In follow up to yesterday’s Gmao post about Google’s compromised search results for the Chinese government, here’s a little scary comparison of historical denial:
In Tiananmen Square in 1989 there was a spontaneous student protest against the oppressive government. The protest itself was then violently disbanded by armed troops, including the use of tanks, with an unknown number of resulting deaths (between 400 and 7000, depending on your source). This is considered to be one of the worst atrocities committed by the People’s Republic of China, although it is possible that it is instead just the most public one. I’d like to think that things have improved since then, with increased relations with the rest of the world leading to a society with a more flexible structure, but there are still serious and significant problems there. Clearly it would be desirable then for the people of China to have wider access to information, which is why there is such an issue over Google trimming its search results to government-ideologically approved websites.
So, here’s a scary example of what this produces:
The most famous symbol of the Tiananmen protest is ‘tank man’, otherwise known as ‘the unknown rebel’.
There he is, many, many times. Let’s have a look on the Chinese version of Google:
Just as the real man has vanished (some say executed in the following months, some say he’s in hiding in central China), so has all trace of his landmark protest. He was voted by Time magazine as being one of the 100 most important people in the 20th century, but in China he just doesn’t exist. In politics as with people, denial is never a healthy thing.
Pointed out here.