So now Chinaâ€™s heavyhanded approach to human rights is the tech industryâ€™s fault.
For those who have better things to do than follow C-SPAN all day, here’s the accusations Congress is leveling at our industry (courtesy of the Associated Press):
WASHINGTON – Halfway through an extraordinary congressional hearing Wednesday about the role of U.S. high-tech giants in censoring the Internet in China, Rep. Tom Lantos tried to cut through all the legalese.
Executives from Google, Yahoo, Cisco Systems and Microsoft had defended their actions as the unfortunate price of entry into the world’s largest market, while several lawmakers castigated them as collaborators with a repressive regime. Raising the specter of corporate cooperation with Nazi Germany, Lantos, D-San Mateo, the only Holocaust survivor in Congress, asked in his deep Hungarian accent: “Can you say in English that you are ashamed of what you and your company and the other companies have done?”
Later, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) announced legislation that would create a code of conduct for companies operating in China and call for a U.S. corporate and government push for “global Internet freedom.” Said the lawmaker: “Whether its witting or unwitting, once you find out that you’ve been complicit with a dictatorship — you’ve got to reform what you’re doing,” Smith said in an interview after the hearing. “I hope they take some of that back and start really robust discussions in their own boardrooms because this is very serious stuff.”
Gimme a break! This is the same body that writes and passes the laws. The same body that has done little to nothing to press China to live up to its obligations under the WTO. The same body that has repeatedly ignored Tech’s calls for China currency reform. And now that China is exercising its sovereign (if abhorrent) rights, Congress bellyaches that this is somehow Tech’s fault?
Hello Kettle, you’re looking mighty black today.