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August 10, 2006



When I tried to show my blog to a friend of mine in Beijing, China's firewall censored access to blogger.com. Naturally, this pisses me off, but I also remember that China is beginning to achieve more widespread net access. Ultimately, I want and believe that China will cease its net censoring activities, but I would rather that internet service providers provide, in the meantime, limited web access rather than none at all.


What strikes me about all these companies is actually their motivations for collaborating with the PRC's internet censorship. Commonly one hears them state that this limited access to the internet will slowly help to bring about freedom of speech, for example. It is the same motivation that one hears from various corporate investors when they invest in China and that the International Olympic Committee when awarding the 2008 Olympics to Beijing. When walking through Beijing or Shanghai now a days there is no denying the big changes that take place, in fact I often say China is one of the most capitalist, not socialist, nations on earth.

Personally I don't see how these companies believe that by supporting censorship and helping to repress human rights they will in fact aid the democratisation of the PRC.

My Chinese university friends, for example, seem little concerned about human rights or the freedom of speech when they can strut down Wangfujing in their Gucci boots- gone are the days of student activism in Beijing. But it is these people who can make a change in China and by these corporations supporting censorship, it gives the message to the young people that everything is OK and that the Western world condones the human rights situation in China.

Just last week Reporters Without Borders condemned the closure of several blogs written by Woeser, a Tibetan poet living in Beijing, following the closure of 'Century China' and a few other popular websites and blogs. Not only did Woeser lose her blogs but her books are also banned in China, she was fired from her job and was kicked out of her flat... just because she said something favourable about the Dalai Lama.

Although, like matt said, consumers do want net access even if it is limited- but that does not mean that Western corporations need to help the Chinese government in censoring the internet and help the PSB arrest cyber dissidents and people who simply want to express themselves on the www.

Sorry, long comment:p Really interesting blog :)

bobby fletcher

Is HRW going to publish a critique of US weapon makers for "corporate complicity" in the invasion and occupation of Iraq?

Shouldn't they stop making weapons for US military? At lease refuse to make Depleted Uranium munition?

Those companies that take Uncle Sam's nuclear weapon contracts are far worse offenders.

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