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July 21, 2005

Comments

Davod

More to the point. We need a list of similar companies who are not doing business with China. Then we can all put our money where are mouths (or keyboards) are. Make the abetters pay and help the righteous.

mcj

In your next conversation with Cisco (though I doubt that will be anytime soon), you might ask what other police services Cisco sells this type of equipment to. Since the company was willing to confirm the China example -- and since Cisco presumably isn't/shouldn't be embarrassed of its business dealings -- why don't they shed light on which other police organizations they consider customers?

Keep up the good work.

Nomad

I recently attended a session at Cisco's Executive Briefing Center in San Jose where they showcase their new technologies to Very Big Customers. I brought up this topic and our Cisco reps pretty much gave us the exact same response as presented in the article, which means that they are probably coordinating their talking point on this issue internally and the customer/public concern *is* on their radar, but their response is simply to manage perception.

Cisco very proudly pointed out that their biggest customer for these same technologies is the U.S. Government (which probably also covers state and local agencies), which should be hardly surprising.

Do a google search on "Lawful Intercept" or "CALEA" for some intersting information on what the U.S. Gov has mandated in the way of built-in means within communications infrastructure technology that allows the government to monitor voice and data communications.

AlexandreJean

"As one of the world’s leaders in Internet networking technology, Cisco Systems has played an important role in the growth of the Internet globally."

Cisco is now helping to diminish the freedom Internet once was.

Travis

I can't stand Cisco and hate the Chinese government even more, but this is silly. Computers (to include networking equipment) are amoral by their nature. They are idiotic, but infinitely patient and obedient tools--that's all. Is it "odious" that Cisco surely knows that part of their profits are based upon censorship? Sure, how can it not be? But they are hardly the only company on the earth profiting from doing business with the Chinese government.

The PSB needs computers and databases to make this all work. So why not start squawking about Dell, Hewlett Packard, Oracle, IBM, Sun Microsystems, etc. And that is only in the IT industry. What of General Electric, General Motors, Haliburton--all of which have done business with the Chinese government? Do we ban all business with China (something I would favor, actually)?

To single out Cisco is, with respect, rather shallow and shortsighted. The real criticism and pressure should be levied at G7 governments that go about beating their breasts and trumpeting the cause of human rights but quickly change the subject when it comes to one fifth of humanity. Cisco's products are barely even a detail in that context and, if serious about promoting Human Rights in China, we need to realize them as one of many remora fish picking up a few scraps left from odious foreign policy, not as an organization with any real power.

Harry Wu

I do agree that we should not condemn only Cisco for its business activities in China. However, what we are doing is not “singling out Cisco”, but rather singling out America’s policy toward China and toward doing business with China. The Cisco issue is a simple one, because American law forbids the sale of crime control equipment to the specific country of China. We know that Cisco has signed contracts directly with Chinese PSB authorities, and that these contracts have helped the PSB more effectively control crime in China. Therefore, the issue becomes one of whether Cisco’s actions in this respect are legal or illegal; in violation of the law or not in violation of the law.

Lucent Technologies also signed a contract with Chinese PSB authorities, and Boeing has recently come under fire for allegedly illegally selling technology to China. But we should examine these cases one by one. And we should not proclaim that, because there are numerous companies doing business with China in violation of human rights, we should not criticize one particular company for its actions. Guilt in large numbers does not make a single company any less guilty.

Seb Lee

Since Cisco isn't willing to give up Chinese business to uphold "freedom" and "democracy", I wonder whether there are enough companies in the "free world" which hold dear to "freedom" and "democracy" to bring Cisco to its knees by not buying from it. A boycott sounds childish but it might work in the absence of any legislation to ban such US firms from doing business with China.

Gordon

Rebecca,

If you're interested and you haven't heard already, the firewall ban in China has been extended to Blog-City blogs now.

I first noticed it this afternoon before I left for the gym around 3:00pm. At first I thought it was a technical glitche with Blog-City because they have been doing a lot of upgrading lately, but then I had the urge to try accessing it through a proxy browser and to my unpleasant surprise - it loaded just fine. Naturally that sent my red flags flying and I sent out emails to other bloggers in China who continued to confirm one after another that access had been denied. Asiapundit responded saying that he had ran a trace and results confirmed a block at the firewall level (CHINANET).

I'm not sure if this is only temporary, but I have contacted Blog-City and they have assured me they are actively working on a possible solution to this problem.

As with the Typepad blog, it makes absolutely no sense. Then again, maybe they read my recent post about Taiwan being a possession of the United States.

Best regards!

Gordon

P.S.

Senator Evan Bayh's office had contacted me in response to my letter to the editor that was published in my home town and a member of his legislative staff has asked to meet with me regarding this issue upon my repatriation next month. If you're interested, I will keep you informed with the details of our meeting.

Ken Nellis

What do I think?

Rebecca is a hypocrite. I am sure she, as most Americans, are currently purchasing and using products made by or supported by the Chinese government (which supports the Chinese Police), yet she and some others condemn Cisco for their legal business transactions.

Rebecca indicates that we should make it illegal to sell to countries where the practice of law enforcement includes things like beating up little old ladies who demonstrate peacefully for their religious rights and routine torture of people. If this were the case, some would say, we should first ban sales to the United States government (see recent US Government torture allegations and excessive force police complaints).

Before we dictate policy to others should we not first look at our own country and ensure the same type of activates that we accuse others of practicing are not currently and routinely practiced in the United States?

CiscoHQ Cisco Forum and News

Wow, this was very interesting

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