Microsoft Shuts Down Chinese Blogger


A few months back, Microsoft made the decision that it would kowtow to the Chinese government’s request that it censor the use of specific words and phrases via their blogging tool MSN Spaces. Now the tech giant has gone yet one step further, shutting down the entire blog of a user of their web-hosting services, for touching on “politically sensitive issues.”

The blog, allegedly written by a research assistant employed by the Beijing bureau of The New York Times, dared to take up touchy issues like China’s relationship with Taiwan, and presumably employed such no-no phrases as “democracy”, “freedom” and “human rights”—and as a result, got the official smackdown from both the Chinese government and Microsoft.

Explaining why a company based in the US, with all its laws ensuring freedom of speech, would capitulate to communist influences, Microsoft spokeswoman Brooke Richardson told the AP, “When we operate in markets around the world, we have to ensure that our service complies with global laws as well as local laws and norms.”

Free speech advocates, unsurprisingly, aren’t taking any comfort in that explanation. But many businesses are coming to Microsoft’s defense, pointing out that this is just the way the game is played in the international marketplace. Funny how life so often breaks down along these lines when it comes to the almighty dollar… or should I say, yen?


  1. I seriously doubt that it’s all about the “yuan” (Yen is Japanese currency – not Chinese). MicroSoft has a responsibility to abide by laws in other countries, regardless of what we do here in America. We as Americans tend to think that we can simply jump in and that other countries/cultures will simply do as we do, but as you can see that’s not the way it works. Freedom comes sometimes through baby steps and not always revolution.

    Imagine what would happen if Microsoft refused, what purpose would that serve? It would only make some of the obvious Microsoft haters say, “Gee Microsoft is standing up to someone,” while the rest would find some other reason to insult and accuse the Redmond giant. Meanwhile, how would the Chinese government respond to this breaking of their laws and principles?


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