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Google Considers China's "Web Mapping License"

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the now-that's-regulation dept.

Censorship 133

eldavojohn writes "Back in May, China rolled out new laws requiring online mapping services to be 'certified' by the State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping. The laws appear to go into effect this month. Today an AFP article outlines Google's consideration of these rules and notes that it's unlikely Google will meet the qualifications to become certified as all of its servers holding the mapping data are outside of China. The AFP also reported that 'Foreign firms wanting to provide mapping and surveying services in China are required to set up joint ventures or partnerships with local firms.' Unless large changes are made, Google's services might get a lot more stunted as China regulates onward."

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133 comments

Some Additional Speculation (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684192)

The AFP also reported that 'Foreign firms wanting to provide mapping and surveying services in China are required to set up joint ventures or partnerships with local firms.'

I omitted my commentary on this particular clause as it's pretty much just speculation but I would claim that the government is encouraging/requiring/enabling corporate espionage. Not to mention the probably very sensitive close up data Google may or may not have of areal images of the United States. Now, it might just be that the government wants to foster local businesses but I would argue that it has more to do with strategy and espionage. I know I'd be uncomfortable.

Re:Some Additional Speculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684208)

You realize the Chinese have spy satellites too, right? Try adjusting your tinfoil hat till the voices stop.

Re:Some Additional Speculation (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684300)

Do they have street view cars as well?

Re:Some Additional Speculation (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684400)

... or maybe just a desire to cut costs going forward without losing functionality?

Re:Some Additional Speculation (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#32687466)

That would explain the terrible driving.

BAZINGA!

Re:Some Additional Speculation (1)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685068)

You realize the Chinese have spy satellites too, right? Try adjusting your tinfoil hat till the voices stop.

But....they won't stop! Can i call the CIA for home repair or something? No wait.... that's what they want me to do isn't it....

Re:Some Additional Speculation (4, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684652)

Whether the motivation is espionage or "encouraging growth of domestic companies", the results are similar. China has no problems bending the laws to benefit their companies at the expense of foreign ones.

Ok... that's their right as a sovereign nation, but I'd again point out that seeing the Chinese economy as a panacea of growth and opportunity will turn sour at some point in the future as firms wake up and understand how a monolithic government like China views them and the concept of "rule of law". Top down economies and societies have a relatively short shelf life; the Soviet Union proved that. When you have a small group of elites deciding the go forward path of any large economy, the results will be unstable... as the mistakes of these elites compound expect China to cannibalize more foreign business interests. I have no idea when this will happen, but I'd bet a few bucks that it will happen eventually.

Re:Some Additional Speculation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684920)

bending laws to benefit local companies is something the US does every day through import restrictions, excise etc etc, why exactly should china behave different? (note: I don't support this, but if it is good for the goose then it's good for the gander)

Re:Some Additional Speculation (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32686156)

Oh, no, no, bending local laws is the worst thing and US doesn't do it; US bends foreign laws, I guess that's quite noble.

Makes complete sense (3, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685016)

Not exactly surprising, but not for corporate espionage.

Don't know if you noticed, but maps are militarily significant. If you have people providing maps of your country, using the gps on phones within your country to improve the quality of the maps, locate places, it's in your interest to have influence over them, particularly if your biggest competitor owns the satellites and the services run from within their borders.

I mean come on, the howls of outrage and surprise are laughably naive.

 

Re:Some Additional Speculation (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685260)

What's the difference between corporate espionage and a joint venture? In the former, information is transferred without the knowledge of one party, in the second both parties know what information is transferred.

What the Chinese government wants to do is to outsource its corporate espionage to the foreign companies. Smart idea. China knows it has a quarter of the world market and that execs are drooling at the prospect of instantly increasing their market by at least 25%. Very few companies can resist the lure of setting up joint ventures. At some point, either the venture is successful, and local skill, services and markets grow, or the venture is unsuccessful, and local skill grows. The only guaranteed winner in this scheme is China. And all that without having to set up a single spy.

Re:Some Additional Speculation (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685766)

but I would claim that the government is encouraging/requiring/enabling corporate espionage

What if it's just a counterattack against Google after the whole moving to Hong Kong thing?

Espionage my ass... (3, Interesting)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686676)

It's about control. They aren't trying to "find out" how Google does google maps, they are trying to create an in-country choke point. This choke point will choke the money from leaving the country _and_ choke the information reaching the citizens.

Imagine if you were the Bureau of Stuff of Some Country, and you could take 50% of the profit on every enterprise taking place on the internet in Some Country. Imagine that you can do it by letting random enterprises do random things, and then only attach yourself once a random thing had proven profitable. This is the money half of the equation.

Now imagine you are the Bureau of No of Some Country, and you could interpose yourself at the source of each new flow of information instead of needing a "wall" to selectively keep a flood of random Yes from entering your country. You could pre-impose your No well before it became a possibility.

The control item is particularly important here because you cannot _firewall_ Google maps selectively.

Say you are a Chinese dude, and you know that "something prohibited" is right north of something else. you can get that map of something prohibited by searching for that something else and then scrolling around. If china can require the information be brokered locally, the "Mass Government Grave" won't be blacked out or filtered, it will be listed as "Xue's Farm" or "Rocky Hillside Funtime Panda Reserve". Likewise for the "Comrades of the Party Beer Volcano and Free Hooker Forest".

The problem with censoring maps by exclusion is that even the holes provide information. If you cannot control and _edit_ a map at the source, you cannot _believably_ obscure what you want obscured.

No Surprise (4, Funny)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684232)

The AFP also reported that 'Foreign firms wanting to provide mapping and surveying services in China are required to set up joint ventures or partnerships with local firms.'

No surprise here. If doing business in China is about one thing, it's about greasing as many palms as possible. Don't forget to mention the bribes to be paid to local officials.

Doing business in China is almost as bad as doing business in Chicago or New Jersey... almost.

Good ol protectionism (4, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684244)

China is CONSTANTLY accusing other nations of protectionism and yet are always pulling shit like this. I guess the lesson they are trying to communicate is that protectionism us bad, unless you are China, in which case it is good! I guess that is to be expected from them though, they constantly scold other governments on their fiscal policies yet refuse to open up their own books to public scrutiny.

Re:Good ol protectionism (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684314)

Yeah, it's called diplomacy. Kissinger wrote a good book on it. Your aim is not to make the world fair for everyone but to make it best for yourself. Learn to politic.

Re:Good ol protectionism (4, Insightful)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684608)

Your aim is not to make the world fair for everyone but to make it best for yourself. Learn to politic.

I can see how that would work out great for the world. The only reason that appeals to fairness have any effect is that people actually care about actual fairness. Cynicism and resignation have never gotten anything worthwhile in this world. Diplomacy aside, protectionism is bullshit by and large, and China needs to be called on it just like we do.

Re:Good ol protectionism (0, Offtopic)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685454)

Oh, yes, a leader should aim to be loved as well as feared, but it is much safer to be feared than loved, when, of the two, either must be dispensed with. As long as he avoids hatred [constitution.org] .

Re:Good ol protectionism (1)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685678)

I'm all for being safe, but it is not the end all and be all. A ruler/politician/diplomat emphasizes safety above all else. A leader does not. Sometimes principles such as liberty and prosperity seem risky.

Re:Good ol protectionism (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684772)

Better idea, kill the bastards that think this way.

Re:Good ol protectionism (1)

FuckingNickName (1362625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685366)

Yes, kill everyone who is evil. Then only good people remain. Tell me how that's likely to work out, using historical examples.

Re:Good ol protectionism (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32687256)

Coincidently, history is always written by the winner of said conflict. So I'd say it's worked out pretty well for us.

Re:Good ol protectionism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684788)

O.T., I know, but are you going for an evil Will thing with the nick? Kinda like the old mustache+beard=evil twin?

Re:Good ol protectionism (3, Interesting)

Weezul (52464) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684392)

If so, they're just doing their jobs, more likely their aiding industrial espionage.

In all seriousness, Google can and should file a WTO complaint against China here.

Re:Good ol protectionism (1)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684470)

How do you think they came up to speed so fast on the intertubes? copy everyone else, then adapt and improve. I learnt myself scriptimocations thusly!

Still, I have to admire their balls at making that ridiculous demand. I am going to start using China's methods to better my own life; to wit => I hereby demand that all banks wishing to do business with me keep all of their monies in my mattress! This is not a request!

Re:Good ol protectionism (1)

Fluffeh (1273756) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684698)

I hereby demand that all banks wishing to do business with me keep all of their monies in my mattress! This is not a request!

That doesn't work so well unless you, like China, have something that everyone wants. China has cheap labor and makes a bunch of stuff. Oh, and they have a HUGE market. Hence everyone wants to do business with them. What do you have to offer that all the banks want?

Re:Good ol protectionism (1)

c++0xFF (1758032) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684780)

A decent credit score.

Re:Good ol protectionism (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685200)

Having a huge and well-equipped army, navy, and air force and a nuclear strike capability doesn't hurt either.

Re:Good ol protectionism (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684418)

Why doesn't Google (or any other foreign firm, for that matter) have a WTO claim against China regarding the need for local partners?

Re:Good ol protectionism (2, Informative)

bloodhawk (813939) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684976)

how about because other countries do EXACTLY the same thing, this is only news because it is google. countries all over the world (including the US) have restrictions on everything from foreign investment, foreign ownership and foreign imports and many even with the exact same laws requiring local partners in many sectors.

Re:Good ol protectionism (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686662)

how about because other countries do EXACTLY the same thing, this is only news because it is google. countries all over the world (including the US) have restrictions on everything from foreign investment, foreign ownership and foreign imports and many even with the exact same laws requiring local partners in many sectors.

Which is why the WTO has this thing called Most Favoured Nation [wikipedia.org] status. It's designed to say that you've got to do unto all others as you do unto your best friend. In a nutshell, the most favourable trading conditions (i.e. for them, not you) that you've negotiated to date with other nations must be made available to any other nation that asks. In practical terms, it's done a lot to undermine the kind of protectionist practices such as the above.

I won't pretend to be a trade expert, but I strongly suspect that there might actually be grounds for action through the WTO.

... Making the WTO's decision stick, of course, is entirely another issue.

Re:Good ol protectionism (2, Insightful)

AdamCa (1841392) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684468)

Pretty much, this is the face of world diplomacy, with the control of information they are free to accuse the world of things like protectionism while keeping their own internal appearance clean. Doesn't really matter what the world thinks of them.

Re:Good ol protectionism (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32685518)

It's ironic, really. While China manages to get away with murder by clamping down on internet freedoms, America's international reputation is constantly battered by American citizens handing over embarrassing secrets to sites like Wikileaks.

It seems that encouraging people to think of themselves as free is, ultimately, a self-defeating policy. Americans have no sense of what is responsible. I'll believe Wikileaks is doing the world a favor when I see it leaking information about an actual oppressive freedom-hating regime like Russia or China, instead of only hurting open democracies while the dictators laugh.

Re:Good ol protectionism (1)

SimonInOz (579741) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685110)

"None can love freedom heartily but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license." --John Milton.

It seems states behave the same way.

Actually the USA is precisely the same - they constantly preach free trade, but will they let Australia sell them farm produce ... er, no. (Mind you, Australia's a bit reluctant to accept foreign farm produce - the claim that we are free of many of the world's crop diseases (no Dutch Elm disease, for example) and would like to stay that is terribly convenient [true, but remarkably convenient])

Re:Good ol protectionism (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685928)

Dare I ask what you expect them to do?

Every single country does this to the best of their ability.
I'm Canadian and in the same press conference, we'll hear politicians cry about 'Buy American' and how it blocks Canadian business who love to export to the US... then they will institute their own 'Buy Canadian' provisions.

There is no such thing as free trade when it comes to nation states.
I fully support free trade, but not the managed free trade we have today that only seems to disadvantage western workers.

Heck we sign free trade deals with countries while we have a minimum wage much higher than them. We basically make it illegal for our workers to compete.
Then we have China with its technology partnerships... which basically aim to commoditize western r&d.

Only sign genuine free trade deals that puts everyone on an equal playing field (no subsidies, not special rule, no bureaucratic protectionism in the name of security or culture...

So I don't blame China. They know we won't act... because if we do... people would be outraged when they can't buy an IPhone for less than $2000 because that is how much it would cost if built with Western labor. They're just using it to their advantage. Kudos to them.

I blame our western government for signing bad free trade deals and the ridiculous progressives who keep thinking we can build an economy on innovation.

Re:Good ol protectionism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32686850)

Yeah, their hypocrisy is beginning to rival our own. We can't allow the development of a hypocrisy gap! (Apologies to Dr. Strangelove)

This is a joke (3, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684254)

This is designed to simply drain the IP from western companies into Chinese ones. This is on top of China having their money fixed against the dollar.Yes, they said that they would change it a bit, but inside of 2 days, they rolled back the change. Quit honestly, China is an a cold war with the west via economic means. At this time, the west needs to tell CHina to either obey their agreements (float their money, drop their trade barriers, quit dumping/subsidizing, follow through on their international agreements such as CLintons as well as IMF) OR simply impose a slowly increasing tariff on ALL GOODS coming from China. If the west, India, and Brazil will follow through on this, then China WILL obey their agreements.

Re:This is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684454)

I fully agree. Acts like this "mapping license" nonsense will open the door to all kinds of protectionism. My favorite would be to set across-the-board tariffs that are proportional to the trade deficit. At that point, it would be hard for the Chinese to call it unfair, since their policies would actually determine the tariffs on their exports!

Re:This is a joke (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684552)

First off, you do not want to SET it. THat would kill the global economy. Instead, you want to raise it slowly so that China has time to re-think their actions. Free trade helps all, but only if we all allow money to float freely, have similar env laws (china's turning off their air pollution control allows them to gain 20% more energy; and GE helped them with that), and even minimum wages. Beyond that, it is up to each nations and businesses to deal with the differences. However at this time, China, India, and South Korea are all the major manipulators of money (there are many other nations that also fix their money, but they are small enough that it does not cause huge issues). And before anybody says that other nations (i.e. south korea and india do not do this), then how can you have double to triple the growth rate of another country that you 'free trade' for 10-15 years and still have the same exchange rate? It does not happen.

Re:This is a joke (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684464)

simply impose a slowly increasing tariff

No need. China is about to experience a labor revolution such as has never occurred anywhere in Asia. Major manufacturers (Toyota, Nissan, Foxconn, etc.) are experiencing labor strikes and capitulating with large wage increases. The best thing we can do is continue to buy their stuff and fuel their demand for labor. Once their working class feels its oats it will overrun the county and China will cease to provide an endless horizon of subsistence wages.

This won't be students in a square with microphones. It will be angry workers with pipes and accelerants.

Re:This is a joke (3, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684586)

You will note that the strikes are ONLY occurring against foreign companies. Not a one on local companies.

Re:This is a joke (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685056)

You will note that the strikes are ONLY occurring against foreign companies. Not a one on local companies.

Reported by? People who have an interest in telling you all about local chinese companies you've never heard of?

 

Re:This is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32685752)

You will note that the strikes are ONLY occurring against foreign companies. Not a one on local companies.

Foreign companies, and local grade schools...

Re:This is a joke (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684530)

If the west, India, and Brazil will follow through on this, then China WILL obey their agreements.

Or start World War 3...

Remember, China has a 300,000,000 (300 million) man army. That's one Chinese *soldier* for every *person* (soldier or civilian) in America.

The one-child policy has also created an imbalance in the sex ratio.
There's millions of Chinese guys who aren't going to be getting any, and might be a little frustrated about that.

Consider carefully before kicking a hornet's nest.

Re:This is a joke (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684634)

BS. For starters, I suggested all the countries that have been pushing CHina to do the right thing (honor their legal agreements). Basically, CHina will not go to war if other nations are slowly raising tariffs and saying that they will back them off if CHinese gov. will honor their agreements (and do so first; Their word and honor is absolutely worthless ).

Re:This is a joke (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684674)

For all the PLA's size, it must be remembered that, compared to Western armies, it is woefully under-equipped. While having a lot of cannon fodder can be useful, as was seen during the Korean War, a determined army with a skillful commander and good armaments is more than a match for such an army.

China is racing to modernize the PLA, but it has been in that race for sixty years. Besides, it's questionable in a modern conflict how having tons of infantry will help you when a good chunk of the war would happen at sea or in the air, where the US and its allies are still very much ahead of China. That may change, but China isn't there yet.

Of course, nuclear weapons are the great equalizer, but it's clear that China is not interested in adopting an explicit M.A.D. doctrine.

Re:This is a joke (2, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684734)

China is building 1-2 new Boomer and 1-2 new attack subs each year. They are now regularly patrol every ocean except Atlantic (and they just cut a deal with Venezuela for docking rights for their nuke subs). In addition, they have re-started their nuke warhead production lines.
They have multiple space stations going up, all controlled by the PLA. Only the first one will allow none chinese on-board. The others are said to only allow Chinese military on-board.
They are hard at work on Lasers on the ground for anti-sats and apparently some smaller ones as well (think that will fit in their space stations).

China does not believe in MAD. MAD is a defensive idea. China's PLA is on the offensive.

Re:This is a joke (2, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685300)

That all sounds very interesting, do you have a link for where to read more on it?

Re:This is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32686216)

Wow. One or two new attack subs per year, and one or two new bombers.

Assuming they have half of them already completed, let me know in 15 years, so they can have as many attack subs as we have Los Angeles class subs alone, and let me know in 5 when they have the number of B2 bombers we do.

Oh, and assume they have the same level of military technology as we do along the whole way, since "everything's made in China" is even remotely true when it comes to military technology. That's a great idea.

Re:This is a joke (1)

the gnat (153162) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686570)

They have multiple space stations going up, all controlled by the PLA.

I call bullshit. Just because some scientist or CCP apparatchik bragged in an interview with state-controlled media about China's glorious planes to colonize space, doesn't mean it's going to happen. Back in 2002 some Chinese space scientist was claiming that they'd have a manned moon landing and possibly even the start of a lunar base by 2010, which led to credulous stories in the BBC and other Western media. What we're seeing now is more of the same.

I have no doubt that China could do much of this stuff if it wanted to - but only at massive expense, and it's nothing that the US or EU or maybe even Russia couldn't do just as well. It probably won't happen, because bragging rights alone aren't worth flushing a huge chunk of your GDP down the toilet. Meanwhile, the US is also hard at work on high-powered lasers, and I'm willing to bet we're far ahead of China on that front, even though Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative died a quick and welcome death more than 20 years ago.

Re:This is a joke (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#32687276)

Not only are we hard at work on our lasers, they work, and work well:

http://www.mda.mil/news/10news0002.html [mda.mil]

Airborne Laser Test Bed Successful in Lethal Intercept Experiment

Re:This is a joke (2, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684704)

And what are these 300 million equipped with? Nothing we'd call armements or weapons here in The States. However, they can eventually build the industrial base to supply these guys, but don't forget Europe has a billion people, and so does India. If WW3 happens, that'll very likely be the way things shake out.

... then WWIV will be fought with sticks and stones ... (apologies to Einstein)

Re:This is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32685004)

If the PLA bears any semblance to this [metacafe.com] , then add me to the non-impressed category.

Re:This is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684680)

Is not Brazil part of this "west" you talk about too? It's not like we're in the middle of Asia here...

Re:This is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32685906)

Is not Brazil part of this "west" you talk about too? It's not like we're in the middle of Asia here...

Honest mistake. You guys ARE pretty hard to find on the map, what tucked all away up there ;)

Re:This is a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32686826)

You are thinking physical location. The reference was political; Politically, Brazil is considered by most to be neutral. Politically, the west would be USA, Canada, NATO, western EU, Australia, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand. The problem is that with the 'cold war' over (not really), then you have a large number of shifting allegiances. As such, Brazil is more and more playing in all the various camps (perhaps being courted). Likewise, India is starting to come back to being in the western fold (they were neutral to eastern for decades).

Re:This is a joke (2, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684756)

Yeah, but in many cases the Western companies' management doesn't care, because they're focused on returns over the short to mid term.

And why not? Why not give away the company's crown jewels, if you don't see the downside for another three or four years? You might even reduce costs over that timeframe by taking a Chinese partner. If you're the kind of investor who holds stocks for less than a year, why would you care? If you are the kind of investor who rebalances his portfolio every year or so, you might well come out ahead. It's only the people who buy stocks and stick them in the vault for decades, or the people who work for the company that are screwed.

Re:This is a joke (1)

Mal-2 (675116) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684890)

The other three BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India) aren't going to step on China's toes. On the one hand they want to emulate Chinese growth, but at the same time they wish to avoid China's growing pains (even if they are usually kept under wraps). Don't expect a lot of help here -- the best the "West" can expect is for them to sit and watch.

Mal-2

Re:This is a joke (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686548)

South Korea, India and Brazil have been griping for some time that China's policy is hurting their exports. ANd it is. While Brazil does not fix the real to the dollar (unlike India and SK), China's policy IS hurting their ability to compete.

Re:This is a joke (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686634)

You know, we could put immense pressure on China to do something about the exchange rate just by not borrowing so much money from them. People who blame China for all this need to turn around and look at their own country.

People who think changing the exchange rate will make a difference are ignorant. The initial effect will be to send factories to other impoverished countries, it's not going to bring back manufacturing jobs to America. The secondary effect will be to drive down factory wages within China to match the new exchange rate (a high or low exchange rate makes little difference: think of Japan where the exchange rate is 90 yen to one dollar, and yet they have a strong economy. A floating exchange rate is nothing more than a buffer against larger structural changes. The problem isn't the exchange rate).

The job of American politicians should be to make sure we have good policies for a productive America, then we can continue to be competitive in a global marketplace.

Wait! -- What's that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684258)

Is that the roar of 10,000 slashdotters typing, "...censorship as damage and routes around it, ..." ..?

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (3, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684312)

Frankly I'm beginning not to care. There's enough Chinese that if they got the guts tomorrow they could wipe out the regime, including the PLA, in about fifteen minutes (there would probably be a few tens of million dead, but Mao killed more than that with his incredibly retarded economic policies during the 1950s). People too cowardly to tear every Communist Party member's head off deserve the kind of rule the Party gives them.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (2, Informative)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684482)

You do realise that after the opium wars and colonisation period, they're far more pissed at the West and Japan then at their own leaders?

We've been doing this PR crap here in the West for centuries now. It really isn't hard to deflect the rage of the mob towards the outside enemy. And as your argument goes, there's enough Chinese to wipe US and most of EU regimes.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686106)

And as your argument goes, there's enough Chinese to wipe US and most of EU regimes.

Enough Chinese people, but not enough logistics.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686476)

There aren't enough boats to mount an invasion. China could go nuclear on the West's ass, I suppose, but they certainly don't possess enough nukes to do it thoroughly, and as badly damaged as we would be, China would be wiped out when we struck back.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 4 years ago | (#32687032)

Russia: Entire middle Asian part of Russia has already been effectively chinified. Read on tolls they are forced to place on raw materials extraction to at least somehow prevent essential strip-mining and strip-deforestation going there. Chinese have Russia by the balls already, it's just a quiet "we're taking over by breeding with you" kind of takeover for now.

US: Many of the chinese minority there aren't exactly happy with US itself (hello chinks). You'll notice many going to their parents' homeland for at least vacations, and many openly or hiddenly wanting a stronger China. Has been losing raw materials acquisition "cold war" to China for a while now in South America.

EU: Arguably best position to survive as it has no large Chinese minority and no common border. Still very dependent on China economically and is badly losing on raw material gathering to China in its former colonies (i.e. Sudan, Libya, similar African countries).

Conclusion: they don't need direct warfare to take over 2/4 of their main opponents. I'm honestly not sure what's going on with China-Japan relations due to extreme uniqueness of their relationship.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684516)

Frankly I'm beginning not to care. There's enough Chinese that if they got the guts tomorrow they could wipe out the regime, including the PLA, in about fifteen minutes (there would probably be a few tens of million dead, but Mao killed more than that with his incredibly retarded economic policies during the 1950s). People too cowardly to tear every Communist Party member's head off deserve the kind of rule the Party gives them.

There's three explanations.

1. They're too scared to fight the system. That's your explanation.
2. They're too lazy to fight the system.
3. They're happy with the system. This is what I've been led to believe.

There's a lot of "Yay, China!" sentiment amongst the common people over there. Sure, you'll have the occasional dissident but for the most part they're drinking the kool-aid and enjoying the powdered lead, just like we do here in the States.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32687656)

I am living in China for almost two years now.

  Alternative 3 is correct. They are very happy, and they should be if you look at their perspective, their standards of living improved like no other place in the last 10 years or so. That is what people really care about, as long as they can get all they want, why should they fight? Because their government is making some companies unhappy? Why should they care?

    Like everywhere else, only the elite understands what is happening, but they only that action when their position as elite is challenged.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684796)

People too cowardly to tear every Communist Party member's head off deserve the kind of rule the Party gives them.

What a brutish approach to politics."So a few million die" - so why haven't you resorted to violence against anything your government does that you don't like? I'm sure you could drum up enough of a local militia to send a message. I mean you clearly don't fear death or arrest or abuse.

When the strong oppress the weak, saying the weak deserve it because they are weak makes you sound like the biggest bigot ever and is incredibly short-sighted. That's the kind of attitude that promotes slavery and abuse of women. If you don't want to be grouped with those people, you better find a way to defend that claim or retract it.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685162)

I never said the Chinese were unique. Germans, Russians, Greeks, English, a whole assortment of people have submitted themselves, at times quite willfully, to dictators. In fact, I'd say the last three hundred years, largely since the Glorious Revolution, have been anomalous. The fact remains that until a nation says "Fuck you" and proceeds to kill or drive out the dictators, they're going to have to live with it, and if they don't want to drive out the dictators out of fear of personal safety, well, they truly have enslaved themselves. Particularly in a country like China, where the unarmed masses would be more than sufficient to literally rend the regime into oblivion, it's sad to see them follow the ancient model of mindlessly following the leader. For the most part, they have a responsible leadership, but that leadership got there in large part through internal collusion against the old guard of the Maoist era, and not through any particular concern for reform or human rights. I mean, Mao is still revered, with the caveat that "he made some mistakes", despite the fact that he probably holds the distinction of causing more deaths than any other human being in history. In reality, his cadaver should be pulled out of its pathetic display, stomped to the ground, and those that glorify this monster should be shown an abattoir or the border, and given about five seconds to choose.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32686398)

You talk like the Glorious Revolution was an actual revolution. Look it up: it was purely a squabble between factions of the upper class. I'd be hard pressed to come up with any way that it constitutes earning a democracy by the lower classes.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686460)

It ended once and for all in Anglo-Saxon realms the notion of absolutism. It took another couple of centuries for the franchise to be expanded, but it marks the overthrow of absolute monarchy, unlimited executive exercise of power, and ushered in the rule of constitutional law.

China doesn't even enjoy the limited rights that the Bill of Rights, 1689 delivered.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685448)

What a brutish approach to politics."So a few million die" - so why haven't you resorted to violence against anything your government does that you don't like?

I don't know about you, but if the government does something I don't like, I can peacefully protest without being hauled off or driven over with a tank [wikimedia.org] . Perhaps MightyMartian is lucky enough to live in a country where it is unnecessary to resort to violence in order to protest against the government. When you have a government that won't use violent force against protesters you get the million man march instead of the Boston tea party.

When the strong oppress the weak and no one does anything about it, it's unlikely that the situation will change in any appreciable manner. The weak don't deserve what they get, but they're going to keep on getting it until they stand up for themselves. If you want rights and freedoms you currently don't have, you'd better be willing to die for them because the powers that be aren't just going to give to you freely. Sugarcoating the sad truths of life doesn't magically make the world a better place.

It's horribly depressing, but if the Chinese people want to enjoy a greater level of freedom, a lot of people must be willing to die for it, and a lot of them probably will. As conditions in their country continue to improve, the greater thirst for freedom and subsequent revolution will be as inevitable as the sunset.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32685590)

When the strong oppress the weak, saying the weak deserve it because they are weak makes you sound like the biggest bigot ever and is incredibly short-sighted. That's the kind of attitude that promotes slavery and abuse of women.

I've heard a rumor that some women do read /. and might not appreciate being referred to as 'weak'.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (1)

Snarky McButtface (1542357) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685882)

That's the kind of attitude that promotes slavery and abuse of women.

It appears that Godwin's law needs a corollary. In the few thousand years of "civilization" slavery has only been a dirty word for about 200 years. Abuse of women? Women aren't helpless. [dvmen.org] I must say I am surprised you did not mention genocide and those darn Nazis. If you ever want to make a point referencing genocide as a shock tactic, you might want to mention the British. They are the only one to have committed a successful genocide [wikipedia.org] in modern history.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685188)

But it's the CCP that has control over the PLA. I've been informed that the top ranking college graduates (local Chinese) in China are offered great wealth and political power into the CCP. Every year they need fresh blood to replace the old guard that retires (death, natural or otherwise). The CCP knows that the only way to maintain control is to tie the fate of all China together. It's a political survival mechanism. Together China rises, or together everyone falls.

Side note: Why do you think China is buying so much US Treasury Securities? So they can have America as an ally instead of an adversary. Again, political survival.

Re:Wait! -- What's that? (1)

Gudeldar (705128) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685642)

I have a feeling that if Chinese could vote they would vote for the CCP by a landslide.

Fuck China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684288)

Isn't it time that Google pulled out of that backwards-run country once and for all?

LOL (1)

ihxo (16767) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684332)

fast forward to 2013.

After Google's mapping service failing to gain much market share in China, Google decides to pull out of China (again) because of censorship (again).

But... (1)

surveyork (1505897) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685088)

There will be no 2013, remember? Nibiru, the Mayas, alignment of the Earth with the plane of the galaxy, the reptilians, the Illuminati, the Bilderberg group... 2012 will be the end of the world.

US should respond (1, Insightful)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684334)

In such case of foreign government blackmailing Google, US should respond with serious measures towards China companies and their operations in US. However, knowing how weak Obama is when it comes to nations he cannot mindlessly bomb all day using drones, nothing will happen.

Re:US should respond (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32685282)

China has so much US currency that they can just dump it and make the US economy crumble. The president can't allow that, so he must ignore all of China's bad behavior.

Re:US should respond (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686654)

And so would China. Chinese gov. will not want to allow that either.

it is about control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684362)

It is all about CoNtRoL. All nations should be very concerned about Goog having hi-res images - China is flexing its muscles over it (as in many other areas). There must be many back-door agreements with governments across the globe to hush out sensitive areas, etc. If you were a government, you would not want hi-res images of your military bases, etc on servers offshore. You want this data where you can control it - in-country.
On the other hand - having this data offshore, the world can enjoy China in hi-res and, quite frankly, stuff them if they block images of themselves within China.

Another Grab at intellectual property (4, Insightful)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684372)

This is not even a very well veiled attempt to get any company that wants to do business in China to open up all of their source code and "hand the keys to the kingdom" to the Chinese government.

Ironically I bet there are companies that carry a big IP hammer to beat up the rest of the world with will be beating down the doors to become slavering lapdogs of China for a chance at the profits pie. Of course China will say "you companies just do not understand China so we need to repackage everything you do to fit our "culture"". What they are really meaning is that "Give us all of the stuff and we will let you play in our sandbox... until we can reverse engineer your application or system and stick a "Made in China" label on it. The we will give you the boot or make the conditions so impossible for you to do business you will run out with your tails between your legs".

Re:Another Grab at intellectual property (0, Offtopic)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684478)

OMG, it's full of appstore!!!

Re:Another Grab at intellectual property (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32684562)

Or China could roll over and bow to the wishes of US and US companies and become a lapdog to US just like Canada does. Canada's current prime-minister is pretty much a sock puppet to whatever US says when it comes to issues like DRM, trade, and war-making. I really hate it.

Re:Another Grab at intellectual property (4, Insightful)

TheNarrator (200498) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684770)

The irony is that companies that do everything China wants often get little in return. Look at Microsoft. They gave China the source code to their software. Gave them nearly free licensing of Windows and they hardly make any money there at all!

http://www.internetnews.com/ent-news/article.php/1832381/Gates-Lets-China-Peek-Through-Windows.htm [internetnews.com]

February 28, 2003
By Mark Berniker: More stories by this author:
Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates on a tour in China said his company will allow the Chinese government partial access to the source code of its Windows operating system.

Microsoft said it would only share some details about its proprietary source code, but it's considered a major win for Microsoft to have China join its Government Security Program (GSP). China is one of several countries, including Russia, NATO and the United Kingdom, participating in the recently launched Microsoft program aimed, at part, in trying to reverse negative perceptions of the company.

At issue, is whether Microsoft's software provides adequate security for governments, and their classified data. Piracy of Microsoft software in China is also a huge problem, and the Chinese government and Microsoft are keen to jointly stem its tide.

Microsoft has clearly made a decision that China, the world's biggest market with immense potential for growth over the next decade, is a place it will be putting considerable resources towards. Microsoft has said it will invest $750 million in China from 2003-2005.

and now in 2010....

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-05-24/microsoft-s-ballmer-says-china-piracy-is-a-problem-update1-.html [businessweek.com]

Lack of progress in protecting intellectual property has led China, which may overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest personal-computer market in a year, to generate less revenue for Microsoft than India and South Korea, Ballmer said. China’s gross domestic product is twice the two economies combined.

Open Street Map (3, Informative)

ben_kelley (234423) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684684)

This law has big implications for open mapping projects like Open Street Map. Have a look at the warning on the China page for OSM [openstreetmap.org] :

This [law] to outlaw the entire OSM project, and any participation or contribution. ... People visiting China would be well advised to avoid overtly wandering around looking at GPS units, and avoid carrying OSM related documents in your luggage. Or you might prefer to abide by these strange Chinese laws, and just not do any mapping there at all.

Re:Open Street Map (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686668)

What is interesting about that, is that it really proves my point that China sees itself as being in a one-sided cold war. Their fear is about trying to stop foreign access to info about the nation. And yet, the west will continue to ignore this behavior.

Two Words... (-1, Troll)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684768)

FUCK CHINA! Yes mark this a trolling but hear me out. They have no consumers. The consumers they have live in squaller and long for a better life and those with any talent and ambition LEAVE China for a better life leaving only those behind who cannot afford to purchase products, live 10 people to a shack and get paid 30 cents a week.

So stop bowing to them. They are not the super power of consumerism and the new economy. Once their money comes back into balance with the dollar, they will collapse and the American consumer will look elsewhere for the next cheap product.

Re:Two Words... (3, Insightful)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685132)

Once their money comes back into balance with the dollar, they will collapse

Once their money comes back into balance with the dollar, you'll find the US economy will collapse as a major amount of the US national debt is held by the Chinese. It started off as a cheap way to fund American consumerism without having to worry - after all, China buys your bonds and you spend the cash they just gave you on Chinese goods - wins all round!

But.. that means they hold an enormous amount on US debt. If they decided to sell it on, both Yuan and the dollar would take an almighty hit - enough to pretty much collapse the US economy. Fortunately the Yuan is pegged to the dollar and doesn't float about - which could cause a bit of a collapse in either currency depending on which way it moved,

See, if the Yuan devalued against the dollar, they'd stop buying US debt. And so the cost of selling that debt would increase - the US needs to keep selling debt partly to fund the previous debt repayments - if the interest payments went up... you can see that wouldn't be good for the US. Considering how huge the debt is, that wouldn't be good at all.

Also, if the dollar didn't buy as much yuan as before, that would mean inflation for the US - no more cheap goods to buy.

So really, the US needs China to keep the dollar high. If they stop, you, them, and almost everybody is screwed. (Ok, maybe the Eurozone would come out of it better - assuming it doesn't collapse itself)

Re:Two Words... (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686646)

Poppycock
Even the majority of the economists do not sound so alarmists about this. The reason is that if China were to slowly allow it to float (raise it slowly by 40% then finally allow the true float), then both nations will do just fine. The reason is that it will give America time to bring back jobs and then tax them. And China will still accumulate dollars and will want to invest them somewhere.

Re:Two Words... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686688)

Amount owed by the US government: $13 trillion. Amount owed to China: $877 billion (check it out [wikipedia.org] ). Percent of total debt owed to China: 6%. I don't know why you think that would collapse the US economy.

What if Google doesn't care? (1)

bhagwad (1426855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32684876)

How can China prevent Google from making its maps available? You don't need to be a Chinese company to make a map of China, so if even if Google continues to show the of China, how is it bound by Chinese laws?

Re:What if Google doesn't care? (1)

KarmaMB84 (743001) | more than 4 years ago | (#32685014)

They'll block access to Google via the Great Firewall of China.

Re:What if Google doesn't care? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 4 years ago | (#32686512)

They can't. It's just a bullshit country's attempt to claim copyright over the layout of their roads and cities. You can't claim ownership over the view of your land from space.

This is actually in the same realm has claiming ownership of the rights on translating foreign languages in copyrighted works. Yes, you can sell the right to make the "official" version of something. But to me, there is something implicitly wrong about saying that if someone else tells someone what such-and-such sentence means in another language they can be sued. Like how China is now trying to say only State-approved companies (even foreign ones) can create a representation of the layout of the land that makes up the country.

And remember folks... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32685286)

The Democrats want to bring Chinese style regulation HERE!

VOTE REPUBLICAN.

SAVE AMERICA.

I've been afraid of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32686870)

I rely on Google's maps to get around because they show every road and place name in Chinese and Pinyin (which is indispensable for those who can't read Chinese or read it poorly). Not to mention that the interface itself is in English on Google. After the search censorship clash and redirection of search through Google's HK servers, I've been waiting with apprehension for something like this.

It's infuriating to hear blatant lies from the government saying that the internet is open here. They really have the audacity to publicly make those statements. If it's open why can't I access wordpress, youtube, blogger, or myriad other domains? Other sites randomly fall victim to this blockage too like the Python download server for some inexplicable reason.

Another thing is the obvious use of deep packet inspection. An easy way to prove that this is being done is to do a Google search for some banned terms. Even going through an unencrypted public proxy results in blocked searches for certain terms. If you want an example of such a term try "ultrareach." That's the name of an encrypted proxy service that enables you to tunnel through the "Great Firewall."

The motivation for blocking these services I fully believe is both censorship and protectionism. Crush the voices of dissent, and as a bonus, eliminate competitors allowing homegrown alternatives to flourish.

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