|For a highly entertaining and accurate feel for the Chinese mindset, I suggest the Chung Kuo series of novels by David Wingrove.|
You'll have to go to EBay or similar to find them. Having worked for a Chinese/Taiwanese company for almost two decades, as well as having read several of the classic Chinese works (in English) and derivatives from them, such as "Thick Face, Black Heart," I can attest to the overall accuracy of Wingrove's vision. I watch for fine details and he gets them right, every time.
In brief - see the wiki for more info - these sf novels - 7, in all - portray a fictional (?) future in which the Chinese fought and won a war of global domination about 50 years hence, and then used their power to erase the real history of the world, replacing it with a version that has them invading Europe in what should have been the Dark Ages. Virtually everyone outside the ruling 7 families has no idea of any other history. Classis Western novels - Bronte, Rand, etc., - that portray a different picture are systematically rewritten.
Scientific progress is permitted, but only after being thoroughly vetted against the policy of strict conservatism aimed at preserving the semi-mythical Han paradise on Earth, the Middle Kingdom.
While there is plenty of intriguing drama, romance (including some of the most incredible erotic depictions I have ever read) and heroic action throughout Chung Kuo, the real story is the clash of philosophies. After 200 years of mostly peaceful and relatively prosperous world rule, despite the best efforts of the 7, information leaks out to contradict their version of history, especially via a secret document whose possession is a death sentence if caught, the "Aristotle File." And technology causes unforeseen changes in a culture where "change" is a bad word. And, corruption has slowly but surely crept into every aspect of what at first glance appears to be a minimalist benign Confucian totalitarianism.
I think that any objectivist would enjoy this and benefit from seeing how the Chinese cultural mindset works out in the concrete, in the minds and actions of the characters.
In relation to Google's departure from China, I conclude that the ruling party intends and has, so far, been relatively successful in creating a social/political/economic model strikingly similar to the world that Wingrove depicted in the early '90's. Like the NAZIs attempted and intended, once their rule was consolidated, or Orwell's portrayal in "1984," the Party intends to take an ever more sophisticated and thorough control over information in general, especially anything that does not fit their goals. The typical Chinese citizen will think that he is getting a full picture, for example painting Japan as ultimate evil, the Dahli Lama as a political threat, and Taiwan as a U.S. puppet that rightfully belongs to the Mainland. Any feed that denies the official truth will be carefully altered. Anyone who publically asserts a different view will disappear.
The only problem, long-term, is that such a process cannot be ultimately contained. Eventually, it will eat itself, just like the string of dynasties before it.
(Edited by Phil Osborn on 3/13, 2:51pm)