Google and China are like oil and water. They just don’t mix and with each passing day it seems less likely that they ever will.
In the latest dust up between the massive Internet market and the chief Internet marketing enabler, China has not taken kindly to Google’s accusations that hacks against its Gmail service last week emanated from from Jinan, the capital of China’s eastern Shandong province and home to an intelligence unit of the People’s Liberation Army.
According to Reuters
Last week, Google said it had broken up an effort to steal the passwords of hundreds of Google email account holders, including U.S. government officials, Chinese human rights advocates and journalists. It said the attacks appeared to come from China.
Of course, China’s response is the stunned look on the face with their palms raised to the sky much like a whiny soccer player does after a dive (if you haven’t guessed already, I hate that stuff in sports but that’s another thing for another time).
After the look of shock, however, China has not decided to just be quiet. Instead they are acting like they want to go on the offensive.
Google has become a “political tool” vilifying the Chinese government, an official Beijing newspaper said on Monday, warning that the U.S. Internet giant’s statements about hacking attacks traced to China could hurt its business.
The tough warning appeared in the overseas edition of the People’s Daily, the leading newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party, indicating that political tensions between the United States and China over Internet security could linger.
By lingering one gets the impression that Google is starting to look like a pawn in a much larger political game that could be more directed at the US. Considering how much of the US debt is held by Chinese concerns this can be a little disturbing from this side of the Pacific.
By saying that Chinese human rights activists were among the targets of the hacking, Google was “deliberately pandering to negative Western perceptions of China, and strongly hinting that the hacking attacks were the work of the Chinese government,” the People’s Daily overseas edition, a small offshoot of the main domestic paper, said in a front-page commentary.
“Google’s accusations aimed at China are spurious, have ulterior motives, and bear malign intentions,” said the commentary, written by an editor at the paper.
The less than amiable rhetoric continued
“Google should not become overly embroiled in international political struggle, playing the role of a tool for political contention,” the paper added.
“For when the international winds shift direction, it may become sacrificed to politics and will be spurned by the marketplace,” it said, without specifying how Google’s business could be hurt.
We talk about Google’s importance all the time as a company and an economic enabler. But with great rewards comes great responsibility. It’s not likely that Google wants to be a political pawn between a teetering economic world power and the biggest emerging threat to that power. If they do then someone needs to tell them to just shut the hell up, in my ever so humble opinion ☺.
In the end, the new world order and the move toward a global economy in earnest is going to be rocky at best. The theory of world unity plays real nice in a political campaign speech but the reality is much less utopian and is wrought with hazards that could be bigger than any of us would like.
So we’ll keep an eye on Google and see if they think it is worth their while to become a flash point for political tensions that can only be described as ‘heightening’ between the US and China.
Considering their level of power and hubris they are likely to push the envelope. That’s when the real fireworks will start. Too bad it won’t just be in celebration of the Chinese New Year.