Google’s deadline for getting approval for its ICP license in China has passed, and aside from Google Suggest being blocked, there don’t seem to be major changes.
Aside from the cat-and-mouse being played out, the one thing which has irked my curiosity is that there doesn’t seem to be anyone on either side (Google or Chinese side) who wants to be openly identified with the issue. Aside from David Drummond, who blogs about China, there is no one on the Google side who has stepped up and said “This is our position and this is what we stand for”. Earlier on, it was Sergey Brin who claimed to speak for Google, taking a hard line against censorship. Would be nice if someone stopped him and asked him if he still speaks for Google on China, and what is his and/or Google’s position?
July 1 is a holiday in China, today marks the 89th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist party. It is kind of curious, even ironic, how a party which was founded on supporting the workers and the proletariat against capitalism and exploitation is now sitting on the biggest pile of cash in the world. But, on reflection, it is no more strange than how a country which was founded on principles of equality, freedom and justice started out accepting slavery as an institution, and continues to struggle internally with the issue of race. Internal contradictions are normal.
Under the current Chinese administration, it seems that the government and party are trying to reconnect with their roots among the workers. This is seen through the quiet tolerance shown for Foxconn workers and for striking Honda workers. This was balanced off against not allowing these worker actions to spread.
On the surface, it seems that there is a shortage of blue-collar factory workers in China, and an excess of white-collar urban workers. Now, it is easier to get a job if you are a blue-collar worker looking for a job in a factory than for a recent university graduate looking for an office job. I expect this trend to pick up pace in coming years.
One of the biggest challenges for the party in coming years is how to rebalance the expectations of China’s new workers entering the workforce. For the vast majority of Chinese, it is logical to move from the farm to the factory, then to the city. But what happens when finding work in the city becomes very hard and highly competitive? Will China become a nation of well-paid factory workers and poorly paid white-collar workers? If that is the case, then what is the point of all that education?
These are all things the Chinese government needs to think about as Chinese society continues to change.