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June 22, 2005


Hans Suter

It reads like a manifesto and I would like to sign it.


Even so, i wrote my senators. Final paragraphs:

This problem is real.  Without greater freedom of speech, the people of China have precious few ways of advocating better lives and real change within their country.  Without the freedom to exchange innovative ideas perhaps dangerous to the current Chinese Government, ignorance and hate are allowed to expand and take hold of an already nationalistic population.  In permitting Microsoft and Cisco Systems to enable the Chinese Communist Party to crack down on information on the internet, debates are stifled and information and news vital to informing the people in China of the world's events are lost. Furthermore, in permitting this activity we are passively allowing China to wage a war of propaganda on its people, a war that has thus far helped to create the phenomenon that we very recently saw:  the riots against Japan.  It is this hatred and malice, this racism that is partly fueled by historical mis-information that we help to create, in allowing Microsoft and Cisco Systems to help China censor its internet content.

If we do not want Europe selling technology that will help China build weapons that might be used against us, so too should we call upon these companies to halt their activities.  For it is these software companies that are helping to breed the nationalistic youths that would look to using the technologies we would keep Europe from selling.  Weapons are useless unless you have a willing army to use them.


perhaps a bit over the top, but maybe Gregg or Sununu will sit up and start looking into what's going on.



Nicely done. But over at GamePolitics we've called for a boycott of Microsoft's new game system, the Xbox 360, due to launch in November. Call it the gamer-centric response.

"Charles Dodgson"

Regarding Cisco, it's worth noting that they have acknowledged a remarkable degree of cooperation with the Chinese government in other respects. I'm thinking in particular of a speech that CEO John Chambers gave last fall, excerpted here, at the opening of a new lab in Shanghai. The speech outlined "an entire strategy of becoming a Chinese company", and acknowledged that he was not only moving his own research and manufacturing facilities into China, but was heavily pressuring his subcontractors to do the same, "candidly at the request of the leaders in your country".

More thoughts on these and other, debatably related matters here...

Rebecca MacKinnon

Thanks Charles. That link on the Chambers speech is very useful. Thanks for the plug on your blog too!

I'm a Chinese enginner working in the Bay Area. I work for a very well known company in the technology industry. When I walk in the hallways in my company in Santa Clara, more than two thirds of the faces are Asian, probably a third of that Chinese. My wife (also Chinese) just got her engineering PhD at Berkeley, the company who hired her told her they couldn't find enough qualified people.

American techonlogy is built with foreign talent, and in many cases, Chinese talent. I find all this talk about the Chinese stealing American IP totally offensive.

As for Cisco, Huawei can certainly fill the void...There is noting Cisco is doing that the Chinese cannot replicate or do better.

Cisco products are commodities...

"Charles Dodgson"

I'm not sure that anyone in this thread has been talking about Chinese stealing American IP -- I certainly didn't mean to. I think some of the conversation has been about the Chinese government buying it.

As to whether the IP in question is "American": regardless of the nationality of the people writing code for Cisco, the code is owned by the company, which is in turn largely managed and (I believe) largely owned by Americans. Whether there's a whole lot of justice in this social arrangement is an interesting topic -- though, perhaps, one more appropriate for the comment section of another blog. But the people who own and control it right now are Americans, and their obligations to uphold American ideals are something that reasonable people can discuss. (Hopefully with a bit of care -- cross-cultural discussions can lead to misunderstanding in all sorts of ways even when culturally sensitive hot buttons aren't involved at all).

In the longer run it may not matter because Huawei makes petabit routers as well as Cisco. Then again, it may not matter in the longer run because Cisco succeeds in its announced ambition to "become a Chinese company" itself! But we're talking, I think, about what's happening now, and I don't think it has become one yet.

Rebecca, BTW -- you're welcome.

Scott Butki

Another great post. No surprise that people are twisting your words.
Keep up the good work.


Hmmm. I don't really want to launch into an IP debate, but I guess I'd like to ask what is offensive about accusing firms in China of stealing IP? The point of IP is that it (usually) belongs to the company, not to an individual, or a nationality. You make technology in the States because there's an investment system to support it. When China gets the sytem, they'll get the innovation. I'm not sure anyone is insulting China, unless you are interpreting "American" as a nationality, which isn't necessary.

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