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Microsoft: assist China abusing human rights

Posted by Author on July 21, 2006

Amnesty.org– In December 2005 Microsoft cooperated with Chinese authorities to shut down the controversial blog of Zhao Jing (Michael Anti), a Beijing-based researcher for the New York Times,and an active critic of censorship in China.
The blog, which was hosted on servers located in the United States, was removed and was therefore censored not only in China but globally. Reacting to criticism, Microsoft claims to have implemented a new set of standards to ensure that they will only remove blogs when they receive formal legal notice from the Chinese government and that access will only be denied to users in China.

Microsoft’s search engine MSN China filters the results of searches for politically sensitive terms, displaying a message in Chinese which states ‘Certain content was removed from the results of this search’. Searches undertaken in June 2006 by AI produced this message for the words ‘Falun Gong’, ‘Tibet Independence’ and ‘June 4’ (the date of the Tiananmen Square massacre).

Furthermore, Microsoft has admitted that it responds to directions from the Chinese government by restricting users of MSN Spaces from using certain terms in their account name, space name, space sub-title or in photo captions. At the same time the company asserts that MSN Spaces do not filter blog content in any way. Amnesty International considers this claim to be at odds with the facts.

When Microsoft launched MSN Spaces in China in June 2005, attempts to create blogs with words including ‘democracy’, ‘human rights’ and ‘freedom of expression’ were blocked, producing the following error message (in Chinese): ‘You must enter a title for your space. The title must not contain prohibited language, such as profanity. Please type a different title.’ Tests by AI caried out in June 2006 demonstrated continued blocking of certain terms including ‘Tiananmen incident’ in the title of blogs.

As a result of such actions, Microsoft users in China are denied the ability to access the full range of information available internationally on human rights topics, including via websites and web pages of Amnesty International and other human rights organizations.

Take action!

Urge Microsoft to stop assisting human rights abuses – in China and around the world.

One Response to “Microsoft: assist China abusing human rights”

  1. LimiBlomy said

    I read some of the posts and I think it is a great site. I want you to respond well to my emotion politics I have a nice joke for you people! :) What kind of lettuce was served on the Titanic? Iceberg.

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