Authority Week

This was written by my dear Friend, Timothy Gutmann, way back in January when the Google v China ruckus began. I’ve only now had a blog/time to post this. Enjoy.

Authority Week

The Relevant Universe, Asia Asian Affairs Bureau, (Which Is Really More of a Credenza, It’s Late Qing Dynasty, Clean Lines, Stylish Yet Very Functional)

BEIJING AND SAN FRANCISCO. Rumors of Internet search giant Google’s departure from the Chinese market have sparked protest from Chinese netizens and innovation from China’s increasingly high-profile pro-government online community. Beijing based TangTech has announced plans to launch a search engine called Guoguo (国国), a “wholesome, patriotic alternative to certain Western brands” said Xi Rong, its developer.

State media have touted Guoguo’s search capabilities. In a country where censorship often hamstrings browser speed, Guoguo can nearly instantly search the nearly hundreds of government-approved websites. It is especially formatted to search four-character idioms, no matter how recently coined or followed by how many exclamation points. This seminal development aims at the future, but Ms. Xi conceived it as a response to personal difficulties.

“My son is a Qinghua graduate, but at 22 he has no marriage prospects, seeming only interested in wasting time with some foreign woman whom I’m convinced doesn’t have a home of her own” Ms. Xi related.

“So, I decided it was time to intervene myself as my parents did. Of course I didn’t want to spend exorbitantly for a matchmaker, so I turned to the Internet to find a suitable match. I wanted to find an educated, demure young woman of sound character and promising political connections. I typed in ‘man wants Party girl’ into a foreign search engine and it turned up nothing of any use!”

The Beijing manager found more trouble trying to find work for her son abroad in Japan or Korea “A search for ‘Pacific rim job’ proved completely fruitless. I knew we needed a search engine more sensitive to Chinese characteristics.”

Ms. Xi’s product is unique, but government and traditionalist frustration with the Internet seems plentiful. Wangwang (王网) has netted millions from the government for its of Facebook, FaceFile. While Chen Xuefei, a Shanghai-based blogger focusing on human rights and environmental protection, may disdain the social network’s politics, she cannot dispute its effectiveness.

“After I got home from the police station one afternoon, I saw the ‘politics’ section of my profile had been changed and there was no more pulldown menu. And why would I take tens of photos of my building from every possible angle? I mean, snapshots of my landlord and a bunch of telephone wires? That’s too pretentious, where did that come from?” Ms. Chen asks.

Despite its leadership in the field, half-formed, bug-ridden adaptations of expensive tech tools developed by tony liberals are not limited to the People’s Republic of China. SoftCell, a Saudi firm, has developed the Mackberry, a mobile device that allows web browsing only after a biometric software analyzes a drop-sized fluid sample for sufficient testosterone.

While Iran’s government has yet to sponsor major software of its own, countries from Venezuela to Vietnam envy its rapid response content blocking. Searches for “grassroots green”, “revolution en vert” and “green movement meet-up” prompted immediate content removal and police action. Although an anonymous off-the-record source within Iran’s security sector say he has been pleased, he does not take full credit.

Hackers eventually linked to the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee attempted to crash browsers making similar searches.

“I had no idea US Senator James Inhofe was so sensitive to our political situation” the source said.

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