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July 27, 2005



While I think Governments should step in and legislate in these instances I also think that to absolve companies of any guilt themselves is wrong.

You can't say businesses can do whatever they like (within current legal limits) until they are told to stop it.

Businesses should have codes of conducts and ethics. If they behave badly, albeit legally, then the media and subsequently consumers should hold them to account.

If this situation eventually ends up costing Cisco money because of consumer boycotts then they will change their future behaviour or at least think twice.

But just because a government hasn't acted to stop a company behaving badly that doesn't mean they are not in the wrong. It also doesn't mean that we, personally, shouldn't take our own action.

Iain MacLaren

Isabel Hilton has written an article "Made in China" in Granta magazine #89 "The Factory" which discusses some of the real difficulties with having codes of practice and the means whereby such can easily be circumvented. She discusses the efforts of those engaged in ensuring compliance and some of the methods whereby documents are falsified and compliance officers are lead astray. I wonder what your comments might be on this article. (Granta's ISBN is 090314175-2 and is a UK based magazine at www.granta.com



I would like it if Mr. Harry Wu could have a full counting of the funding sources for his anti-China work.


Comment on Iain Maclaren's comment.

China has many problems, but child labour is not one of them. If someone claims it is a problem area, I think he/she either is ignorant or has other motive.

Joseph Wang

I don't think that the issue of Cisco selling equipment to the Chinese Police is nearly as clear cut as this blogs make it out to be. The Chinese Police for the most part are police, and most of the things that they have to do involve the same sorts of police work that all police departments have to deal with.

As a hypothetical situation, suppose the Cisco equipment was being used to set up 911-like emergency centers or were used to set up traffic surveillance to reduce traffic accidents. I'd argue in that case, Cisco is doing a good thing.

Maybe this isn't the case, and what Cisco is selling is being used to torture political prisoners. They it would be a bad thing.

I don't know what the equipment is, or what it is being used for, but I do think its necessary to find out before making an ethical judgment on this.

Iain MacLaren

"passerby" states "China has many problems, but child labour is not one of them. If someone claims it is a problem area, I think he/she either is ignorant or has other motive. " in response to my raising of Isabel Hilton's article. Yet her article is not about child labour. Rather it explores the problems in reality of monitoring compliance with agreed codes of practice and the employment of compliance inspectors and how their work is subverted. It is a very detailed piece with a range of views expressed.


Hello, I just read in the Independant (UK) that Yahoo! just helped track down a journalist on behalf of the Chinese government. I can't find any mention of this on the web. Would you have any news. I think this needs a e-spanking for Yahoo!; Cheers.

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