Microsoft censors Chinese Blogger

By Derek Sooman on January 8, 2006, 4:43 AM
Microsoft has taken the decision to pull a well-known Chinese Blogger's site off the Internet. The Blog, which belonged to Chinese journalist Zhao Jing, was pulled from the MSN Spaces service at the end of last year. The company claims that it was complying with the country's law in doing so.

The Blog was taken down after Zhao Jing, under the pen name of Michael Anti, wrote about the firing of an editor of the Beijing News, which in turn sparked a strike by some 100 journalists at the paper.

The Blog did not explicitly endorse or support the actions of the journalists, but may have contained key words that the Chinese version of Microsoft's Blog tool is programmed to screen or flag.

Microsoft was then contacted by a government official about the Blog. Itís not clear whether the Chinese actually ordered Microsoft to take the Blog down, or if any threats were made, but nevertheless the Blog is gone. This incident highlights the problems western companies potentially face when dealing with the Chinese.




User Comments: 18

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MonkeyMan said:
Well, as communist China makes new laws for its country, most websites are being banned, such as this one. One conflict, or uncensored word, and it ceases to exist. China should support democracy, because it's better for civilization in itself. China censores way to many things regarding the internet, and their government controls, or has some access, to almost everything.
Mictlantecuhtli said:
This happens in other countries too.
exscind said:
Well China is a communist country, nothing surprising here. I'd say something else but there really isn't any point. I don't think China had to order Microsoft to take the blog down; Microsoft knows how many copies (50% occupied by pirated ones probably) of its software are in China, they're not going to refuse this "request" and potentially lose a good share in profit.
2old said:
It does raise an interesting philosophical question of what role private industry should take on ethical matters. (Of course, one could argue that this is not an ethical issue but a political one but the human rights abuses in China under the current political regime present a strong case otherwise.)$$$ > Human rights??
mtyson8 said:
This is really a big deal when dealing with the chinese?
xerowingsx5k said:
I think Microsoft is trying to avoid trouble with China because they already have another problem on their hands. I remember a news post here that says Microsoft may be fined up to 2 mil euros daily by the European Commission. Here's the link to the BBC News article on that: [url]http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4552214.stm[/url]
cyrax said:
This is yet another attack on free speech. I really can't blame Microsoft because who knows what would have happened to that blogger if they didn't pull him.
rahuls said:
I think Microsoft may have done it to save their outsourcing business line
luvhuffer said:
a Chinese man was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison after the government raided his home and shut down his porno site. YAHOO! did something similar last fall, snitching off another Chinese journalist by providing info on his e-mail to the government. They also used the excuse that they were only complying with local laws. I guess it's OK for MS to ignore EU laws when money is involved, but are ready to turn around and abet abuse of fundamental human rights. The whole thing stinks as far as I am concerned. What makes it even more troubling is the fact that Mr. Jing was a former researcher for the Washington Post, an is currently working in the Beijing bureau of The New York Times, as well as his position on the Chinese paper.
Mictlantecuhtli said:
[b]Originally posted by 2old:[/b][quote]$$$ > Human rights??[/quote]Of course, that's the way it has been for decades, probably for centuries.
asphix said:
The other important thing to remember here is that China is a huge emerging market. Microsoft wants to be on the ins with the govermnet over there since the government is the be-all end-all of whatever happens in that country.China has the largest population in the world. There are a lot of potential consumers there, thus making it a very attractive market. I think you see where I'm going with this.Just makes me appreciate even more that I live in a free country. We take these things for granted since we dont usually see a contrast such as this to base a comparison.
barfarf said:
I agree with asphix MS wants Chinas money. Still i think censoring on MS sites should not be allowed. If the MS server for the blog is on democratic soil then it shoudl be allowed to stay up. Its up to China on their end to block the website. Why should i have to lose reading the blog for one country (even if its really big)?
Phantasm66 said:
[b]Originally posted by asphix:[/b][quote]The other important thing to remember here is that China is a huge emerging market. Microsoft wants to be on the ins with the govermnet over there since the government is the be-all end-all of whatever happens in that country.[/quote]A very good point.
mentaljedi said:
[b]Originally posted by Mictlantecuhtli:[/b][quote][b]Originally posted by 2old:[/b][quote]$$$ > Human rights??[/quote]Of course, that's the way it has been for decades, probably for centuries.[/quote] But think a bout it, every country is like this. Its just that China is more open. You know that thing about phone buggin the american government has been doing? where's the privacy? Then people are bieng held in Guantamano Bay and haven't even been cahrge with anything! I'm owrried about mentioning 9/11 and not being looked at wrong (I'm muslim and i don't like alquaeda yet i get done in for what i had nothing to do with!) They're there becayuse Bush wants them there. Just face it, we'll never have true freedom. We just have to live with it. I mean, in the UK, there are so many CCTV cameras, don't you feel just a bit annoyed. You can be tracked doing everything! These may seem insignificant, but there are so many little thing they make into a huge big thing called invsion of privacy and hindering of the freedom of speech.
samstoned said:
Just shows you MS is scared of somebody the REDSshame on all of them
ACS said:
Unbelievable!!!
Malibu Stacey said:
mentaljedi don't question their P.A.T.R.I.O.T.ism or you might find yourself heading in the direction of Cuba too.
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