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China, censorship and capitalism!

So which side of the fence do you sit on the Chinese internet access debate? China wants to open access to the internet for its citizens, but also wants to restrict access to content of which it does not approve through its internet censorship law.

Several very prominent companies have agreed to provide services/product to China and to abide by the censorship rules. One school of thought suggests that supporting a regime of censorship is wrong. Another school suggests that by getting some access to the internet it represents a small step in the right direction and a pragmatic approach to breaking down some barriers.

The US Government have slammed Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco for being among the companies supporting the "Great Firewall of China".

I'm a pragmatist! I don't believe you can change the world overnight. We, in the Western World often just think we are right and give it time and exposure and "they" will see the light. I think the recent reactions to the publishing of cartoons aimed at Mohammed are a good indication that there are major differences in thinking between cultures. Its fine to be different, but we need to understand and recognize the differences and respect them without imposing our own values on others.

As a business person I think its OK to grow a business into China that is not causing a problem, taking advantage of anyone or creating hardship. In this case I believe Google, Cisco et al are providing a service in a reasonable manner, and when in China do, as the Chinese do.