Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Sanyi vs Google in handling Government problems in foreign country

On July 15th, an appeal court ruled that the Obama administration failed to give constitutional due process to Sanyi owned entity Ralls. It reminds me that Google exited from China in 2010. According to wikipedia,

"in response to a Chinese-originated hacking attack on them and other US tech companies, they were no longer willing to censor searches in China and would pull out of the country completely if necessary"

The altitudes and the results of Sanyi towards "National Security" and Google towards "Internet Censorship" are different from each other. Sanyi sued and the appeal court ruled CFIUS1 "must share all non-classified information on which it relied and give Ralls the opportunity to rebut arguments against the project". Google had an internal review on the situation and made the quitting decision by itself.

Some people might argue with me how I know that Google did not raise an lawsuit. Now that Chinese Judicial system is not transparent enough and it could even be non-disclosed. But at that time, an open letter2, 3 authored by many Chinese Netizens together including me was published suggesting the possibility of opening a dialogue or even filling a lawsuit by Google. And these Chinese Netizens would support any of such behaviors. We sent the letter to a Google Representative by the chance of a conversation between Google and some Chinese people. Unfortunately, she just said the decision had been made.

Sanyi and Google might be in different industry. But they were facing similar situations in these two cases. The government of the foreign country did not like them and took some actions. In Sanyi's case, the Obama administration's deny is clear and the entity is just there. In Google's case, although the hacking attack could be something different and difficult to be evidenced, but the censorship instructions were given by clear department still. I cannot see any legal technical problems preventing Google from similar legal action.

Futher, in my opinion, Sanyi is strengthening the US Constitution and Judicial system by challenging its foreign investment review process by position itself an underdog and fighting for the right of itself successfully. In contrast, Google is bureaucratic and is not willing to listen to its user's voice. It is why its market share in China falls under 0.3 percentage now4. For Google's achievement on search engine and other service, we cannot see Chinese people won. But on the other hand, did Google really win by exiting from China?

Some of Google's big fans could argue that its exit from China is more of business reason due to the drop of market share in the competition against etc. But Google itself would not admit it. And even so, Google must expect can be accessed freely all over the China even after its exit.

I can clearly state my own understanding in China here, it is a big win as long as an excellent company raises a legal case against unconstitutional government behavior. Not only for Google, but for any other company, but for Chinese people. Not only for black-box Internet Censorship, but also for fair market. And I can provide help to any such initiative. No matter if it is accepted by Judicial Court.

1: The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States
2: An open letter to Chinese Government and Google in Chinese
3: Chinese netizen Open Letter to the Chinese Government and Google
4: The course, impacts, and the future of Google's being blocked by China

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