Microsoft censors Chinese blogs
Chinese bloggers posting their thoughts via Microsoft's net service face restrictions on what they can write.
Weblog entries on some parts of Microsoft's MSN site in China using words such as "freedom", "democracy" and "demonstration" are being blocked.
Chinese bloggers already face strict controls and must register their online journal with Chinese authorities.
Microsoft said the company abided by the laws, regulations and norms of each country in which it operates.
The censorship is thought to have been introduced as a concession to the Chinese government.
Also being restricted on the free parts of the site are journal entries that mention "human rights" and "Taiwan independence".
Those using these banned words or writing entries that are pornographic or contain sensitive information get a pop-up warning that reads: "This message contains a banned expression, please delete this expression."
China recently introduced stringent regulations that require all blog owners to register their web journal with the state by 30 June.
The regulations require the writer of a blog to identify themselves to the authorities.
According to Reporters Without Borders, China is using a system called Night Crawler to patrol web journals and make sure that only registered blogs are published. Unregistered blogs will be shut down.
"Following Yahoo, here is a second American internet giant giving way to the Chinese authorities and agreeing to self-censorship", said the group in a statement.
"The lack of ethics on the part of these companies is extremely worrying. Their management frequently justifies collaboration with Chinese censorship by saying that all they are doing is obeying local legislation."
"We believe that this argument does not hold water and that these multinationals must respect certain basic ethical principles, in whatever country they are operating."
See the complete briefings from Reporters without Borders:
From the former:
The Chinese authorities are trying to impose self-censorship on all search engines and blog tools that that wish to operate on its territory. Yahoo !, which was the first, agreed to remove all "subversive" news and information from its search results. Despite repeated requests from Reporters Without Borders, the company's management always declined to discuss the issue.
Google, which has so far refused to censor its search engine, now looks likely to follow in the footsteps of its competitor. When the company announced it was opening an office in China, Reporters Without Borders wrote to its two founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, asking them to respond clearly to the question : "Would you agree to censorship of your search engine if Beijing asked you to". Google never replied.
Reporters Without Borders also wrote, on December 2003, to the CEO and founder of Microsoft, Steven A.Ballmer and Bill Gates, to bring to their attention their freedom of expression responsibilities, particularly in a country like China. This appeal, like the others, went unanswered.
So Google doesn't censor Blogger/Blogspot in China yet, but it does censor Google News, as I reported last September:
This left the way open for the Chinese authorities to block Google's English news site: