Calm heads are necessary following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to America. Obama wants to block out cyber sabotage. Jinping thinks unruly behaviour on the Chinese internet amounts to the same thing. Behind the scenes, American and Chinese technology firms are slugging it out.
Add a touch of patriotism and a sprinkle of good old-fashioned cold war language, and we are getting closer to a recipe for conflict over the China internet nobody really wants.
Amnesty International Defends Chinese Internet Freedom
William Nee, researcher at Amnesty International specialising on the internet in China believes U.S. tech firms must dig in their heels and refuse to comply with Chinese censorship. He is not concerned so much with Chinese internet police gaining back door access to American servers. His concern is that complying with the China government’s take on digital culture could lead them down the path to complicity to oppression.
His believes, “US tech firms need to put people and principles before profit, and defend internet freedom”. It is an open question whether this will discourage cash-strapped U.S. firms from trading on the internet in China.
Could Presidents and Obama Find Common Ground?
The men come from two very different possessions. Barrack Obama is running down his presidency with dwindling support in Congress, and keen to leave a legacy of peace behind him. Xi Jinping is in a different situation. He regards the Chinese internet as a breeding ground for sedition if not properly managed.
Beijing does not want to upset Washington. That much is clear, however the water becomes muddier when it comes to how determined China is to drive a wedge between U.S. technology firms and their government. Washington is more concerned about cyber hacking emanating from the China internet.
The Long Term Effects on Incoming Chinese Investment
The two largest economies are not going to go war over this because that would hurt them both equally. They are also not going to declare sanctions because that would be even sillier. Cross-border business will continue to be risky, because that is the nature of the beast. Following a slight hiccup, I believe it will be business as usual, and to me that means coming to terms with the Chinese internet and all it embraces. It is, after all their country.