Archive pour juin 2009

The curious case of Chinese Republic

Mercredi 3 juin 2009

I do not understand China. Of course, I would have to first go there to try to understand it, but I don’t understand how it can work the way it works based on the information I read about it. I happened to read this  article on Techcruch: Why China Isn’t “The Next Silicon Valley”. It gives a very comprehensible analysis of the current state of technological and commercial development in China, stating that the phases through which the US went gradually (« …the television and media studios build out of the 1950s, the greed of the 1980s, the dot com bubble, the build out of physical and IT infrastructure, current Web 2.0 and CleanTech innovation »), China is now going through at once. Which inevitably forces the Chinese, who are a very adaptable and inventive nation, to find ways of earning money within multiple constraints and develop models that work in that – for us – crazy world. « No one assumes anyone will buy a CD, so they just look for other ways to make money.  » They don’t have the luxury of insisting on the old ways, as big Western studios do. They don’t have the old ways. There every way is new.

But this is not what makes China incomprehensible for me. It is this (also thank to Techcrunch): China shuts down Twitter and Bing in lead up to Tiananmen anniversary. Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Bing are inaccessible as of yesterday. The government chooses to shut them down to avoid access to and spreading of information on politically sensitive matters.

These two notions, one of a wildly flourishing capitalism and the dictatorial communist structure of cutting off the information arteries, what makes China incomprehensible for me. You see, I am from the old paradigm. Roughly half of my life I spent in a communist country and the other half in highly developed democratic European countries. For me cutting off Web access and advanced economical development just do not go together. For me openness equals economical growth and closeness equals economical stagnation, brain drain and suffocation.

Once I had a chance to ask a Chinese colleague this question. She replied that she and the people she knew concentrated on economical development (and their personal one) and ignored the political context. They went about their business and let the government be what it is. I suppose this is the only way to survive – for now – this schizophrenia.