The Freedom of Chinese Netizens Is Not Up To The Americans

(Anti's @ blog-city)  February 17, 2006.

(in translation)

On the eve of the US Congressional Hearings directed against the four big Internet companies (Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Cisco) about their collaboration with the Chinese government, I am writing to state that I believe that this has nothing to with us whatsoever.  This is a purely internal American affair.  When we Chinese who love freedom attempt to promote freedom of expression, we never thought that the right for freedom of expression ought to be protected by the US Congress.  Every single blog post of mine was written in Chinese, and every sentence was written for my compatriots.  I have no interest to cater to the interests of foreign readers.

I have always had a strong sentiment: the reason why a country is great is because at its darkest and toughest moments, there were always young people who love this earth and will not forsake their dreams to pursue freedom, democracy, security and wealth for their people.  These dreams are not given by the United States.  These dreams can only be realized by ourselves.  Only the Chinese can continue to maintain the hope to continue to fight for the political future in the face of despair.  Only the Chinese can maintain the faith in reversing the course of a river that has been contaminated.

This is our country.  This is our earth.  We must let this generation bring freedom, democracy, security and wealth to China.  This is where we and our children will belong forever.  The defeat of China will be our defeat for our whole lives.  There can be no lucky ones in a time of chaos.  A failed country will cause us to be the object of contempt no matter where we are.  When foreigners repeatedly use "totalitarian" to describe China, this is a deep shame for me as a Chinese person.  This shame cannot ever be forgotten.

These kind of sentiments cannot be understood by foreigners.  When the US Congress holds a hearing about Internet freedom in China, this is an American affair.  When the US Congress proposes Internet freedom of information legislation, this is truly treating the freedom of the Chinese netizens as maids that they can dress up as they see fit.

The proposed legislation even included this: when American companies interfere with information from the American government communications  (such as the Congressional Human Rights Report, Voice of America, Radio Free Asia), they will be severely fined and the responsible persons will be jailed.  Anyone with commonsense should know that American companies such as Google and MSN Spaces will be forced to quit the Chinese market.  Then we will be left with the cursed Baidu, our national blog service providers and the monitored email boxes.

I cannot help but ask: Mr. Congressmen, is your proposed legislation intended to protect the freedom of information for the netizens in China, or is it intended to protect the freedom of information from the United States government?  If it is the first, then how is it that after we are "protected," our freedom is in fact reduced?  If it is the latter, then why are you saying that this is about the freedom of information for the Chinese netizens?

Companies such as Microsoft and Google have provided Chinese netizens with much freedom of information over these years.  They have begun to compromise recently.  This is the shame of American companies as well as the shame of the Chinese people.  The solution from the American side is that these companies must adhere to their bottom lines and be more responsible.  Not only do you need the Chinese market, but China also needs these American companies.  Your negotiation conditions are not getting fewer, but there are more.  The Chinese netizens need freedom to grow more and more.

For the US Congressional representatives who think that everything is black-and-white, the absurd proposal is that "compromise=retreat."   They even treat the freedom of the Chinese netizens as a maid that they can dress us as they wish.  This proves once again: the freedom and rights of the Chinese people can only be won by the Chinese people themselves.

The only true way of solving the Internet blockage in China is this: every Chinese youth with conscience must practice and expand their freedom, and oppose any blockage and suppression every day.  This is the country that we love.  Nobody wants her to be free more than we do.  I am proud to be your compatriot.

At the end of my statement, I must state once again that I have mentioned only Microsoft and Google as the American companies, but it is definitely not Yahoo!  A company such as Yahoo! which gives up information is unforgivable.  It would be for the good of the Chinese netizens if such a company could be shut down or get out of China forever.