Microsoft Ponders Leaving China, Blogspot Blocking and Other Non-issues
China is in the news for many reasons but when it comes to the Internet one of the the main stays is the blocking of websites, persecuting of bloggers that cause social unrest with their writings and making foreign internet companies comply with national laws in order to keep the Chinese internet pure. Today a sum up of what has been happening in that field recently.
Microsoft ponders reconsidering it’s China business
At the UN Internet Governance Forum in Athens, Fred Tipson, senior policy counsel for Microsoft was quoted by the BBC, as saying,
“Concerns over the repressive regime might force it [Microsoft] to reconsider its business in China.
He also said, “Things are getting bad… and perhaps we have to look again at our presence there,” he told a conference in Athens. “We have to decide if the persecuting of bloggers reaches a point that it’s unacceptable to do business there.”
Microsoft is active with its blogger platform MSN Spaces in China and as such, pondering to leave China would constitute canceling this service. I don’t think they intend to stop trying to sell Windows XP and the coming Vista.
Blocking and Blogging
Blogspot, Google’s platform for bloggers has been blocked again. It had been accessible for a couple of months and someone decided to pull the IP again.
Competition wise this sounds like good news for Chinese blog service providers like Bokee and Blogcn as this means less competition. Having been blocked before in China it probably won’t make much of a difference though. If MSN spaces were to leave China it would be better.
At least if some newly proposed measures to force each blogger to id himself with the government won’t be implemented. These measures are currently being pondered over. Read more about this on Chinadigitaltimes that posted a translation of a post of one of the top IT Chinese bloggers Keso. He doesn’t feel it would be the best thing to happen.
Chinese Internet research company Iresearch differs and states,
“Blog real name mechanism can virtually achieve the development of blog industry and guarantee the harmonious development of Internet culture.” (Quote is from their newsletter)
I wonder how independent their research is.
There is a big chance the measures will never materialize, as until now has happened with the idea to make it mandatory for posters of video’s to Chinese versions of Youtube, like Tudou.com, to get a permit first.
If the Blog Real Name Registration would be implemented this could mean a renewed interest in using overseas blog service providers as long as they are not blocked of course.
China and Censorship, a Non-issue
To top it off I admit all the above is not true, or at least part of it. At the forum in Athens the Chinese government representative, Yang Xiaokun, denied all censorship allegations made by major human rights groups.
“We do not have restrictions at all,” he said. “Some people say that there are journalists in China that have been arrested. We have hundreds of journalists in China, very few have been arrested. But there are criminals in all societies and we have to arrest them. But these are legal problems. It has nothing to do with freedom of expression.”
Gemme van Hasselt is an Internet Marketing Consultant, living in Shanghai, China. His musings on life can be found on China Snippets