- The Washington Times - Friday, January 6, 2006

BEIJING (AP) — Microsoft Corp. has shut down the Internet journal of a Chinese blogger who discussed politically sensitive issues, including a recent strike at a Beijing newspaper.

The action came amid criticism by free-speech activists of foreign technology companies that help the communist government enforce censorship or silence dissent to be allowed into China’s market.

Microsoft’s Web-log-hosting service shut down the blog at the Chinese government’s request, said Brooke Richardson, group product manager with Microsoft’s MSN online division at company headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

Although Beijing has supported Internet use for education and business, it fiercely polices content. Filters block objectionable foreign Web sites, and regulations ban perceived subversive or pornographic content and require service providers to enforce censorship rules.

“When we operate in markets around the world, we have to ensure that our service complies with global laws as well as local laws and norms,” Ms. Richardson said.

She said the blog was shut down Dec. 30 or Dec. 31 for violating Microsoft’s code of conduct, which states that users must be in compliance with local laws in the country in which the user is based.

The blog, written under the pen name An Ti by Zhao Jing, who works for the Beijing bureau of the New York Times as a research assistant, touched on sensitive topics such as China’s relations with Taiwan. Last week, he used the blog to crusade on behalf of a Beijing newspaper.

Reporters at the Beijing News, a daily known for its aggressive reporting, staged an informal one-day strike after their chief editor was removed from his post. The editor’s removal and the strike attracted comments on Chinese online bulletin boards, which censors then erased.

Online bulletin boards and blogs have given millions of Chinese an opportunity to express opinions in a public setting in a system where all media are government controlled.

But service providers are required to monitor blogs and bulletin boards, erase banned content and report offenders.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide