Xinhua News Agency – Top Brands: How Much IBM Can Get Away with is the Responsibility of the Media

Source: Xinhua News Agency – Top Brands Author: Sun Xiaotian Date of Article: August 11th, 2011

On the sixth month of this year, the anger-fueled incident of the attempted suicide of former employee, Yuan Yipeng, left a momentary imprint in the minds of the people. However, like the resounding waves as his body struck the water’s surface, the white caps (at once evident and rippling), soon died down and became calm once more. The hundred-year old Blue Giant, who appeared seemingly undisturbed by the event, handed the case over to third-party lawyers and washed their hands of the subject.

Those who are familiar with the whole story and the circumstances surrounding it, although few, have divvied themselves into multiple camps. Of one part, they shared the feeling that IBM should offer a considerable amount as part of a monetary compensation package (although after IBM lost their court case) and this should be “generous” enough. In contrast, many domestic businesses, in this respect, have no authority to wag their fingers at IBM’s actions when they themselves have demonstrated such actions in the past. However, Yuan, and his family included, is overly “stubborn”, eager to see things through to the end until justice is achieved, and do not understand the concept of stopping before the “double or nothing”.

It is hard to not notice that those with the above opinion have probably been polluted with stories of similar incidences which ended with monetary settlements. They have forgotten – that which was considered more valuable than life itself in some long gone past – the most important thing. Is it really worth Yuan’s continuance of proving a point through his failed attempts, and his parents’ unrelenting protest for a nine-to-five at IBM? What they’re fighting for isn’t work – it’s dignity. In a citizen’s role, there is the indestructible dignity of the individual, and from the government’s perspective, there is the higher position of the dignity of the courts.

It is said that the noble only exploit their status of respect for two reasons: as a means to achieve their goals in their life, and as a decoration of honour in their death, and as such, many people’s dignities have become a pool of poker winnings which can be cashed in at any time for rewards of money or power. The Special Olympics’ motto of “You can do it, and I can too” could be changed by the general population into “You can do it, I can one-up that”. Therefore, some corporations adopt the “money as a trump card” philosophy as a way to settle outside of court. Agents tout this in their practice, parroting, “it’s only common sense to take the settlement.”

There is an old saying, “Man fears fame like swine fear growing”. IBM’s growing authority also allows its fame to be desecrated by the concoctions of smaller persons. Of all the rumours circulating around the company, one which left the deepest impression is that of the “International Big Mouth”, which was initially used to describe the scandal of the arrest of a Taiwan politician. Now, the reassignment of the term onto IBM seems oddly appropriate.

With an investment of money coupled with public relation experts, the global media simultaneously displayed IBM’s centennial celebration boasting of its many accomplishments and milestones, and further established the “International Big Mouth’s” influence. Turning back to the situation in China, everything is as “puppets on a puppets’ stage”: your actions mime the puppeteer’s, your words are of the ventriloquist’s tongue, and even the words you write are written with a guided hand.

If the terms “IBM” and “corporate social responsibility” are typed into a search engine, the results would show long articles about their charitable donations toward areas affected by natural disasters, executives planting trees, the volunteer work done by their employees…the content is not empty and not of few varieties. However, a company founded by a depression patient discriminating against one a century later – what possible reasoning attribute to this behaviour?

At this point, the reporter remembers another rumour involving IBM – “Information Blocking-Monitor”, this is the exact opposite of the previous rumour, whether or not this is a result of their copyright policies is unknown but their usage and knowledge of technology has certainly risen;their surveillance and ability to filter out unsatisfactory reports does leave one speechless.

As for what had happened on the day of IBM’s centennial with Yuan’s attempted suicide, although the newspaper reported little, the event sparked massive discussions across various online platforms, blogs and net-based media. One blog even posted a witness photograph of Yuan’s mother being forcefully removed in a van. But still, after a short number of days, related content to the subject lessened on search engines. The reporter tested the few results which remained, some of which were personal blogs, and found that a part of these came back with “404 errors” – therefore, the accuracy and efficiency of this “puppetting” in the movement of media makes it hard to not find awe-worthy.

Activist Li Dazhao’s famous quote, “Before the article comes the responsibility to shoulder righteousness” had become several generations of journalists’ career statement, and moreover, is the cornerstone of pride to those in the media establishment. Now, in a society which “news only exists to sell themselves, and the readers exist to sell off for commercial reasons” and in which this double transaction continues, the notion of the “righteous pen” become a triviality to be discarded or kept based on one’s fancy. Does those who chuckle as they count their bills after taking part in the “double transaction” understand that it is the past’s standard of honor which had won the media’s audience, and it is this audience which bought them their income: truth will always be the upholder of media’s right to existence. The path of journalism testifies, “It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.”

18th century English political theorist and philosopher Edmund Burke once said, “All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.” Of course, in a today where the integrity of legal representatives – or lack thereof – lessens on a daily basis; and melamine, clenbuterol et al. drove a national population to surrender hope for safe cuisine, the dismissal of a single depression patient does not seem to be an unforgivable act of atrocity on IBM’s part. After all, this is a company which has contributed to the betterment of society for many years. Nevertheless, “no matter how small, evil is never justified and good is never overlooked”. If from now onwards, the self-assumed good and honest in the media industry do nothing, it is unknown how many more “small deeds of evil” IBM can accomplish.


About Yuan Yi Peng (袁毅鹏)

An abandoned IBMer for his Depression
This entry was posted in Illegal Conduction on IBM Centennial and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Xinhua News Agency – Top Brands: How Much IBM Can Get Away with is the Responsibility of the Media

  1. Brian says:

    I would like to know why?, Not that this article is not well written, it just does not answer the question why he did it and IBM’s relationship to it..

    • IBM China has an unwritten rule of dismissing employees with depression even cured as my case. Being afraid of discrimination charges, they use all kinds of methods to push us to resign automatically. I said no to it nearly 5 years ago, then the story began…

      • Sergio says:

        That’s very bad. Having worked in IBM Brazil, I can see that sometimes the company can be a dog, but I have to defend it as well, as I saw it pay for an intern cancer treatment, eventough they had no obligation to do it.

  2. Brian says:

    Very sad, It’s unwritten rule anywhere I have been also.

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