Status of Chinese People

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    1. A China More Just, Gao Zhisheng
    2.Officially Sanctioned Crime in China, He Qinglian
    Will the Boat Sink the Water? Chen Guidi, Wu Chuntao
    Losing the New China, Ethan Gutmann
    Nine Commentaries on The Communist Party, the Epochtimes
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    Reporters Without Borders said in it’s 2005 special report titled “Xinhua: the world’s biggest propaganda agency”, that “Xinhua remains the voice of the sole party”, “particularly during the SARS epidemic, Xinhua has for last few months been putting out news reports embarrassing to the government, but they are designed to fool the international community, since they are not published in Chinese.”
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Archive for the ‘Microsoft’ Category

Microsoft boss decries software piracy by China firms

Posted by Author on October 9, 2010

MADRID — Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer on Friday decried the use of pirated software by Chinese businesses.

“One of the things that has improved a lot around the world is business piracy, and yet when we look at China today business piracy is more extreme than consumer piracy,” he told a business forum in Madrid. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Business, China, Company, Microsoft, News, Software, Technology, World | Comments Off on Microsoft boss decries software piracy by China firms

China’s new secrets law to suppress free speech and may force Microsoft, Yahoo to follow Google out

Posted by Author on April 29, 2010

by Mike Elgan, IT World, Apr. 29, 2010-

The Chinese government today made sweeping changes to its state secrets law that directly affects Internet companies operating in the country. The amended law goes further to force these companies to help the Chinese Communist Party suppress free speech and censor the Internet.

The law requires that the transmission of “state secrets” over the Internet be stopped by these companies if they “discover” it. The companies are also required to keep records of such transmissions (e-mails, blog posts, text messages and so on) and report them to the Chinese government.

The law effectively requires all Internet companies operating in China — including Microsoft, Cisco, Yahoo and others — to serve as agents of the Government’s internal security apparatus.

What is or is not considered a “state secret” by the law is determined by Communist Party officials. For example, if Falun Gong supporters protest, and some blogger writes about it, that might be considered a “state secret,” and Microsoft would be required to report it.

American Internet companies who operate in China have come under some pressure after Google announced its departure from the country. Microsoft was especially vocal after the Google announcement that it would obey all Chinese laws.

What will companies do? My prediction: They’ll do nothing until their hands are forced by events. It’s a near certainty that information the Chinese government considers “state secrets” will be “transmitted” via Microsoft or Yahoo services, and via Cisco equipment. The American companies will no doubt try their best to not know what’s being communicated, but the Chinese government may actually force them to monitor communications somehow.

In the wake of Google’s brave stand against censorship, it will be interesting to see if a larger exodus of foreign companies isn’t forced by aggressive abuse of Internet companies by the Chinese government.

Read more about the amendments to China’s state secrets law.

– from the IT World

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Economy, Freedom of Information, Freedom of Speech, Google, Human Rights, Internet, Law, Microsoft, News, Opinion, Politics, Social, Speech, Technology, World, Yahoo | Comments Off on China’s new secrets law to suppress free speech and may force Microsoft, Yahoo to follow Google out

Microsoft workers in China: ‘We are like prisoners’

Posted by Author on April 14, 2010 –

A Chinese factory making Microsoft peripherals violates every single labor law in China, according to a new report from the National Labor Committee. KYE factory workers toil away 12 hours a day Monday through Friday and earn 43 cents an hour.

Dongguan, China – “We are like prisoners,” one worker at KYE Factory told the NLC, according to the report. “It seems like we live only to work. We do not work to live. We do not live a life, only work.”

That is one of the many statements casting a cloud over Microsoft’s labor practices. Microsoft has been outsourcing production to the KYE factory since at least 2003, the NLC found, and the factory often makes peripherals such as mice, keyboards and webcams.

Released yesterday, NLC’s report titled China’s Youth Meet Microsoft explains daily working conditions:

Twenty or thirty workers on a line must complete 2,000 Microsoft mice in 12 hours. The workers’ hands and fingers are constantly moving, many suffering abrasions and cuts, since the connectors must be inserted very closely together.

The report goes on to quote several workers, who offer an inside perspective on working at KYE in Dongguan City, Guangdong, China. One employee states: “We are ordered around and told what to do and what not to do. No one in management has ever asked us about anything. There is no discussion. You feel no respect.”

What about shifts? Fifteen-hour shifts are not uncommon, the report alleges, and staff are “prohibited from talking, listening to music or using the bathroom during working hours.”

The report, compiled with interviews and photographs from the past three years, found that the majority of KYE’s 2,000 workers were between 16 and 18 years old……. (more details from

Posted in Business, China, Company, Economy, employment, Guangdong, Human Rights, Law, Life, Microsoft, News, People, SE China, Slave labour, Social, sweatshop, USA, Worker, World, Youth | Comments Off on Microsoft workers in China: ‘We are like prisoners’

U.S. Congress slams China and Microsoft, praises Google

Posted by Author on March 24, 2010

By David Goldman, CNN, Mar. 24, 2010-

NEW YORK ( — Two days after Google stopped censoring search results in China, a congressional panel praised the company’s actions while excoriating the Beijing government for its record on Internet censorship and human rights.

At a hearing held by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China on Wednesday, lawmakers called on China to allow a free flow of ideas on the Internet and sharply criticized Microsoft for continuing to act complicity with China’s censorship laws.

“China wants to participate in the marketplace of goods but keep the marketplace of ideas outside their country,” said Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., “Only when China respects human rights and allows the free flow of ideas … only then will they be treated as a full member of the international community.”

While lawmakers scolded China, they roundly applauded Google for shutting down its search operations in China.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., called Google’s decision “a remarkable, historic and welcomed action.” He also praised Internet domain host site for leaving China.

At the same time, he lit a fire under Google’s search rival Microsoft (MSFT, Fortune 500) for continuing to censor results in China and not following Google’s (GOOG, Fortune 500) lead.

“They [Microsoft] need to get on the right side of human rights rather than enabling tyranny, which they’re doing right now,” Smith said.

Microsoft could not immediately be reached for a response.

Smith said he supported the Global Online Freedom Act, which would require tech companies doing business in China to disclose what they’re censoring. He called on China to do “more than passing lip service” to Google and pass the act.

Google agreed that the United States needed to take action as well. At the hearing, Google’s director of public policy, Alan Davidson said governments should do more to protect Internet freedom around the world.

“Internet censorship is a growing global problem,” Davidson said. “It not only raises important human rights concerns, but also creates significant barriers for U.S. companies doing business abroad.”

But Google did not completely avoid criticism from lawmakers. When asked specifically what Google was censoring in China, Davidson said he could not reveal that information, because it is a Chinese state secret.

“I admire the decision … but aren’t you able to talk about it outside of China?” asked Dorgan.

Davidson declined, to Dorgan’s displeasure. Davidson said the legality of the issue represented one of the reasons why the company shut down its search service in the company because it puts Google “in a terribly difficult position.”…… (more details from CNN)

Posted in Business, censorship, China, Company, Freedom of Information, Google, Human Rights, Internet, Microsoft, News, Politics, search engine, Social, Technology, Trade, USA, website, World | 1 Comment »

Microsoft’s Search Engine Filters Out Sensitive Results for Chinese Searches

Posted by Author on June 25, 2009

Owen Fletcher, IDG News Service, Via PCWorld, Thursday, June 25, 2009 –

Microsoft’s Bing search engine filters out some sensitive results from searches made in simplified Chinese, the script used to write the language in China, searches revealed Thursday.

The filtering appeared to occur for searches done both in and outside of China. A search for “Tiananmen” returned images of tanks rolling into Beijing’s central square in 1989 to crush pro-democracy protests if the search was written in English or in traditional Chinese characters, which are used in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

But those images did not appear for the same search done in simplified Chinese. Stately photos of the Tiananmen gate leading to Beijing’s old imperial city instead filled the page.

Search results appeared to be missing for other politically charged words in simplified Chinese as well. Searching for “Falun Dafa,” a name for the Falun Gong spiritual movement banned as a cult in China, turned up the movement’s Web page if performed in English or traditional Chinese, but not when done in simplified Chinese.

Like Google’s local search engine, Bing also appeared to filter out some sensitive results in any language when used from an IP (Internet Protocol) address in China. The Falun Gong Web site could not be found using traditional characters in China.

China has stepped up efforts to control content on foreign Web sites in recent weeks. Bing, Twitter, Flickr and other sites were blocked for the June 4 anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown in an apparent attempt to prevent public commemoration or other disturbances.

China appeared to block Google’s English search engine and other Google sites for over an hour Wednesday night, following state media criticism of the company last week for serving pornographic search results.

The Internet is heavily patrolled in China by police and by domain owners who fear punishment if they allow discussion of sensitive issues to appear on their Web sites. YouTube and some foreign news sites are blocked in China, and others including Wikipedia have been blocked before.

Microsoft did not immediately reply to a request for comment.


Posted in censorship, China, Company, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Law, Microsoft, News, Politics, USA, World | Comments Off on Microsoft’s Search Engine Filters Out Sensitive Results for Chinese Searches

Report: Prison-like High-Tech Sweatshop in China Producing for HP, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft and IBM

Posted by Author on February 19, 2009

NEW YORK, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, Charles Kernaghan and the National Labor Committee (NLC) are releasing a 60-page report, High Tech Misery in China, documenting the grueling hours, low wages and draconian disciplinary measures at the Meitai factory in southern China. The 2,000 mostly-young women workers produce keyboards and other equipment for Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft and IBM. Along with worker interviews, photographs of primitive factory and dorm conditions and extensive internal company documents were smuggled out of the factory.

Full report:

  • Workers sit on hard wooden stools as 500 computer keyboards an hour move down the assembly line, 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with just two days off a month. The workers have 1.1 seconds to snap on each key, an operation repeated 3,250 times an hour, 35,750 a day, 250,250 a week and over one million times a month. The pace is relentless.
  • Workers are paid 1/50th of a cent for each operation they complete.
  • Workers cannot talk, listen to music or even lift their heads to look around. They must “periodically trim their nails,” or be fined.
  • Workers needing to use the bathroom must learn to hold it until there is a break. Security guards spy on the workers, who are prohibited from putting their hands in their pockets and are searched when they leave the factory.
  • All overtime is mandatory and workers are at the factory up to 87 hours a week, while earning a take-home wage of just 41 cents an hour. Workers are being cheated of up to 19 percent of the wages due them.
  • Ten to twelve workers share each overcrowded dorm room, sleeping on metal bunk beds and draping old sheets over their cubicles for privacy. Workers bathe using small plastic buckets and must walk down several flights of stairs to fetch hot water.
  • Workers are locked in the factory compound four days a week and prohibited from even taking a walk.
  • For breakfast the workers receive a thin rice gruel. On Fridays they receive a small chicken leg and foot to symbolize “their improving life.”
  • Workers are instructed to “love the company like your home”…”continuously striving for perfection” …and to spy on and “actively monitor each other.”
  • China provides large subsidies to its exporters. In 2008, the U.S. trade deficit with China in advanced technology products is expected to reach $74 billion. There are 1.4 million electronic assembly jobs left in the U.S. — paying $12.72 to $14.41 an hour — which may be lost due to China’s low wages and repression of worker rights.
Young women cue up in the factory cafeteria

Young women cue up in the factory cafeteria

One Metai worker summed up the general feeling in the factory: “I feel like I am serving a prison sentence…The factory is forever pressing down on our heads and will not tolerate even the tiniest mistake. When working, we work continuously. When we eat, we have to eat with lightning speed… The security guards are like policemen watching over prisoners. We’re really livestock and shouldn’t be called workers.”

Charles Kernaghan, director of the NLC commented, “God help us if the labor-management relations being developed in China become the new low standard for the rest of the world. The $200 personal computer and $22.99 keyboard may seem like a great bargain. But they come at a terrible cost. The low wages and lack of worker rights protections in China are leading the race to the bottom in the global sweatshop economy, where there are no winners.”


Posted in Business, China, Company, Economy, employment, Human Rights, Law, Life, Made in China, Microsoft, News, People, products, Slave labour, Social, Technology, USA, Women, Worker, World | 6 Comments »

Microsoft’s Anti-piracy tool angers China Internet users

Posted by Author on October 25, 2008

Tania Branigan in Beijing, The Guardian,Thursday October 23 2008-

Chinese internet users have reacted with fury after Microsoft launched an anti-piracy tool to combat the widespread sale of fake software. People have flooded blogs and bulletin boards to complain it violates their right to privacy – with one lawyer even reporting the firm to security officials for “hacking”.

Microsoft dominates the Chinese market, and even the president, Hu Jintao, has said he uses its products. But with software piracy estimated at more than 90%, the firm’s profits fail to reflect its popularity.

The new version of its “Windows Genuine Advantage” program turns the background black every hour if the installed software fails a validation test.

But the software giant’s attempt to protect its intellectual property sparked angry denunciations. ” The computer is mine!” one angry blogger wrote on the web portal “Microsoft has no right to control my hardware without my agreement.”

Dong Zhengwei, 35, a Beijing lawyer, has complained to the public security ministry, describing the software giant as the “biggest hacker in China, with its intrusion into users’ computer systems without their agreement or any judicial authority”. He told the official China Daily newspaper he believed the measure breached China’s criminal law.

The China Software Industry Association said it also planned to take action against Microsoft.

Critics said Microsoft was putting their information at risk by accessing their computers. But the software giant argues that counterfeit programs pose a far greater risk to information security.

The Guardian

Posted in China, Company, Computer, Internet, Internet User, Law, Microsoft, News, People, Software, Technology, USA, World | 1 Comment »

(photos) Carrefour Completely Blocked by China Internet Search Engines

Posted by Author on April 30, 2008

Pictures from The Epochtimes, Apr. 30-

The Chinese name of Carrefour, “家乐福” is completely blocked by Chinese Internet search engines, including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft’s Chinese version search engine.

Here’s the captured screens of search results by using key word “家乐福”:

Carrefour Blocked by China Internet Search Engins(1)

Above: Carrefour Blocked by China’s NO. 1  Internet Search Engins(1), Baidu.

Carrefour Blocked by China Internet Search Engins(2)

Above: Carrefour Blocked by Google, Yahoo and other Chinese search engines.

Carrefour Blocked by China Internet Search Engins(3)

Carrefour Blocked by China Internet Search Engins(4)

Above: Carrefour Blocked by Microsoft.

Posted in censorship, China, Company, Google, Human Rights, Internet, Microsoft, News, Photo, Politics, search engine, Speech, website, World, Yahoo | 1 Comment »

Yahoo isn’t the only U.S. company helping China’s Internet cops

Posted by Author on November 20, 2007

By Peter Navarro, Special to the Los Angeles Times, Via The Seattle Times, U.S, Monday, November 19, 2007-

Which company has committed the greater evil? Yahoo Inc. helped send a reporter to prison by revealing his identity to the Chinese government. Cisco Systems Inc. helps send thousands of Chinese dissidents to prison by selling sophisticated Internet-surveillance technology to China.

If bad press is to be the judge, the “stool pigeon” Yahoo is clearly the bigger villain. In 2004, after the Chinese government ordered the country’s media not to report on the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, journalist Shi Tao used his Yahoo e-mail account to forward a government memo to a pro-democracy group. When China’s Internet police — a force of 30,000 — uncovered this, it pressured Yahoo to reveal Shi’s identity.

Yahoo caved quicker than you can say Vichy France, and Shi is doing 10 years in a Chinese slammer for one click of his subversive mouse.

For ratting out Shi, Yahoo Chief Executive Jerry Yang has been dragged before Congress, called a “moral pygmy ” and forced to issue an apology. In contrast, Cisco and Chief Executive John Chambers have received little public scrutiny for providing China’s cadres of Comrade Orwells with the Internet-surveillance technology they need to cleanse the Net of impure democratic thoughts.

Cisco is hardly alone in helping China keep the jackboot to the neck of its people. Skype, an eBay Inc. subsidiary, helps the Chinese government monitor and censor text messaging. Microsoft Corp. likewise is a willing conscript in China’s Internet-policing army, as Bill Gates’ minions regularly cleanse the Chinese blogosphere.

Google Inc.’s brainiacs, meanwhile, have built a special Chinese version of their powerful search engine to filter out things as diverse as the BBC, freeing Tibet and that four-letter word in China — democracy.

Business executives have justified their actions with a “when in China, do as the Chinese do” defense. To do business in China, these executives insist, they must comply with local laws. But China’s local laws often force executives to make moral and ethical choices that would be intolerable in the West.

The broader problem is that American business executives have little training in how to deal with ethics in a corrupt and totalitarian global-business environment — blame U.S. business schools for that. As a result, moral horizons tend to be short, and executives who find themselves in the heat of a battle don’t know where to draw the line, which is what happened to Yahoo.

Some executives also trot out the “constructive engagement” defense. This too-clever-by-half idea is that companies such as Yahoo, Microsoft, Skype and Cisco are actually pro-democracy elements because they are helping build China’s Internet. Even though these companies collaborate through self-censorship and assist with Internet surveillance, the greater effect is to build free speech — or so the argument goes.

What’s missing from the American corporate perspective is this bigger picture: The collaborative tools that U.S. corporations provide to spy on, and silence, the Chinese people are far more likely to help prop up a totalitarian regime than topple it.

With American corporate help, China remains the world’s biggest prison. As reported by the Laogai Research Foundation, millions of dissidents languish in Chinese-style gulags known as laogai, and thanks in part to U.S. corporations, their numbers are growing.

In addition, human-rights abuses are both systematic and endemic in China. From Catholics and Muslims to the Falun Gong, from pro-democracy voices and investigative journalists to the Free Tibet movement, the penalty for being caught for banned religious or political expression is arrest, beatings and sometimes death.

For all these reasons, it ultimately is shortsighted to single out Yahoo for the kind of behavior now common to many big U.S. companies operating in China. That’s why we need to have a much bigger discussion about how to engage economically and politically with China. It’s also why the proposed Global Online Freedom Act, which would make it unlawful for U.S. companies to filter Internet search results or turn over user information, should not be viewed as a magic bullet but rather as the start of that debate.

Peter Navarro is a business professor at the University of California, Irvine, and the author of “Coming China Wars.”

Report from The Seattle Times

Posted in censorship, China, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Journalist, Law, Microsoft, News, Opinion, People, Politics, Report, Social, Technology, USA, World, Yahoo | 1 Comment »

China: Microsoft, Yahoo Sign “self-discipline” Pact to Censor Blog

Posted by Author on August 24, 2007

Reporters Without Borders, 23 August 2007-

Reporters Without Borders condemns the “self-discipline pact” signed by at least 20 leading blog service providers in China including! and

Unveiled yesterday by the Internet Society of China (ISC), an offshoot of the information industry ministry, the pact stops short the previous project of making it obligatory for bloggers to register, but it can be used to force service providers to censor content and identify bloggers.

“The Chinese government has yet again forced Internet sector companies to cooperate on sensitive issues – in this case, blogger registration and blog content,” the press freedom organisation said. “As they already did with website hosting services, the authorities have given themselves the means to identify those posting ‘subversive’ content by imposing a self-discipline pact.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “This decision will have grave consequences for the Chinese blogosphere and marks the end of anonymous blogging. A new wave of censorship and repression seems imminent, above all in the run-up to the Communist Party of China’s next congress.”

Under the new pact, blog service providers are “encouraged” to register users under their real names and contact information before letting them post blogs.

More seriously, they will be required to keep this information, which will allow the authorities to identify them. These companies have already in the past provided the police with information about their clients, resulting in arrests.

The pact says “blog providers should monitor and manage comments … and delete illegal and bad information in a timely manner.” Articles 11 and 12 urge them to equip themselves with a secure management system that allows them to keep bloggers’ details, including their real name, address, contact number and email address.

ISC secretary-general Huang Chengqing was clear yesterday when he said: “Blog service providers who allow the use of pseudonyms may be more attractive to bloggers, but they will be punished by the government if they fail to screen illegal information.”

The companies are also urged to adopt “sincere self-discipline and, of their own initiative, to protect the interests of the State and Party.”

These are some of the blog service providers who have agreed to sign the pact –, Renmin Wang, Xinlang, Sohu, Wangyi, Tom, Qianlong Wang, Hexun Wang, Boke Tianxia, Tianji Wang,, Huasheng Zaixian, Bolianshe and Tengxun.

– Original report from Reporters Without Borders : Government gets blog service providers to sign “self-discipline” pact to end anonymous blogging

Posted in Blog, Blogger, Business, censorship, China, Company, Economy, Freedom of Speech, Human Rights, Internet, Law, Microsoft, News, People, Politics, Social, USA, World, Yahoo | 2 Comments »

Microsoft Research in China Gathering Internet User Info. Cause Concern

Posted by Author on June 3, 2007

Reporters Without Borders, 1 June 2007-

Reporters Without Borders is worried about a report in the British magazine The New Scientist that a Microsoft laboratory based in China is carrying out research on software that can analyse the behaviour of Internet users with precision and draw up a profile of them (their age, sex, geographic origin and so on). The US software corporation’s aim is get to know its users better in order to deliver targeted advertising.

“The technologies Microsoft is working on would allow it to gather information about Internet users without their knowledge,” the press freedom organisation said. “These technologies could eventually lead to the creation of programmes that could identify ‘subversive’ citizens. This is obviously not Microsoft’s intention. But we believe it is unacceptable to carry out this kind of sensitive research in a country such as China where 50 people are currently in prison because of what they posted online.”

Reporters Without Borders added: “US Internet giants such as Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft gather fantastic amounts of information about their users. This is already a thorny issue in democratic countries. This kind of data accumulation obviously poses even more ethical problems in a country such as China which has absolutely no respect for the private lives of Internet users. We must be sure that the technologies developed by these companies do not enable repressive regimes to keep their population under more effective surveillance.”

The New Scientist reports in its 16 May issue that Microsoft is working on software capable of guessing the Internet user’s age, sex and even geographic origin by analysing their surfing habits. It would enable verification and clarification of the information voluntarily provided by Internet users when registering for online services. The magazine bases its report on a study entitled “Demographic prediction based on users’s browsing behaviour” published by researchers working for a Microsoft laboratory in Beijing. The study says the information would be acquired by analysing the browser cache (stored browsing history) and cookies (small spy applications) on the Internet user’s computer.

In China, it is conceivable that this type of technology would be used to spot Internet users who regularly access such “subversive” content as news and information websites critical of the regime. The authorities would then be able to identify the “sensitive” Internet population and locate them individually by means of their computer IP addresses (the identifying number that every computer gives when connected to the Internet).

This Microsoft study comes amid efforts by the Chinese authorities to combat online anonymity. The Internet Society of China, an offshoot of the ministry for the information industry, posted a draft law on 22 May asking blog services to encourage users to register under their own names and exercise “self-discipline.” When President Hu Jintao and the Communist Party political bureau met on 23 April to discuss how to improve control over the Internet, they said they wanted to “purify” it. The data stored by Internet companies is a source of concern in many countries. A European consultative body, for example, wrote to Google in mid-May criticising its confidential data protection policies. The US company had nonetheless announced that data would be rendered anonymous – meaning the IP addresses would be erased – after being held for 24 months. Its rivals, Yahoo! and Microsoft, have not even established this limitation.

– original report from Reporters Without Borders: Concern about Microsoft research in China into “profiling” Internet users

Posted in Beijing, China, Company, Human Rights, Internet, Internet User, Law, Life, Microsoft, News, People, Social, Technology, World | Comments Off on Microsoft Research in China Gathering Internet User Info. Cause Concern

China 2006 Year In Review

Posted by Author on January 1, 2007

By John Kusumi, China Support Network

From a China Support Network perspective, what happened this year? 2006 was “Tuidang, Year 2.”

Tuidang refers to a campaign, ever more insistent, urging all Chinese to quit from the Chinese Communist Party and related organs; and more broadly, for China on the whole to leave behind the CCP. In 2005, “Tuidang, Year 1,” 7 million people quit the Communist Party. In 2006, 10 million people quit the CCP, for a total of 17 million resignation statements — all posted at the Tuidang web site.

The tires have been slashed on China’s Communist Party, and it is increasingly unpopular. Those ten million resignations represent excellent news and “the air going out of the tires.” Yet, a few more events happened this year, allowing us to claim 10 million and change. The type of change that we would really like to see is China’s transition to a democratic, post-communist regime; throughout this year, however, the CCP regime remained stubbornly in place, continuing its Maoist ways of persecution, crimes against humanity, corruption, and propaganda.

In the United States, bought off politicians continued to be bought off; and sold out news media spin doctors continued to be sold out.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper became “half a hero” with his reporting about Organ Tourism; only half a hero, because he managed to render that report and not breathe one word about Falun Gong persecution. He went half way towards breaking our story. (One and a half cheers for Anderson Cooper!) The number of confirmed deaths in the Falun Gong persecution now stands at 2,989, soon to surpass CSN’s estimate of 3,001 dead in the Tiananmen crackdown.

The confirmed deaths will be smaller than the number of actual deaths, due to the difficulty of getting reports from within a tyranny that likes to hide its crimes and corruption — and which holds the levers of state media inside China.

Our big story which broke this year (yet, not on U.S. national TV) dates back to March 9, 2006. That is when the Epoch Times first article appeared, with word of a concentration camp at a medical facility in the Sujiatun district of Shenyang City, Liaoning Province, China. The concentration camp was said to hold Falun Gong practitioners, who were kept as a living organ bank for profitable transplant surgery, which would be performed at the medical facility. Call it organ theft. Call it people farming. Call it organ harvesting. And, call it a genocidal crime against humanity. This practice means that transplants are clearly involuntary, coming from prisoners of conscience who should never be imprisoned in the first place. Falun Gong practitioners do not raise their hands and volunteer to be executed — we should remember that this is genocidal persecution in the first place. The transplants may occur from people who are still alive as their organs are removed; after surgery, bodies are cremated to remove the evidence.

This means that when CNN’s Anderson Cooper, as noted above, reported about Organ Tourism without the matter of Falun Gong practitioners, he didn’t report the darker, sinister, more ugly, sickening “other side of the coin.”

On March 9, the same day I first heard about it, I blogged: “Even though this news is huge and as large as it gets (China vaults into a class with Nazi Germany, and there may be Olympic boycotts if not loss of the Olympics all together), I anticipate the story will grow larger in the sense of a news story. The rising clatter must rise still further, and consequences may ensue for China’s relations with the rest of the world. Suffice it to say, it’s big.” Now, over nine months later, I continue to stand by my initial assessment.

In addition to the allegations about Sujiatun, more word came about organ harvesting as a widespread practice, undertaken at many other facilities.

The news of this medical abuse and flagrant human rights abuse is what drove Wenyi Wang to become the loud protester, from the press gallery, on the South Lawn of the White House — in the April 20 welcoming ceremony for PRC President Hu Jintao. Hers was “the shout heard round the world,” a high profile occasion due to the world stage and presence of international media. In addition to being an Epoch Times reporter, Wenyi was already familiar to me as a vigorous rights campaigner, and organizer of prior activism. What I did not know on April 19 was her background as a medical doctor. That background added credibility and gravity to her charges about the regime’s practice, and with the newfound attention, Wenyi became a widely traveled, and much interviewed, speaker in behalf of the cause. While U.S. national TV did very little about following up (I saw CNN’s Wolf Blitzer seem to scold her like a headmaster), Wenyi was able to make a tour of various ADIs (U.S. cities), and thereby reach a very wide audience through affiliate and local media. (Heck, I’ve spent about 25 years “going around” the nationals of the news media. I know how it’s done, and I sympathize with Wenyi Wang.)

Getting the word out is within the scope of the mission at the China Support Network. This year, Wenyi Wang was not the only one doing the “end around” of U.S. national TV.

I am naming David Kilgour and David Matas to be the China Suport Network’s “Men of the Year.” Why so? Kilgour and Matas stepped up to the plate, independently investigated, and released their “Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China.” Their findings served as independent confirmation: the allegations are true. They conclude “that there has been and continues today to be large-scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners.”

David Kilgour is a former Member of Parliament in Canada, and was Secretary of State for the Asia Pacific region. David Matas is an international human rights attorney. With their political and legal backgrounds, they would know better than to be casual or inexact with public statements. While they knew the stakes in international relations, and while they knew the enormity of the charges against Communist China, they nonetheless undertook to inform the world of their findings. Their tour, to 26 countries, was another way to “end around” the ersatz journalists of U.S. national TV.

They get to be Men of the Year here — first for taking on the case; second for integrity and courage in standing by their findings; and third for raising awareness, breaking an information blockade, and putting to shame U.S. national TV.

Can we gauge the results of their media efforts? Yes, by asking, “How is their clip sheet doing?” From May 9 to December 20 of this year, their web site shows 194 clips in the English language. 129 news outlets were represented, of which 31 ran more than one article. That means that the story has caught the attention to be “followed,” and actively followed up, at 31 outlets. The Epoch Times is clearly the most active, and we can say that it is the newspaper of record in the China-rights community. The other 30 outlets are–

Australian Broadcasting Corporation (8), The Calgary Herald (6), The Globe and Mail (4), National Post (4), Ottawa Citizen (4), Sydney Morning Herald (4), CBC News (3), China Post (3), NZ Scoop (3), St. Louis Post-Dispatch (3), The Christian Science Monitor (3), The Ottawa Citizen (3), The Toronto Sun (3), Abbotsford News (2), AFP (2), Asia News (2), Canadian Christianity (2), Chronicle Herald (2), CounterPunch (2), Cowichan Valley News Leader (2), CTV (2), Free Market News (2), Langley Times (2), South China Morning Post (2), Taipei Times (2), The Halifax Daily News (2), The Leader-Post (2), The Vancouver Sun (2), Times Colonist (2), Victoria News (2).

The single-mention outlets are a wide variety, including the Times of India, Japan’s Yomiuri Shimbun, the Chicago Tribune, the Irish Medical Times, the Guardian, and the Washington Times.

Who is missing from this list? United States opinion leaders are missing — the Associated Press, UPI, New York Times, and Washington Post. ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and CNN. There is no sign of these news outlets in the list. Should we write them off as anti-Falun Gong media? Or as closer to Jiang Zemin than to freedom and democracy? Well, suffice it to say that REAL journalists know about our story, and that ersatz journalists continue to live in denial. I truly thank David Kilgour and David Matas, as well as Wenyi Wang, for their work in 2006 to “end around” the minority of journalists who are sticks in the mud. Everyone else knows about China’s crimes against humanity; the last to know will be Brian Williams (NBC News anchorman) and Jacques Rogge (IOC President, who cannot be happy as this story tarnishes the Olympics).

The year includes its share of outrages — sentences meted out to rights lawyers and campaigners by China’s [in]”justice” system.

Notably, lawyer Gao Zhisheng was arrested on August 15 and released on December 22. He has the relative leniency of house arrest, because Beijing has begun its pre-Olympics charm offensive. There will continue to be efforts to rescue him in 2007, and some chance that Gao will exit from China and reach exile.

To well review 2006, it is important to note that EU / European Parliament Vice President, Edward Scott-McMillan, also stepped up this year and made a fact-finding trip into China. He is alarmed by the human rights conditions of China, and he is joining a chorus of voices against the Beijing Olympics, slated to be held there in 2008. It used to be that U.S. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) seemed to be alone as a politician who also campaigned in our cause. This year, she is joined by David Kilgour (Canadian) and Edward McMillan-Scott (British). And this year, Nancy Pelosi herself gained new stature, as the incoming Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

This year end review is showing us that by several measures — resignations from the CCP; politician attention; and, media attention — that our cause is making headway or accelerating. It is arriving at critical mass just prior to the Olympics, which in itself is certain to whip up activists.

Also this year, Microsoft, Cisco, Yahoo, and Google came under fire for assisting the police state in China, with technology that ends up in “the great firewall of China” — internet censorship that also enables the authorities’ internet crackdown.

2006 had one more high note and one more sour note. The high note is that a music video, “Remember Tiananmen Square” appeared, from the rock band NoManZero. The sour note is that the U.S. Congress passed another “PNTR for dictators” bill, this time for Communist Vietnam. The Vietnam trade deal had to be passed, late at night on the last day of the session, by the 109th Congress, because there would be no market for it in the 110th Congress. The new Democratic Congress features “rising protectionist sentiment,” where PNTR becomes an impossibly hard sell.

That trade deal means bad things for America, but that is a topic for another column. As it stands, our cause had a good year 2006, and we look forward to an even better 2007. 2007 will feature the 18th anniversary of Tiananmen Square’s massacre. –That is exactly one generation later. I hope we will use this year’s anniversary to remember the event (for older folks) and to introduce the event (for younger folks). There is a rising new generation, that needs the introduction that explains how our China rights cause became urgent — and globally known — in the first place.

This 18th anniversary will be a time for educating people, in advance of the Beijing Olympics that are slated for August, 2008. To all of the campaigners in this cause, I offer kudos, congratulations, and solidarity. Some very good work was done this year, and more is to follow, as ever! Thank yous, and Happy New Year, to one and all who carry on the work of freeing China! :-)

China Support Network (CSN)– Begun as the American response group in 1989, CSN represents Americans who are “on the side” of the students in Tiananmen Square – standing for democratic reform, human rights, and freedom in China. For dissident news; to support a stronger China policy; or get more information, see

John Kusumi, The first Generation X politician and Ronald Reagan’s youngest political opponent, John Kusumi was the 18-year-old running for U.S. President in 1984. (Independent / Practical Idealist) He later formed the China Support Network (CSN) when his age-group peers were massacred at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the site of a student-led pro-democracy uprising in 1989. He remains Director emeritus of CSN, an accomplished speaker, and widely published on matters of the Chinese democracy movement, where leading Chinese dissidents call upon him as an ally. See

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Microsoft restates China policy

Posted by Author on November 4, 2006

BBC News, 3 November 2006-

Microsoft has restated its position on China following comments by one of its senior legal staff.

Earlier this week, Microsoft senior counsel Fred Tipson said concerns about repression in China might make it reconsider its presence there.

Mr Tipson was speaking at the first Internet Governance Forum held in Athens which debated many issues of internet policy.

But now Microsoft has said it is “committed” to staying in the country.

Net gains

Mr Tipson told the Athens conference: “We have to decide if the persecuting of bloggers reaches a point that it’s unacceptable to do business there.”

The Internet Governance Forum is a UN-backed body that aims to be a global talking shop for thorny net issues. The four-day conference brought together more than 1500 delegates to talk about net policy and how governments, companies and citizens are affected by it.

One topic on the conference agenda was human rights and the ways that some nations, such as China, restrict access to the net or monitor what people do online.

Following Mr Tipson’s comments, Microsoft issued a statement which said: “Microsoft is not considering the suspension of the company’s internet services in China.”

It continued: “On the contrary, it is committed to continuing to offer services and communications tools in China as it believes it is better for customers that Microsoft is present in global markets with these tools and services as this can not only promote greater communication, but can also help to foster economic opportunity and social collaboration.”

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Wikipedia defies China’s censors

Posted by Author on September 10, 2006

David Smith and Jo Revill, The Observer, September 10, 2006–

The founder of Wikipedia, the online encyclopaedia written by its users, has defied the Chinese government by refusing to bow to censorship of politically sensitive entries.

Jimmy Wales, one of the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine, challenged other internet companies, including Google, to justify their claim that they could do more good than harm by co-operating with Beijing.

Wikipedia, a hugely popular reference tool in the West, has been banned from China since last October. Whereas Google, Microsoft and Yahoo went into the country accepting some restrictions on their online content, Wales believes it must be all or nothing for Wikipedia.

His stand comes as, a joint campaign by The Observer and Amnesty International for free speech on the web, continues with the support of more than 37,000 people around the world. The campaign calls on governments to stop persecuting political bloggers and on IT companies to stop complying with these repressive regimes.

‘We’re really unclear why we would be [banned],’ Wales told The Observer. ‘We have internal rules about neutrality and deleting personal attacks and things like this. We’re far from being a haven for dissidents or a protest site. So our view is that the block is in error and should be removed, but we shall see.’

Wales said censorship was ‘ antithetical to the philosophy of Wikipedia. We occupy a position in the culture that I wish Google would take up, which is that we stand for the freedom for information, and for us to compromise I think would send very much the wrong signal: that there’s no one left on the planet who’s willing to say “You know what? We’re not going to give up.”‘

Wikipedia’s entry on the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 includes the government’s official claim that 200-300 died and the Chinese student associations and Chinese Red Cross’s estimate of 2,000-3,000 deaths. (more details from The Observer article)

Undermining freedom of expression in China, AI, July 2006

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EU-CHINA Summit: China Human Rights Situation Remains Disturbing

Posted by Author on September 6, 2006

Amnesty International, Brussels, 7 September 2006–

Despite the commitment made at last year’s Summit to protect and promote human rights, China continues to engage in practices that involve gross human rights violations, says Amnesty International ahead of the EU-China Summit on 9 September. In a briefing paper (available at the organization presented its main human rights concerns to the EU.

“The EU needs to make China understand that its international credibility is affected when it does not match promises with actions. China’s indifference to its commitments is a type of defiance towards international opinion which the EU cannot ignore”, said Dick Oosting, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office.

The widespread use of the death penalty in China remains a key concern. The exact number of executions in 2005 is a mystery. The organization’s findings point to 1,770 but it could be as high as 10,000.

Prisoners are executed by shooting, usually to the back of the head. Increasingly, deaths sentences are also carried out with “mobile execution vans” by lethal injection, a practice which Amnesty International is concerned may facilitate the extraction of organs from executed prisoners.

The authorities have taken no steps to reform or abolish the provisions of Chinese criminal law which are frequently used to arbitrarily arrest lawyers, journalists and human rights activists. Thousands of people continue to be held without charge or trial in “Re-education through Labour” facilities, up to four years. Torture and ill-treatment also persist.

Censorship and a general crackdown on the media has continued over this past year, assisted by international internet companies such as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. This raises serious doubts over China’s commitments to ensure “complete media freedom” at the Beijing Olympics.

In a letter to EU leaders, Amnesty International also raised the fact that despite China’s growing influence in international affairs, it has failed to assume the responsibilities of such a role. Emerging as a major arms producer, China refrains from entering multilateral agreements that set out criteria to guide arms export controls.

“The sale of military equipment by Beijing to Sudan is a practical example of a foreign policy that flouts human rights. Through these sales, instead of helping to search for peace, China is effectively fuelling violence in Darfur”, said Oosting.

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How Microsoft assist Government Censorship in China(4)

Posted by Author on September 5, 2006

Human Rights Watch, August 10, 2006– (cont’d)

Search engine: In October, Microsoft launched a search technology center in China and on January 3, 2006, MSN launched its own “beta” (test-version) Chinese search engine, at, which was integrated into the MSN China portal as Initial testing of the “beta” version in January by editors at CNet showed the MSN search tool linking to a number of sites.

that are blocked by Yahoo! and Google search, including Human Rights Watch’s, although there were some other sites not blocked by Google and Yahoo! (such as that were blocked by MSN search.104 (See Section III for Human Rights Watch’s detailed analysis comparing MSN’s Chinese search results to those of Google, Yahoo!, and Baidu.) Meanwhile, on searches that have been censored to exclude politically sensitive search results, the MSN Chinese search engine often (but not always) includes a notification to users at the bottom of the page which says: “The search results have omitted some content. [click here to] Find out why.” The hyperlinked text then takes the user to an explanatory page containing explanations of a list of features and potential questions related to MSN search results. Near the bottom of the page is the heading “When there are no search results or filtered search results,” under which is the following text: “When there are no or very few search results, please try a similar word or a phrase that describes the word’s meaning. Sometimes, according to the local unwritten rules, laws, and regulations, inappropriate content cannot be displayed.”105 MSN also de-lists websites from its search engine, as discussed in Section III and depicted in Fig. 11 of this section. Human Rights Watch has found that while MSN’s Chinese search engine turns up more diverse information on political and religious subjects than Yahoo! and Baidu, it censors content more heavily than (see Section III for details).

Search on MSN Chinese “Beta” for “Gao Zhisheng”

Figure 10: Search on MSN Chinese “Beta” for “Gao Zhisheng” (human rights lawyer)

Hotmail stays offshore: For the time being, Microsoft executives have admitted that Microsoft has held off providing Chinese-language Hotmail services hosted on servers inside the PRC due to concerns that Microsoft would find itself in the same position as Yahoo!, that is, subjecting its local employees to official requests for email user data, with which they would feel compelled to comply. Microsoft has been successful in refusing Chinese government requests for Hotmail user data in the past, on the grounds that the data is not under PRC legal jurisdiction. (END)

– From IV. How Multinational Internet Companies assist Government Censorship in China,
of “Race to the Bottom: Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship,” by Human Rights Watch

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How Microsoft assist Government Censorship in China(3)

Posted by Author on September 4, 2006

Human Rights Watch, August 10, 2006– (cont’d)

Chinese bloggers react: While the blog of Zhao Jing, a.k.a. Michael Anti, was censored by MSN Spaces, Zhao has said on his blog and in media interviews that while he would have preferred not to have been censored, it is on balance better that MSN has found a way to compromise, yet still provide a platform on which ordinary Chinese can speak much more freely than before—albeit not completely freely. 100 Upon reading news that there would be congressional hearings he wrote:

Furthermore, at a time when globalization and politics are mixed up, I do not think that we can treat everything in black-and-white terms as being for or against the improvement of freedom and rights for the people of China. On one hand, Microsoft shut down a blog to interfere with the freedom of speech in China. On the other hand, MSN Spaces has truly improved the ability and will of the Chinese people to use blogs to speak out and MSN Messenger also affected the communication method over the Internet. This is two sides of the practical consequences when capital pursues the market. How the Americans judge this problem and mete out punishment is a problem for the Americans. If they totally prevent any compromised company from entering the Chinese market, then the Chinese netizens will not be freer at least in the short term. Besides, we must distinguish between the sellout by Yahoo! and the compromise by Microsoft, because they are completely different matters.101

In the days after Zhao’s blog was censored, many other Chinese bloggers (many of them on MSN Spaces) carried out lengthy discussions of his case, republishing his final posts, and generally expressing sympathy. They were not censored by MSN, even though Zhao himself had been. An interesting essay by a blogger named Chiu Yung began to circulate in the Chinese blogosphere, arguing that MSN did the right thing by “sacrificing” Anti. If it hadn’t, the reasoning went, the entire MSN Spaces service would become unavailable to all Chinese bloggers, and that would be a greater loss. The essayist wrote that Chinese people should thank MSN for the same reason they should thank the U.S. for not implementing sanctions. He also argued that Chinese people themselves are ultimately responsible for allowing their fellow countrymen to be censored, and that the ultimate solution is going to have to be initiated by the Chinese themselves.102MSN Spaces censor “Tibet Independence”

Figure 6: MSN Spaces – Error message when attempting to post blog entry with title “Tibet Independence”

(to be cont’d…)

– From IV. How Multinational Internet Companies assist Government Censorship in China,
of “Race to the Bottom: Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship,” by Human Rights Watch

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How Microsoft assist Government Censorship in China(2)

Posted by Author on September 3, 2006

Human Rights Watch, August 10, 2006– (cont’d)

Microsoft’s response: Public outcry and criticism of Microsoft’s action was so strong in the United States that by late January 2006 Microsoft decided to alter its Chinese blog censorship policy.94 Called to testify before the U.S. House of Representatives in February to explain its collaboration with Chinese government censorship requirements, Microsoft outlined the following efforts at transparency while still complying with Chinese censorship requirements:

First, explicit standards for protecting content access: Microsoft will remove access to blog content only when it receives a legally binding notice from the government indicating that the material violates local laws, or if the content violates MSN’s terms of use.

Second, maintaining global access: Microsoft will remove access to content only in the country issuing the order. When blog content is blocked due to restrictions based on local laws, the rest of the world will continue to have access. This is a new capability Microsoft is implementing in the MSN Spaces infrastructure.

Third, transparent user notification: When local laws require the company to block access to certain content, Microsoft will ensure that users know why that content was blocked, by notifying them that access has been limited due to a government restriction.95

Nina Wu, the sister of detained filmmaker and blogger Wu Hao, had been using an MSN Spaces blog from March 2006 until his release that July to describe her quest to secure her brother’s release and her personal shock that his legal and constitutional rights appeared to have been ignored by Chinese authorities. (Wu Hao, who was working on a documentary film about Christians in China at the time of his disappearance on February 22, 2006, was held by Chinese State Security without formal arrest, charge, trial, or access to a lawyer until his release on July 11, 2006.) Throughout this time her blog was not taken down or blocked to Chinese users. Likewise, the wife of dissident AIDS activist Hu Jia has also been able to maintain a blog on MSN Spaces describing her husband’s ordeal, as well as similar ordeals experienced by the families of other activists. Both blogs have remained uncensored and visible, despite the fact that their subject matter is arguably as politically sensitive, if not more so, than the content on Michael Anti’s blog.96 On April 10 Nina Wu reflected on her own experiences with censorship:

After Haozi disappeared, browsing the Internet and searching for related information became a mandatory daily class. I have googled a great deal of information on “Hao Wu,” but I can’t visit many of the search results, especially addresses with .org suffixes. Eight or nine out of ten will return “Impossible to display this webpage.” I don’t know what kind of sensitive information these websites contain. Before, I did not believe in “Internet censorship.” This was because I used to visit mostly finance and investment websites, which rarely have problems. Only when I faced a serious predicament did I discover that this was a real problem.

Today someone asked me about the effect of Haozi’s incident on me and other family members. I think the most direct effect is that I began to be concerned about my own “rights” and the social problems that Haozi was concerned about.97

However, some other Chinese bloggers have reported takedowns of their MSN Spaces blogs in recent months.98 It is not known whether Chinese authorities have made requests for those blogs to be taken down, but if the blogs of Nina Wu and Zeng Jinyan remain visible due to Microsoft’s revised policies, this is a step in the right direction, and an example of the way in which companies can successfully resist pressure to proactively censor politically sensitive content.

By the end of 2005, MSN Spaces hosted more Chinese blogs than any other Chinese-language blog-hosting service, surpassing its homegrown PRC competitors.99 It remains to be seen at this writing how or whether Microsoft’s efforts to institute greater accountability and transparency will impact competition with MSN Spaces’ domestic Chinese competition.

– From IV. How Multinational Internet Companies assist Government Censorship in China,
of “Race to the Bottom: Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship,” by Human Rights Watch

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How Microsoft assist Government Censorship in China(1)

Posted by Author on September 1, 2006

Human Rights Watch, August 10, 2006–

“As a successful global corporation, we have a responsibility to use our resources and influence to make a positive impact on the world and its people.”

—“Global Citizenship at Microsoft”86

“We remove a small number of URLs from the result pages in the MSN China Search site to omit inappropriate content as determined by local practice, law, or regulation [emphasis added]. We provide a link to a notice if search results have been filtered or may contain non-functional links but we do not block whole queries.”

—Pamela S. Passman, Vice-President, Global Corporate Affairs, responding to letter from Human Rights Watch87

While Microsoft has had a business and research presence in China since 1992, the Chinese version of the Microsoft Network (MSN) online portal was launched only in mid-2005, after the formation of a joint venture between MSN and Shanghai Alliance Investment Ltd. (SAIL) to create MSN China in May 2005.88 (Funded by the Shanghai City Government, SAIL is a venture fund led by Jiang Mianheng, son of former PRC president Jiang Zemin.)89

Blog censorship: Within a month of MSN China’s rolling out its Chinese portal, Microsoft came under criticism from the press and bloggers (both Chinese and Western) for censoring words such as “democracy” and “freedom” in the titles of its Chinese blogs.90 Meanwhile, testing of the service in December showed that censorship of MSN Spaces Chinese blogs had been extended beyond titles of the full blogs to the titles of individual blog posts themselves. As shown in Fig. 6, testing also showed that while sensitive words such as “Tibet independence” and “Falungong” (the banned religious group) could be posted in the body of blog posts, use of such words would cause the entire blog to be shut down within days, by Microsoft staff on Microsoft servers.91

The extent of MSN Spaces censorship created an uproar after the popular blog of Zhao Jing, writing under the pseudonym Michael Anti, was shut down on December 30, 2005.92 In 2005 Zhao had become one of China’s edgiest journalistic bloggers, often pushing at the boundaries of what is acceptable. He had started blogging on MSN Spaces in August 2005 after his original blog hosted by the Scotland-based company was blocked by Chinese Internet service providers. In December Zhao used his blog to speak out when propaganda authorities cracked down on Beijing News, a relatively new tabloid with a national reputation for exposing corruption and official abuse. The editor and deputy editors were fired and more than one hundred members of the newspaper’s staff walked out in protest. Zhao covered the crackdown extensively on his MSN Spaces blog, discussing behind-the-scenes developments, supported the walkout and called for a reader boycott of the newspaper. Microsoft told the New York Times that MSN Spaces staff deleted Zhao’s blog “after Chinese authorities made a request through a Shanghai-based affiliate of the company.”93 (to be cont’d…)

– From IV. How Multinational Internet Companies assist Government Censorship in China,
of “Race to the Bottom: Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship,” by Human Rights Watch

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MPs hit out at net giants over China censors

Posted by Author on August 13, 2006

David Smith, The Observer– Internet companies including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have been branded ‘morally unacceptable’ by a powerful committee of MPs for collaborating with Chinese state censorship of the web.The official reprimand was welcomed by Amnesty International, which is running a freedom of speech campaign with The Observer, now supported by nearly 35,000 signatories from around the world.

The Commons foreign affairs select committee identified the restriction of the internet in China as ‘a key infringement of the right of freedom of expression’ and noted that several western internet companies had recently adapted their products for the Chinese market.

In a wide-ranging report on east Asia, published today, the MPs said: ‘Particular criticism has been aimed at Microsoft, which last year launched a portal in China that blocks use of words such as “freedom” in the text of weblogs [blogs]; Yahoo, for identifying journalist Shi Tao at the request of the Chinese authorities, which led to his arrest and sentence for posting on the internet an internal Communist party minute; and Google, for launching a self-censoring version of its website in China. Yahoo, Google and Microsoft submitted evidence to our inquiry.’

They added that the group Human Rights Watch had raised the possibility of other countries with repressive regimes following the Chinese example, claiming China is already exporting the relevant technology to governments including that of Zimbabwe. The MPs recommended that the government put pressure on China to relax its censorship of the internet.


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AI report: Undermining freedom of expression in China

Posted by Author on July 23, 2006

To coincide with the launch of the international campaign against internet repression, Amnesty International released a report about the role of Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google in internet repression in China titled “Undermining freedom of expression in China”. The apparatus of internet repression is considered to be more advanced in China than in any other country and companies are particularly willing to cooperate with the Chinese government.

Contents of the report including:

Executive summary

1. Freedom of expression

1.1 A fundamental human rights

1.2 Internet governance and human rights

2. Human rights responsibilities of companies

2.1 Responsibilities of Internet hardware and software companies

3. The human rights situation in China: an Overview

3.1 The crackdown on human rights defenders

3.2 Curtailment of freedom of expression

3.3 Internet censorship in China

4. The role of Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google

4.1 Mismatch between values and actions

4.2 Contravening their principle that users come first

4.3 Uncovering their defences

4.4 From denial to acknowledgement

5. Recommendations for action

The report can be download from AI’s website Here

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Microsoft: assist China abusing human rights

Posted by Author on July 21, 2006– 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.

Posted in Internet, Journalist, Microsoft, People, search engine, Social, Speech, Technology, website, World | 1 Comment »