Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Some items on Chinese Government Censoring the Internet

Given that I have an interest in Intellectual Freedom, I found this initial report from the Associated Press interesting. It reports how MSN has to cooperate with the Chinese government to implement censorship of blogs and websites. It turns out that the word "freedom" is a taboo word in China, along with "democracy" and "human rights." The article reports that putting up with the restrictions is a cost of doing business in China for companies like Microsoft. Microsoft still believes that it can foster expression within the restrictions. Time will only tell. In the meantime, readers interested in more, may want to look at another report in The Guardian on China's Internet Police that the government uses to spread its propaganda in chatrooms and public boards. The end of the article has some interesting links including a link to a Chinese government web portal (English version here), and to Amnesty International's report on state control of the internet in China. The BBC News is also reporting on Microsoft in China. Their piece features some sample comments from readers reacting to the story, some condemning the company, others seeing is as part of doing business. Personally, I would like to believe that in time the Chinese government will simply not be able to stop the freedom of expression as more and more people discover it. I absolutely disagree with the Chinese government's behavior. Sure, they can use filters and monitoring software and internet cops, but the numbers will likely favor the people, and it will be a matter of time. At least, I hope so.

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