. officials are also investigating and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced dismay at the situation.

China has long been known for its censorship and words such as "Tiananmen Square," and the "Dalai lama," don't show up well in Internet searches. Human rights advocates are known to have trouble trying to communicate with the outside world via the Internet about what transpires in that country.

Google has not yet made a final decision on whether to pull the plug on its interests in China. The pressure of the decision with government-friendly Internet search company Baidu.com and other Western businesses willing to go along to get along can't help. Hopefully, Google will realize it is doing the right thing by not bowing under that pressure and make the right decision.

Meanwhile, if I ever find myself back in China and accessing the Internet, I may type the words, "Tiananmen Square" and "Dalai lama" just for the heck of it.

Dawn Marie Bracely/Editorial Writer 

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