The role of internet companies in aiding and abetting the repression of human rights in China is an old story that does not get nearly enough attention here in Silicon Valley.
The late Congressman Tom Lantos, though, gave Yahoo! a well deserved tongue lashing for their role in providing the regime information that led to arrests of activists.
Now Google appears to have been pushed too far by Beijing and is threatening to leave China altogether. This is an important blow against the theory of “constructive engagement” which suggests that the West can influence China by handing them our jobs and money.
Sadly, the Obama Administration seems enamored of this approach and its distancing of the Dalai Lama recently was a clear sign of how it has put human rights second to its relationship to Beijing. Its about time they look at the Google experience and re-think their approach.
As they say over at the Googleplex: Don’t be evil.