Google Fires a Shot Across China’s Bow

So, at last someone decided to challenge China’s cyberwarfare and do it in very public fashion.  In Google’s formal note, which you can read here on the Wall Street Journal, the company said that the cyber attack was upon its corporate infrastructure, resulting in the theft of intellectual property from the firm.  Nart Villeneuve has a blog on the subject here.
As a result of more thorough investigation, Google found that there was an attempt to access the gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists, as well as targeting more than 20 large corporations, including those of the internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors.
Although Google will be conferring with the Chinese government regarding censorship and intellectual property attacks, the firm has made it clear that withdrawal from the Chinese market is not out of the question.
As WSJ stated, a Google withdrawal would also be an implicit rejection of the argument made by many technology companies that their presence in China overall helps expand access to information for Chinese citizens despite censorship.  The article also contains an intriguing analysis of two nations, Russia and China, who regularly operate targeted cyberwarfare without compunction.
Those of us with intercultural background are well aware that Chinese attitudes, in contrast to the Western world, tend to be highly insular.  Indeed, one client of mine, a Chinese woman and financial controller for a leading American agency, told me of a Chinese proverb that goes to the issue.  It was to the point that a wealthy family would lose all its wealth in three generations.  When I asked why, she told me that the Chinese families are closed societies, and even though wealthy, it’s very unusual to hire a professional manager from outside the family.  Her response, and this is a transplanted Chinese executive, was that the culture made Chinese closed-minded, insular, highly protective and . . . often untrustworthy.  An American bureaucrat recently put it in terms of “national selfishness.”
Ahhh well.  Every culture does its own thing.  Our German heritage makes us no-nonsense.  Our agrarian and pioneer culture mix makes us “you scratch my back, I”ll scratch yours.”  Our Anglo-Saxon and Puritan heritage makes us financially oriented.  Our uniquely American entrepreneurialism and easy bankruptcy laws make us the best marketing people in the world.  Thank you, Proctor and Gamble!

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