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China Is Forcing Tech Companies to Choose Between Profits and Free Speech (onezero.medium.com)
105 points by jimmy2020 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 41 comments



Here is my github repository tracking who chose what path

https://github.com/caffeine-overload/bandinchina

The list of corporations who stood up to China is very short unfortunately


The article states that "We’ve grown used to Americans getting fired for social media posts that offend other Americans. Now it’s clear they can also be punished for posts that offend China.".

Seems like companies were forced to make and have made that choice long before the China issue.


Do you think what's going on inside US politics is the same in China? I mean, have you ever heard about Americans getting fired because of supporting protest? Or is there anything similar to the situation in Hong Kong?

Depends how you want to frame 'the same'. The way I interpreted the article it is postulating both as dismissal on the grounds of voicing an opinion that is deemed offensive to a constituency the organization wants to be in good standing with.

>>I mean, have you ever heard about Americans getting fired because of supporting protest?

Yes... If you support Libertarian or Conservative things


Instances? The only thing that comes to my mind is Brendon Eich at Mozilla. And even then, it wasn’t so much as being fired as being squeezed out of the CEO slot.

It's been >2 hours and we're still waiting for your examples and/or sources.

Sorry i have a job and can not sit on HN news all day...

As to examples, it is clear by your comments you do not want actual examples but rather just want to move the goal posts

Cancel Culture is very real, people are terminated from jobs all the time based on their personal posts on twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc, or other comments online that "offend" a certain segment of the population that is perpetually offended at everything and then pressure employers to fire those people.

Happens every day, across this nation


You really couldn't be bothered to come up with one single example?

Yikes.



Kevin was fired for promoting alt-right views on internal message boards at Google, and not for supporting a protest. He made several of his co-workers uncomfortable enough to report him to their managers, who gave him several warnings before rightfully terminating him as an employee.

Here's a more detailed write-up about Kevin Cernekee, what he stands for, and why no one wants to work with him (link below).

https://medium.com/@mikewacker/the-other-side-of-kevin-cerne...

edit: Thanks for the downvotes, too. I'm sorry you couldn't contribute more (read: anything) to this thread.


He was fired for his political position, which is, AFAIK, not a rare case in US companies.

In the link you provided it's clear he was hated and fired for political discussions in mailing lists.


By political discussions, you mean openly supporting (and fundraising at Google for) white pride organizations?

Well yes. Supporting political organisation is the form of political activity. He was bullied and fired for these actions only, I don't see any mentions that he was annoying people any way other than expressing his views. How is that different from penalising people for supporting violent protests?

> Supporting political organisation is the form of political activity.

White power may be a tenant of many different political factions, but it is not a political ideology in itself.

White power is a racist belief. That's it.

> He was bullied and fired for these actions only, I don't see any mentions that he was annoying people any way other than expressing his views.

I don't see any evidence that Kevin was bullied in any way.

Did you not read my last reply to you, before making this reply? Kevin was fund raising, using Google resources, for white supremacy groups.


>Kevin was fund raising, using Google resources, for white supremacy groups.

If he would fundraising, using Google resources, for LGBT groups, would he be fired?


One group stands for supremacy, while the other stands for equality.

Why are you are using a false equivalence to make a point?


Because both are just a political stances.

If it's okay for you to punish for one stance and not to punish for another then you are pro-censorship. So don't be surprised when companies start to censor people you like - you allowed them to do that.


> Because both are just a political stances.

White supremacy is a racist belief, not a political stance or faction.

Why are you using a false equivalence to make a point?


Are you now advocating punishing people for their beliefs?

Nope.

Sure, but it's still part of political process that is complicated and in some cases eliminating other views. But cannot compare it to the communist China and thank goodness there are no special camps in US to educate people until the regime thinks they are eligible to be free.

The obvious answer is: companies’ profit motive should not be allowed to impact people’s rights. They’re just not even remotely comparable.

Yes, and the choice is embarrassingly simple, especially for multi-million - or billion - companies.

"Short Term Profits and Long Term Death" vs Free Speech

How do you figure? Is it your impression that being ethical is generally good for corporations financially? You're much more optimistic about both the way the economy works and other people than i am. (I should note that I'm not a believer in the "corporations automatically behave soulless and corrupt" camp that's so popular; I just think that your comment's implication goes too far in the other direction)

You don't understand how things work in China. It has nothing to do with ethics. You give up free speech so you can make a few bucks in China. But in the long run they will only let their own companies thrive. Those the communist party can control. You will be eaten alive.

Oh sure, we've seen that pattern play out enough that I totally buy it. But "operating in China for some period of time" is still more profitable than "not operating there at all/leaving early for ethical reasons". The claim that kowtowing to their illiberal demands is short term gains and long term losses doesn't make any sense.

You're only addressing one side of the equation (i.e. the Chinese customers) and ignoring the other side (i.e. the non-Chinese customers). That's where the long-term death happens; if you alienate US customers in favor of Chinese customers (which is exactly what's happening right now), and then China shoves you out anyway in favor of Chinese businesses (which they inevitably will), then congrats, now you're worse off.

How do you know how things work in China? It's not about free speech. It's about boycotting the support of splitting a country. If a company says that American Civil War and Lincoln is evil and illegal. It's free speech. How American think about it?

Lol. South Park has made fun of America and Lincoln many times. They’re still making videos and broadcasting them on national TV in the US.

But a comparison to Winnie the Pooh is apparently something The Chinese premier can not handle.


> If a company says that American Civil War and Lincoln is evil and illegal. It's free speech. How American think about it?

Plenty of Americans would agree with that, hence the popularity in America of the banner of the losers of that conflict.


I don't think that's a good example. No one cares about Lincoln. Culture difference. You cannot offend America as a whole, but definitely many chances to offend groups of Americans. And the consequences would be similar to this. Offending other countries is free of speech to all Americans, because no one inside America would complain. All media care about is the complaint letters, phone calls to their call center and politicians.

'No one cares about Lincoln.' Really?!!

I beg to differ. He is considered the greatest president our country has ever had. He did everything he could to keep the country together during a very tenuous time. I do think that some people care about Lincoln.


China isn’t really that different. The people getting offended just have lots of power.

Great question!

The interesting thing is that President fought that war, in part, to fight for America’s highest value, freedom.

So, in point of fact, China is treading upon the one area that is offensive to us almost unanimously, our freedom, in this case, of speech.


How is China take away America's free speech? Yes, it is taking some money away, so what? You can still say whatever you want anyway. Why do people care about China anyway, China is not your mum. Just say what you want. Yes, you lose a few bucks. Also people shouldn't judge on others when they prefer bucks over a few statements. It is a free country anyway. Not a free-as-long-as-you-agree-with-me.

> If a company says that American Civil War and Lincoln is evil and illegal. It's free speech. How American think about it?

Well it's not like Americans have a long history of television, movies, music, and literature that are harshly critical and even outright mocking of past and current US presidents. Nobody ever depicts Donald Trump as an orange-skinned combover-wearing loon, or Michelle Obama as a health-fascist, or George W. Bush as a big-eared warmongering idiot. That would surely be unacceptable to any American!


right! It's not about free speech. It's about boycotting the support of splitting a country!!!

So what do you think of Gulag? A rehabilitation camp keeping the union united against the enemies of the state.

1 country, 2 systems.

It's more like boycotting dictatorship




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