When I first heard the news, I twinged of guilt.
More than likely you heard that today Google threatened to pull out of China. Apparently someone in China compromised Google's system and targeted malware attacks on some gmail account holders–who just happened to be activists against the Chinese government. Obviously the main suspect, the Chinese government's heavy hand.
As the story unfolded, it brought memories of my own internet adventures in China.
For me, Beijing was no problem internet wise. I wasn't Googling or Baiduing (verbasizeation of the Chinese version of Google) "Tibet" or "free speech" and the country's anniversary celebration was still several weeks away. But at Grace Winery in Shanxi Province, I went to make my nightly call to my wife through Skype. Surprise. On the screen appeared the dreaded "you have been redirected" to no where message. I tired again. And again. Apparently The Government doesn't always care for the freedom Skype offers.
But heck, I just wanted to talk with my wife. Now I'm not a computer wiz. So it took me several hours to figure out how to get around the block. Too late to talk with my wife that night; so I looked at dozens of blogs reporting the same blocked Skype problem I had.
Late that night, the horns of dilemma gored me.
I started to post how I circumnavigated the Skype block. Then a bucket full of cold reality splashed me. Here I was in China trying to establish relationships with wineries. And these wineries were either totally or mostly owned by the Chinese government. Obviously, they could read everything I posted.
I caved. I didn't post. I could have helped lots of people. But I kept justifying, "if I posted, the government would know the trick and me."
Now a couple of months later, hearing the Google news I feel twinges of guilt. Google didn't cave. With its actions today, Google is more of a man than I.
Part of a sculpture in the Forbidden City, Bejing, China.