The discussion over control of information in China’s media has developed surprisingly fast, both internationally and domestically. The Gang of Four US tech companies – Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco – are under pressure in the US for filtering information to meet Chinese government requirements, and senior retired Chinese officials are publicly criticizing the government in a letter for its info control-freak ways.
The letter harks back to the tone of debate on the media in the late 1980s when the late party chief Zhao Ziyang was promoting a vision of a sort of liberal communist China, and it could be that the time has come for this idea to come back into the mainstream of Chinese
But back to the Gang of Four: it was Bill Gates who proposed the neatest solution. The US
government should pass a law covering the activities of the tech companies abroad (ie in China), giving them the opportunity to say to Beijing: “Can’t do that, we will get arrested in Washington.” Very smart.