May be this is the year. May be it was always going to take a giant like Google to unravel an empire like China. Or may be not. But one thing is clear: China will never be the same again.
We might never know exactly what the Chinese government did that incensed Google enough to reverse four years of colluding with Beijing's censorship. But we can be sure that Google's recent decision to stand up to Beijing's dictatorship has a set a new standard for corporate practice.
All these years, the conventional wisdom was that we must choose between human rights and China's emerging market, implying that we can't have both. But now Google's experience shows that doing business with China is not only bad for human rights, it's bad for business too.
This is only a symptom of the larger problem that the Chinese empire represents. China does not honor international law. It does not respect human rights. And now we know it's stealing intellectual property from corporations. It's time to disengage.