Sunday, June 12, 2005

Microsoft bans 'democracy' for China web users

Microsoft bans 'democracy' for China web users

And in the battle of dollars vs. values, it almost seems not worth noting who wins:

Microsoft's new Chinese internet portal has banned the words 'democracy' and 'freedom' from parts of its website in an apparent effort to avoid offending Beijing's political censors.

Users of the joint-venture portal, formally launched last month, have been blocked from using a range of potentially sensitive words to label personal websites they create using its free online blog service, MSN Spaces.

Attempts to input words in Chinese such as 'democracy' prompted an error message from the site: 'This item contains forbidden speech. Please delete the forbidden speech from this item.' Other phrases banned included the Chinese for 'demonstration', 'democratic movement' and 'Taiwan independence'...

"MSN abides by the laws and regulations of each country in which it operates," the joint venture said. The MSN Spaces code of conduct forbids the posting of content that "violates any local and national laws".

Just one more proof of China getting away with it on sheer size. Happy blogging at the Olympics, everyone!

The UK Telegraph has another good China story today, arguing that ultimately the lack of personal freedom will be China's undoing:

China is (to borrow the formulation they used when they swallowed Hong Kong) "One Country, Two Systems". On the one hand, there's the China the world gushes over - the economic powerhouse that makes just about everything in your house. On the other, there's the largely unreconstructed official China - a regime that, while no longer as zealously ideological as it once was, nevertheless clings to the old techniques beloved of paranoid totalitarianism: lie and bluster in public, arrest and torture in private.

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