Friday, April 21, 2006

China owns us

Let's list just a few of the reasons, starting with the most recent.
  • Hu heckler on harassment charge (BBC)
    A woman has appeared in court in Washington after heckling visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao at the White House.

    Wang Wenyi, 47, was charged with harassing, intimidating and threatening a foreign official.

    Ms Wang, who had a press pass for the event, had shouted at Mr Hu not to oppress the outlawed Chinese spiritual movement, the Falun Gong.

    An embarrassed President George W Bush apologised to Mr Hu for the outburst.

  • Report Alleges Semel's Yahoo Helped China Again (Forbes)
    Yahoo!, like several other giants of the Web, has seen its share of criticism about the way it juggles both its Chinese business and requests from Beijing. Now the group led by Chief Executive Terry Semel is in the thick of it again, and this for the third time. A free press advocacy group has published a verdict from Chinese authorities that may implicate Yahoo! as having provided evidence for the Communist state to prosecute one of its users for subversion.

  • Google censors itself for China (BBC)
    Leading internet company Google has said it will censor its search services in China in order to gain greater access to China's fast-growing market.

    Google has offered a Chinese-language version of its search engine for years but users have been frustrated by government blocks on the site.

    The company is setting up a new site - Google.cn - which it will censor itself to satisfy the authorities in Beijing.

  • Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft in China (PC WORLD)
    All three of these American Internet titans are doing business in China and bowing to that country's restrictions on free speech. That can mean censoring search engine results (the Times story is largely devoted to examining how and why Google created a China-specific engine that, for instance, erases much information about the Falung Gong sect). It can involve pulling down a political blog that the government disapproves of (which Microsoft did). Perhaps most chillingly, it can involve turning over a dissident's e-mail to the government for use in a trial, as Yahoo has been accused of doing in three instances.

  • Upbeat on Trade, Hu Offers No New Fixes for Imbalance (Washington Post)
    As for the most visible of those problems -- China's growing trade surplus, which soared to $202 billion last year -- Hu explained it as mostly the result of "different industrial restructuring of our two countries and the accelerated international division of labor driven by economic globalization." He noted that at least 90 percent of U.S. imports from China are goods that are no longer made in the United States.
And so it goes. We are bound and beholden to the Far East for much of our manufactured goods and to the Middle East for much of our energy (oil). As a typical American I'm as much to blame as anyone. As a very brief sample, I drive a car made in Korea (KIA) powered by OPEC oil. I take my pictures with a Japanese camera made in China (Olympus). I watch TV on a 10-year-old Sony. And I'm typing this on an American brand notebook computer (Gateway) that was at the very least assembled in China. How long can we keep this up before we're totally bankrupt?

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