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by Franki

There has been numerous accounts of how MSN has had to tone down the China MSN portal to eliminate such evil words as “democracy” and “freedom” and “human rights” in order to keep the powers that be over there happy, and as much as I’d like to jump on the bandwagon and condemn Microsoft for it, I can’t bring myself to do it. The reason I can’t is pretty simple, MSN are not the first, and they won’t be the last. China is a massive potential market for all of these big companies, and China is rigidly communist controlled. The Chinese government has a long standing tactic of controlling (or trying to control) everything their people see, hear and read. The Internet is a much less “many and varied thing” in China. Sites over there that run counter to the government’s views have seemingly disappeared and external sites are often blocked from access by the people. So Microsoft wants into China for the potential profits, but they have to play nice with the government in order to do it, so they did. Google and Altavista have been blocked by China in the past for linking to forbidden sites, and search engines that have a presence in China have had to tow the official line. The fact that Microsoft blocked a few words is hardly surprising in light of their history and apparent desires. They are a public company, they are in it for the money, and there is big money in China.

To get an idea of how much effort China puts into making sure their people don’t see anything untoward, opennetinitiative has an interesting technical summary of the systems in place and how they work. Protesting that sites should make no allowances for the Chinese government is not going to achieve anything useful. Some information for the people is better then none at all and hopefully one day the lack of information freedom in the country will be abolished. But criticizing any company that has to make allowances to be heard in that country serves no purpose at all. Having said that, sites that propagandize the party line are another matter entirely.

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  Time  in  Don's  part  of the world is:   September 23, 2018, 2:58 am
  Time in Franki's part of the world is:   September 23, 2018, 3:58 pm
  Don't worry neither one sleeps very long!

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