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January 06, 2006


Joseph Wang

FYI, we aren't asking anyone to be heroes here (at least I'm not). If MSN wants to use the "Chinese laws and regulations" excuse, all it has to do is to cite which law and regulation it is following, and on whose authority it is acting under. If both MSN and the Chinese government makes transparent its grounds for censorship, then I'm not particularly angry because.....

As long as there are clear rules, they can be circumvented and bent. People can, and do discuss things using vague historical allusions, use anti-blocking software, or post overseas.

Also, as long as there are clear rules, you can try challenging them softly, and move the rules back bit by bit. Fine, the CCP doesn't want people to talk about overthrowing the Party, so let's not. Instead, let's talk about things that are on the borderline and push these borders back bit by bit.

Finally, as long as there are clear rules, we can make sure that we aren't imposing restrictions any more than are absolutely required to do business. The Chinese government knows who Michael Anti is and where he lives. There's nothing keeping them from just arresting him, if they think he is a serious enough threat. The fact that they haven't puts a damper on the "laws and regulations" excuse.

The problem I have with this situation is that no one has mentioned which law or regulation has been violated. No one has mentioned exactly why MSN pulled down Anti's site. No one has mentioned on whose authority these actions were done, and most egregiously, these actions impact the flow of information outside of China.

I don't think that it is useful to ask anyone to be a hero, since it just causes the discussion to bring up difficult issues that are unnecessary to resolve in this case.

No heroics. Just some clarity and transparency.

(Also the fun thing is that if you try to cite the law and regulation that Anti has supposedly violated, you'll find that Chinese internet regulation is this huge hodge-podge of conflicting bureaucracies.)


This is just making it to the the NYTimes news !!

Ari Tai

re: citing the law.

In a totalitarian state? "Shirley, you jest." So, MS does what they are told by the rulers of that country, and they get to continue to lose money in the land of the PLA. If they do not, they go out of business, and whomever is using their (free) service lose their access and whatever voice that this vehicle provided. Hmm. Doesn't take a lot of thought to determine the more honorable course of action.

The complaint isn't with any (non-state owned) company. It's with the (non-elected and therefore unaccountable) leadership of that state. No accountability, no rule-of-law.


I don't mean to defend what MS Space has done to M. Anti regarding his free blog space. But from someone who has been living inside China for more than 5 years, I do "understand" there is the need for MS Space to pull down Anti's blog if they don't want to offend someone and if they want to carry on with their business.

We have all heard news about the incaceration of serveral Chinese laywers simply because of their involvement in certain high profile cases. We have also read about the house arrests of some activitists, including some blind man for trying to expose the darkness. Are all those heavy-hand activities from the high up legal from the perspective of Chinese law? Hell, no! Nevertheless, they just happened and are happening and will happen, and nothing you can do about them. Not even with Microsoft!

Issac's advocate is well justified. However, I wonder what would his company do if M. Anti had set up his blog with BlogBus in the first place :-)


How is it that Isaac Mao's page is now apparently blocked according to the blurb one gets after clicking the link to his protest above? "NOT ISAACMAO.COM isaac's backup page. if you were redirected from accessing isaacmao.com, it means the isaacmao.com is still being blocked"

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