On March 10 (2009) Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying “something will happen soon” with respect to their presence in China. China today warned that Google must operate within their laws.
—the U.S. Internet company “will have to bear the consequences” if it follows through on its pledge to stop censoring its Chinese search site. [WSJ article]
Why is it that we in the “West” hear this statement so differently from the Chinese?
—You are free to say anything you want (in China) as long as it’s legal. [Sky paraphrases what they’ve said]
To give you a benchmark, in China it is illegal to have a photo of the Dalai Lama because he is called a subversive (splittist). In Costa Rica it has been illegal to propose changing the constitution. In the US (and many other countries) it is legal to propose changing the constitution, but illegal to attempt to change it by force or violence. In other words, in some countries it’s illegal to even talk about certain kinds of change…and therefore real and full free speech is impossible. There’s always a limit—it’s just quite variable and we have to work to make or keep it reasonable.