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January 07, 2006


a reader

Bravo for the principles of Reporters Without Borders!

Now they should open a blogging service in China, and do it right, not like all those evil companies... they can call it freevoices.com, or something like that.


This is a very important discussion to have online, and am glad you are taking the initiative to get it going. I think government oversight of this area could lead to problems though. Like you say, it would be ideal if the industry could think up a system and have trusted third-party sources verify their compliance. Failing that however, I think the web community could come up with it's own standards and verify companies even if they don't want to join in fashioning the rules.

It might in fact create leverage to join the process if companies like Microsoft know there will be an outcome whether they join or not, although even then I would think it would need some corporate buy-in to get the ball rolling.


Thanks for such an informed post.

The corporate acquiescence to Chinese state interests and ideology is all the more risible from internet and computer companies, with their extravagant rhetoric about promise of technology.

Craig Lester

I have found this blog to be a very good example of freedom of expression and the press. The press are vital in exposing human rights violations that occur on a daily basis. Major Western Corporate Entities should be held liable for their actions, especially when it comes to human rights violations. From child labour in Asia to Microsoft's subservient attitude to the Chinese government, major corporations should be held responsible. On another subject, blogs like this are vital in helping to expose all manner of evil. Most mainstream media are not willing to expose certain issues, or issues that not deemed to be of any consequence are put on the back burner.

One such issue is the matter of Zimbabwe in Southern Africa. Once the breadbasket of the region, with a flourishing society, Zimbabwe has regressed into a mire, that I do not believe that Zimbabwe will ever escape from. The Zimbabwean government has repressed its own people in favour of holding onto power. People have been subjected to one of the most evil passages of history, akin to Pol Pot's terror in Cambodia. 700 000+ people have been displaced and sent to land without any shelter or food, to be re-educated by the government, farms stand idle, handed over to government cronies, farms that were once productive under white farmers who kept Zimbabwe fed and brought in foreign exchange through the sale of excess grain and tabacco. Tabacco is still being bought from Zimbabwe, although in smaller quantities than ever before.

Infrastructure has collapsed. Cholera,anthrax and other diseases caused by poor hygiene are common place. Electricity is becoming more and more scarce. Water is contaminated because the government cannot afford the chemicals to treat water.

Petrol and Diesel are in short supply, and most of the fuel goes to the government.

Hyperinflation is at 500% and will reach 100% before the year is out. These are just some of the issues that affect Zimbabwe.

Politically, people are tortured, the opposition is in disarray and the press is all but shut down. There is no free press in Zimbabwe. Journalists who dare print the truth are imprisoned.

But for the lack of space, I cannot give more details. But if you can, write to your representative in the US congress and senate, asking them to do something about Zimbabwe. The very lives of Zimbabwe is your hands. Over 3 million people may starve in the next two years...


While I generally applaud your effort to promote freedom of speech in China, I think the approach of attacking US companies for adhering to local laws so they can continue to do business to be very short-sighted and ultimately ineffectual. All the high-mindedness aside, what the Chinese people need is more access to blogs, MSN or otherwise, more access through Cisco routers, and more news through Yahoo news. For every Shi Tao or Michael Anti there are thousands of daily readers of blogs and news, who are increasingly adept and reading between the lines, who know how to circumvent the system, who can access a host of underground blogs, chat rooms, IRC channels, etc..these people (we) don't need Westerners pushing for controls that are unlikely to really have an impact on the type of thing the Chinese government is doing, but will only make it harder for the thousands, nay, bai wans of Chinese Internet users who daily gain knowledge and sophistication about world events despite the "Great Wall of China".....


Thats Crazy

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