onsdag, februari 22, 2006

Microsoft i diktaturens ledband

Ena dagen får man höra om Arla som smörjer arabdiktaturer genom att bojkotta Israel (köp Milko!), och andra dagen hör man om Microsoft som agerar Beijing-regimens tjänare genom att radera en kinesisk dissidents blogg på diktaturens begäran:

Four and a half months after he began posting essays challenging the Communist Party's taboo against discussing politics, Zhao published an item protesting the purge of a popular newspaper's top editors. Officials called Microsoft to complain, and Microsoft quickly erased his blog.

The December incident sparked outrage among bloggers around the world, and in Washington, members of Congress vowed to scrutinize how U.S. firms are helping the Chinese government censor the Internet. But the reaction inside China's growing community of Internet users was strikingly mixed.

Many rallied to support Zhao, but some objected to his "Western" views and said he deserved to be silenced. Others, especially those with a financial stake in the industry, said they worried Zhao's writing could lead officials to impose tighter controls on blogging. And a few said they were pleased that Microsoft had been forced to comply with the same censorship rules that its Chinese rivals obey.

The story of Zhao's blog -- and the ambivalence it met in cyberspace -- demonstrates that those trying to use the Internet to foster political change in China must contend not only with the censors but also with the apathy, fear and mistrust of their fellow citizens. The case also highlights the competing ethical and commercial pressures on companies seeking to profit from the Internet in China, including U.S. firms such as Microsoft, Yahoo and Google.

Läs mer i Washington Post's artikel Bloggers Who Pursue Change Confront Fear And Mistrust.