Off to Talk Google at CSR-Rule of Law Conference

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Apologies for the light posting. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. I’ll be in the U.S. for a few days attending the following conference:

2010 Symposium

Doing Business in Asia Without Selling Your Soul:
Corporate Social Responsibility and
Its Influence on the Rule of Law

Here’s a link to the info page, and here for the agenda.

Should be fun, although I will end up spending more time in transit than on the ground conferencing. Such is life.

I’ve already written several times now on the topic of Google and its travails with Beijing. In addition to everything I’ve posted on this blog, I wrote an inadvisably long rant on China/Divide in response to a protectionist Op/Ed posted on The Huffington Post (see below).

I’m planning on a couple of posts on the conference when I get back, but here are a few bullet points on Google as it relates to the conference topics:

  • Google dispute has been touted as a CSR case study. Because it is a special case that will not be replicated with other MNCs, its value as precedent is minimal.
  • Use of this dispute to push a protectionist agenda is inappropriate. This is not an anti-foreign investor stance by Beijing.
  • Rule of Law would be undermined more if Beijing caved to some of Google’s demands than by being firm on censorship rules. This opinion will probably make me unpopular with the human rights crowd, but so be it.

Everything else pretty much flows from those points, so I’ll leave it at that for now. Depending on various and sundry issues related to free time and Wi-Fi access, I may be lurking on Twitter (@chinahearsay) or posting here or China/Divide over the next few days. I should get back to a normal schedule on all fronts by next Tuesday.