In theory, every country is entitled to set the rules by which business is governed within its borders. However, the insistence of the Chinese government that businesses agree to become co-conspirators in the repression of the Chinese people and the denial of free speech represents a serious test of that theory.
And that’s only one aspect of the challenge. Speaking in general terms, the rest of the world will eventually have to swallow China’s way of doing business, or China will be forced to conform to the standards set by the rest of the world. That’s true of everything from business law, currency manipulation and corruption to labor relations, product safety and global warming.
In short, China seeks all of the benefits of global commerce and investment with none of the obligations. It’s good to see companies and countries beginning to comprehend that fact, and to respond accordingly.
GoDaddy.com Inc., the world’s largest domain name registration company, told lawmakers Wednesday that it will cease registering Web sites in China in response to intrusive new government rules that require applicants to provide extensive personal data, including photographs of themselves.
The rules, the company believes, are an effort by China to increase monitoring and surveillance of Web site content and could put individuals who register their sites with the firm at risk. The company also believes the rules will have a “chilling effect” on new domain name registrations.
GoDaddy’s move follows Google’s announcement Monday that it will no longer censor search results on its site in China. Analysts and human rights advocates have warned that China’s insistence on censorship and control over information is becoming a serious barrier to trade.
“With all due respect, this has nothing to do with Google,” (Christine N. Jones, general counsel of the Go Daddy Group Inc.) said. She added that the company had been deliberating what it would do about its business in China before Google’s announcement.
Said Jones, “We decided we didn’t want to be agents of China.”