By China Watcher
Bill Gates, one of the co-founders of the very well known Microsoft, was criticized by the Western media for playing down the issue of Google exit from China. The philanthropist was probably referred by most people as a world’s entrepreneur who represents aggressive US capitalism that is not so appealing. He was praised for his ingenious inventions and ideas but is criticized for not supporting the Western initiated fights to free up the Internet society in China.
So it remains very clear that Google fight (with the undivided US government support) with the Chinese authorities is not about illegal intrusion on its servers, but more so to do with the unfettered availability of news, information and material which runs counter to the values of the Chinese people.
Gates disapproved of his rival's decision and insisted that agreeing to Beijing's demands was just part of doing business in the country. In an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America programme, he said "You've got to decide: do you want to obey the laws of the countries you're in or not? If not, you may not end up doing business there”. He also brushed aside accusations that Microsoft has been complicit in helping filter the web by saying that it was not an issue because any censorship could be circumvented with technical knowledge. "Chinese efforts to censor the internet have been very limited," he said. "It's easy to go around it, so I think keeping the internet thriving there is very important."
Last week, Microsoft chief executive, Steve Ballmer, bombarded Google by suggesting that the company had over-reacted in China. He said that people are always trying to break into other people's data and that there's always somebody trying to break into Microsoft. Ballmer also likened Microsoft's complicity in actively filtering internet content to the oil industry's decision to import oil from Saudi Arabia, despite the censorship that takes place there. "If the Chinese government gives us proper legal notice, we'll take that piece of information out of the Bing search engine," adding that even countries with "extreme" free speech laws, such as the US, exercised some censorship.
The direct censorship of news relating to Falun Gong religious group, Tibetan independence campaigners and Xinjiang’s East Turkestan is important to safeguard China’s security and ensuring that China does not fall apart like the former Soviet Union.
BBC and the Guardian, have always complained that their websites have been blocked in China but as Gates said that there is always a way around it and Chinese surfers are an ingenious lot and I believe that whatever the Chinese wants to read, they would be able to do so…. only that the Western ways of doing things might not be so appealing to them.
Thank you Microsoft, you are a true friend of the Chinese people, both in China and abroad.