More Hazards on Blogging in China
Disturbing news coming out of China that Microsoft has shut down a blog in China because of its political reporting. The blog is run by Zhao Jing under the blog name An Ti. If you go to An Ti’s blog
now here is what it says: “The space is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.”
So what was the offense? As reported in the New York Times:
The blog was removed last week from a Microsoft service called MSN Spaces after the blog discussed the firing of the independent-minded editor of The Beijing News, which prompted 100 journalists at the paper to go on strike Dec. 29. It was an unusual show of solidarity for a Chinese news organization in an industry that has complied with tight restrictions on what can be published…. Mr. Zhao said in an interview Thursday that Microsoft chose to delete his blog on Dec. 30 with no warning. “I didn’t even say I supported the strike,” he said. “This action by Microsoft infringed upon my freedom of speech. They even deleted my blog and gave me no chance to back up my files without any warning.”
What is Microsoft doing collaborating with China to stifle fundamental free speech rights? A blogger is providing breaking news without commentary and he is shut down? Perhaps the Person of the Year Bill Gates should turn his attention to matters outside Africa and look to what his company is doing to aid and abet the infringement of basic civil liberties in China.
UPDATE: One of the comments provides a useful link
to a proposal from Reporters Without Borders to address the problem of Internet companies who aid and abet the infringement of free speech rights. The article gives numerous examples of Internet companies’ “ethical lapses” and offers a proposal for a legislative fix. Definitely worth a read.