Friday, November 04, 2005

China, US Companies, and the Internet

Just days after a Chinese blogger named Wang Yi was nominated for the German radio network Deutsche Welle's freedom of expression blog award, his site was shut down by Chinese authorities. Sadly, this is just one example of how China's Leninist dictatorship has sought to suppress free speech on the Internet.

The worst part is that American companies have actively cooperated with Beijing in its efforts to censor the web. As the Washington Times noted on November 2:

China's continuing crackdown on the press and censorship of the Internet is being supported by U.S. companies and the transfer of U.S. technology, prompting advocates of a free press to demand a change in American foreign policy.

"There is a need for a U.S.-backed campaign to promote democracy in China, and the freedom of expression is the lifeblood of democracy," John J. Tkacik Jr., senior research fellow in China Policy, said at a Heritage Foundation conference yesterday.

"U.S. companies such as Yahoo and Cisco are helping the Chinese government [put reporters in jail]," said Lucie Morillon of Reporters Without Borders.

The Heritage Foundation event discussed in the article can be viewed here.

I have no problem with companies wanting to make money, but not at the expense of free speech. Yahoo, Cisco, and others need to change their business practices in China immediately. If this costs them contracts with the Chinese government, so what. That's still preferable to their earning profits by making a mockery of this country's ideals.


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