US govt's sway on Google deserves global vigilance

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/29 18:28:40

Google is "committed to the US Military, not the Chinese Military," US President Donald Trump tweeted after meeting the internet giant's CEO Sundar Pichai on Wednesday. Trump also said they discussed various things that the firm can do for the US. 

Google has been criticized by the US military and some radical public opinion for opening an artificial intelligence research center in Beijing. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Google was "indirectly benefiting the Chinese military" by its operations in China.

This is another outstanding example of the US' crackdown on China in the high-tech field. Washington has intended to stifle Chinese high-tech companies by preventing its allies from using Huawei products, now it is seeking to dampen enthusiasm of American high-tech firms entering the Chinese market.

However, it's hard for the US' attempts to come true. Most of its European allies have given a cold shoulder to the US demands. The European Commission in its latest report ignored US calls to ban Huawei and suggested that EU countries make their own decisions. Now Washington wants Google and other American high-tech giants to stay away from China, which won't be realized easily, either.

Many US allies don't want to give up Huawei equipment, because the Chinese company is indeed the leader of 5G technology. Blocking Huawei means they would miss the opportunity to become the first group of countries with 5G networks, and will come at the cost of the quality and cost-effectiveness of their 5G building. The demands of the US directly conflict with interests of these countries.

Requiring US high-tech companies to withdraw from China means forcing them to abandon the Chinese market and resources. Take artificial intelligence research, China is the world's biggest data owner and user. The importance of data in the 21st Century is often compared to that of oil in the Industrial Age.

The blow dealt to the Chinese military by Google closing its artificial intelligence research center cannot be compared with the losses that Google itself will face. If Google cuts off ties with China's huge data base, there will be vital defects in its artificial intelligence research.

A mind-set is taking shape in the US, that all American companies had better leave China since their technologies might be taken away by the Chinese government. This is in fact a geopolitical impulse caused by arrogance and serious ignorance of market rules. If it translates into US national policy, American companies, rather than China, will be the biggest victims.

The US elites have underestimated the ability of China's independent innovation as well as the contributions that China-US exchanges could make to the vitality of US high-tech companies. China is taking new reform and opening-up measures to improve its business environment. It's an unstoppable trend that more technological development will occur in China. 

The Chinese market will become more open than its US counterpart and envision greater potential. The US' attempt to isolate China will only bring about huge uncertainties and result in self-isolation.

Under the pressure of American values, Google was forced to withdraw from China in 2010. Now the Trump administration demands the company quit its Chinese research programs, citing security excuses. China's position remains unchanged: We welcome Google and other US internet companies to conduct business in China in compliance with Chinese law. 

The US asks Google to do things for the US. With no evidence, Washington has been trumpeting that Huawei is manipulated by the Chinese government. Now it has clearly shown the world how it can wield influence over Google. Have American tech-giants helped the US government collect intelligence? It's precisely them, not Huawei, that deserve the world's vigilance.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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