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January 6, 2006

Microsoft Censors China Blog

Microsoft is being criticized over its deciion to remove a blog fro it's MSN Spaces property written by a Chinese dissident at the request of the Chinese government.  Zhao Jing was known to post stories that questioned government policies.  Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's CEO was quoted at CES as saying the company has to abide by local law in doing business in foreign countries.  "We do here, we do in Europe; we also do in places like China. And anybody can choose not to do business in any country. We all have that option."

This decision echoes another decision by search giant Yahoo, who gave the Chinese government materials from online products that was used to convict journalist Shi Tao for divulging state secrets.  The "secret" in this case was an email from the Chinese government to officials warning them to look out for dissident activities on the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.  The sentence was 10 years in this case. There are reports of other similar results in China's aggressive regulation of speech.

There is probably a Chinese proverb somewhere that states it is better to squish a couple of dissidents than to depress stockholder value.

More on this from Techworld, CNN Money, and the International Herald Tribune.

January 6, 2006 | Permalink

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