Han Han's View on Google's Exit

What Han Han said is demoralizing and sad but there is obviously some truth in it, and it is something that most people in the West may not be able to come to terms with or even grasp.

Regardless of the true reasons for Google’s decision to quit China, I agree with the view that Chinese netizens are the ones to lose out, on the technological as well as on the censorship front. But then if they themselves don’t care to fight for their own internet freedom, they can’t expect it to be handed over to them on a plate.

Here’s the original text in Chinese of Han Han’s post:-

对于谷歌退出中国,你有什么要说的?

我没什么要说的,谷歌是一个很好的公司,我的手机用的都是谷歌的系统。但是关于这件事情,你只要有一些新闻和政治敏感度,你就知道你说什么都没用,下场都不会很好,删了你的文章还算是小事。谷歌不玩了,他退去了香港,甚至可以回美国,但是作为中国的作者或者媒体从业者,如果说了一些人话,他被迫不能玩了,他能退到哪里去呢?

事实上,无论谷歌做这个决定的真正原因是什么,在展现给公众的说法上,谷歌有一个失策,谷歌说,他不想再接受敏感内容的审核了。注意,这里说的敏感内容其实不是指情色内容,官方对情色内容从来都不敏感,不光不敏感,估计官员们都已经搞到龟头麻木了。这里所谓的敏感内容只是指不利于政府利益的内容。但是所谓的开放所有审查结果,现实的中国人有多少人在乎呢?这些在正常的国家可以感动国人的理由,在中国看似不太管用。

中国有两亿网民,谷歌如果问大家是不是想看到不被审核以后的搜索内容,我想应该有两亿减去网络评论员人数都会答应,当然,这就像买菜,你多给人家一点人家总是乐意的。但是如果百度给每个网民十块钱人民币,说只要下载了百度新开发的屏蔽谷歌搜索的浏览器,并且使用我的不光完全遵守而且超额遵守中国“法律法规”的搜索引擎作为唯一指定搜索引擎,你们就可以得到这个钱,估计得有一大半人变节。中国人追求那些危险的普世价值么?中国人追求的,但中国人是顺便追求,追求那些東西在很多人心中的价值未必有追求新开盘的一个楼盘或者追求一点网络游戏中的装备那么高,因为大家的生活压力都这么大,理想都没有,混口饭吃就行了,你跪着吃和站这吃有什么区别呢。谷歌可能高估了自由,真相,公正,叉叉等东西在中国很大一部分网民心目中的价值,这些都没有路上捡到一百块钱实在。

真的,谷歌还不如说自己老是被中央电视台陷害所以退出更实在一点。谷歌所说的那些理由,无法让这个民族的大部分人民认同和共鸣。一个能吃转基因粮,地沟油菜,三聚氰胺奶,打劣质疫苗针的民族,他们的忍耐力是你所不能想象的高,他们的需求是你所不能想象的低。

Here’s my translation of the post:-

“Question: About Google’s exit from China, what do you have to say?

Answer: I don’t have much to say. Google is a very good company. My mobile phone has many functions that are operated by Google. If you are even slightly sensitive to news censorship and politics, you would know that whatever you say is of no use. You would be screwed for what you say and you would be fortunate if you end up only having your post deleted. When Google doesn’t want to play any more, it can retreat to Hong Kong, or even back to the United States. But as a mainland writer or media worker and you say something humanistic, where can you retreat to when you are forced to stop playing because of what you say?

As a matter of fact, Google’s public statement explaining the reasons for its opt-out decision is not well-thought-out. It says it does not want the sensitive contents to be subjected to censorship. Please note that sensitive contents here do not mean pornographic contents – the authorities have never been sensitive to pornographic contents; in fact they are already numbed about such contents. Sensitive contents mean those contents that may be hurtful to the government’s interests. But how many Chinese citizens really care about the so-called uncensored search results? These reasons that can ordinarily touch the emotions of citizens in normal countries do not seem to work in China.

China has 200 million netizens. If Google were to ask them whether they would like to access uncensored search results, I guess the answers from the 200 million minus the number of commentators would be yes. This is like buying vegetables. If you offer the buyer a little bit more than what he/she bargains for, he/she would always be happy. But if at the same time Baidu offers 10 yuans to every netizen who downloads Baidu’s newly developed “Block-Google-Search” browser, and use exclusively its “not only in compliance but in ultra compliance with Chinese laws” search engine, I think more than half of the netizens would turn their back on Google. Would the Chinese really be chasing after those precarious universal values? In their minds, chasing after those values that are important to many people may not be as expedient as chasing after a flat in a newly built project, or a new software in internet games. It is because the pressure of livelihood is so great that putting food on the table trumps all ideals. Google may have overestimated the importance of freedom, truth, justice and righteousness in the minds of a large number of netizens. These values are not nearly as practical as picking up a 100-yuan bill on the road.

Frankly, it may be more pragmatic for Google to say that it does not want to stay because it has constantly been stabbed in the back by CCTV. Those reasons that Google put forward cannot find rapport or resonate with the majority in this nation. A nation that can put up with genetically modified grains, ditch-grown vegetables, melamine-tainted milk and junk quality immunization shots – their capacity for tolerance is beyond your imagination and their needs are far more minimal than you think.”