Followup to Chinese thing, off to CES

Working in a big company is interesting cause there are lots of moving parts. Tracking them all down is difficult, especially when you have a full day of meetings and other things to do and when the stakeholders of the decision you’re trying to find out about are on the other side of the world in a time zone opposite of ours.

Blogger time isn’t that easy to live with when you work in a big company. That’s not an excuse, but just a fact. Already there are plenty of people who took me to task for reacting like a blogger and not waiting until I had checked with all the parties. Truth is this thing was going supernova already (it was on Instapundit before I even knew about it).

I have been talking to lots of people today, though, inside and outside of Microsoft. In every instance they asked me to keep those conversations confidential. Why? Cause we’re talking about international relations here and the lives of employees. I wish I could go into it more than that, but I can’t. Not yet. See, it’s real easy as Americans to rattle the door and ask for change, but we don’t live there. Saying “give them the finger” isn’t that easy when there are real human lives at stake. And I don’t need to spell out what I’m talking about here, do I?

One thing I’ve heard is that we spell out our terms of service very explicitly on MSN Spaces. Here in the United States we pull down stuff too at government request, like child pornography or other illegal content.

Being in the content business is not an easy one, that’s for sure.

I’ll pass more along as I can.

The other thing is I’m about to leave to go to the CES conference so getting online for the next while might be difficult.

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112 thoughts on “Followup to Chinese thing, off to CES

  1. Whatever the case – your company – and my company – will continue doing business with China regardless of how they treat their citizens.

    How sad. 😦

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  2. Dave: so you advocate pulling out of China? And how will that help the treatment of their citizens? Just ignore the whole issue? Seems to me that people with some skin in the game can be encouraged to explore change. I’ve learned here at Microsoft that it’s easier to change the company from within than it is from outside throwing the metaphorical bricks through the window.

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  3. Dave: so you advocate pulling out of China? And how will that help the treatment of their citizens? Just ignore the whole issue? Seems to me that people with some skin in the game can be encouraged to explore change. I’ve learned here at Microsoft that it’s easier to change the company from within than it is from outside throwing the metaphorical bricks through the window.

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  4. Whatever the case – your company – and my company – will continue doing business with China regardless of how they treat their citizens.

    How sad. 😦

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  5. Robert,

    I know it sounds *very* idealistic but if we all refused to do business with China until they improve how they treat their citizens things would change very quickly.

    I remember a few years ago working with a woman from China (here on a Visa) she had one child and became pregnant while she was here. She was terrified to go back to her homeland.

    I can’t even imagine.

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  6. Robert,

    I know it sounds *very* idealistic but if we all refused to do business with China until they improve how they treat their citizens things would change very quickly.

    I remember a few years ago working with a woman from China (here on a Visa) she had one child and became pregnant while she was here. She was terrified to go back to her homeland.

    I can’t even imagine.

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  7. I don’t blame you, Robert. The values of “corporate blogging” November issue of HBS Working Knowledge issue and elsewhere, suggest that a response needs to be immediate, personal, and unfiltered by legal or PR.

    If you were working to change the company from within in this particular area, that would be noble. But that doesn’t always translate to using this blog as a megaphone or metaphorical brick– much as the conventional wisdom about blogging suggests it does.

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  8. I don’t blame you, Robert. The values of “corporate blogging” November issue of HBS Working Knowledge issue and elsewhere, suggest that a response needs to be immediate, personal, and unfiltered by legal or PR.

    If you were working to change the company from within in this particular area, that would be noble. But that doesn’t always translate to using this blog as a megaphone or metaphorical brick– much as the conventional wisdom about blogging suggests it does.

    Like

  9. Stick to your guns, man. Don’t let someone tell you to be “sensitive” when it goes against your basic beliefs.

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  10. Stick to your guns, man. Don’t let someone tell you to be “sensitive” when it goes against your basic beliefs.

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  11. Robert, I understand the delicacy of the situation, but two things that concern me:
    1) This seems to have been censorship of a blog hosted in the US, but written in Chinese. In other words, the same thing would have happened if a US citizen in the US posted in Chinese. Is this true? Perhaps Microsoft should (at least) clarify issues of jurisdiction.

    2) You said “One thing I’ve heard is that we spell out our terms of service very explicitly on MSN Spaces.”
    I looked at the TOS, and the relevant bit (under which Michael Anti’s blog was suspended) seems to be:
    “We may cancel or suspend your Service at any time. Our cancellation or suspension may be without cause and/or without notice.”
    In other words the TOS are “We can do anything we want”. Explicit, maybe. But it’s a bit of a pathetic excuse for what happened.

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  12. Robert, I understand the delicacy of the situation, but two things that concern me:
    1) This seems to have been censorship of a blog hosted in the US, but written in Chinese. In other words, the same thing would have happened if a US citizen in the US posted in Chinese. Is this true? Perhaps Microsoft should (at least) clarify issues of jurisdiction.

    2) You said “One thing I’ve heard is that we spell out our terms of service very explicitly on MSN Spaces.”
    I looked at the TOS, and the relevant bit (under which Michael Anti’s blog was suspended) seems to be:
    “We may cancel or suspend your Service at any time. Our cancellation or suspension may be without cause and/or without notice.”
    In other words the TOS are “We can do anything we want”. Explicit, maybe. But it’s a bit of a pathetic excuse for what happened.

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  13. You say “lives” not “jobs”, which I find curious.

    In either case, Microsoft should not be cooperating. If they block MSN, they block MSN. If that means loosing business in China, so be it. Ethics should come before business.

    If you set the standard, maybe others will follow.

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  14. You say “lives” not “jobs”, which I find curious.

    In either case, Microsoft should not be cooperating. If they block MSN, they block MSN. If that means loosing business in China, so be it. Ethics should come before business.

    If you set the standard, maybe others will follow.

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  15. Pingback: Letters from China
  16. Don’t throw around the term ‘real human lives’ loosely, a journalist is taking real risks to inform the public.

    China needs to censor itself, pulling the blog is not just censoring him, but all of us. This is not child pornography, it’s political dissention. If the US Government requested MSN spaces to pull anti-war blogs because they supported terrorism, what would MSN do? Cave.

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  17. Don’t throw around the term ‘real human lives’ loosely, a journalist is taking real risks to inform the public.

    China needs to censor itself, pulling the blog is not just censoring him, but all of us. This is not child pornography, it’s political dissention. If the US Government requested MSN spaces to pull anti-war blogs because they supported terrorism, what would MSN do? Cave.

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  18. So MSN is international? How about a simple policy- no content that breaks international treaties. Anything else is up to the destination country to filter.

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  19. So MSN is international? How about a simple policy- no content that breaks international treaties. Anything else is up to the destination country to filter.

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  20. China will democratize once they have an upperclass that is fully ingrained in the government. This will take a while. Outside forces will not influence them one way or another.

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  21. China will democratize once they have an upperclass that is fully ingrained in the government. This will take a while. Outside forces will not influence them one way or another.

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  22. “One thing I’ve heard is that we spell out our terms of service very explicitly on MSN Spaces. Here in the United States we pull down stuff too at government request, like child pornography or other illegal content.”

    How is the “Falun Gong” (to use just *one* example) illegal or banned in the country of hosting (USA) or apart from China, all countries of viewing (the entire world)? Mind you, I’m not criticizing you here, I’m criticizing the arguments used by the people who justify this.

    Stick to your guns. If you can’t drive change, that has to be because the commercial forces aligned against you are too strong, not because they convince you to join them. 50% or more of your posts end up being aligned with those forces anyway!

    Survival doesn’t entail you dropping your principles and accepting weaker ones.

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  23. “One thing I’ve heard is that we spell out our terms of service very explicitly on MSN Spaces. Here in the United States we pull down stuff too at government request, like child pornography or other illegal content.”

    How is the “Falun Gong” (to use just *one* example) illegal or banned in the country of hosting (USA) or apart from China, all countries of viewing (the entire world)? Mind you, I’m not criticizing you here, I’m criticizing the arguments used by the people who justify this.

    Stick to your guns. If you can’t drive change, that has to be because the commercial forces aligned against you are too strong, not because they convince you to join them. 50% or more of your posts end up being aligned with those forces anyway!

    Survival doesn’t entail you dropping your principles and accepting weaker ones.

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  24. You mentioned your grandmother in your earlier post. Did her actions and the lack of actions by others affect the lives of others in a quantifiable way?

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  25. You mentioned your grandmother in your earlier post. Did her actions and the lack of actions by others affect the lives of others in a quantifiable way?

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  26. I love it when I’m right 🙂

    I said it a stunt by a blogger to get attention and didn’t he pull in some big fish with his bloghook. I wonder what his stunt will be ?

    More power to him I say !

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  27. I love it when I’m right 🙂

    I said it a stunt by a blogger to get attention and didn’t he pull in some big fish with his bloghook. I wonder what his stunt will be ?

    More power to him I say !

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  28. You were right the first time.

    China would face real costs if it did something like blocking MSN Spaces.

    The reason they can censor like this is that companies like Microsoft accomodate them.

    What we probably need to solve this problem is a US law creating liability for US companies that help foreign countries censor content that would be legal in the United States.

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  29. You were right the first time.

    China would face real costs if it did something like blocking MSN Spaces.

    The reason they can censor like this is that companies like Microsoft accomodate them.

    What we probably need to solve this problem is a US law creating liability for US companies that help foreign countries censor content that would be legal in the United States.

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  30. The big picture: Our kids are dying in Iraq to (supposedly) bring democracy to Iraq and Microsoft is censoring words such as “democracy” “freedom”. Something is very wrong with this picture.

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  31. The big picture: Our kids are dying in Iraq to (supposedly) bring democracy to Iraq and Microsoft is censoring words such as “democracy” “freedom”. Something is very wrong with this picture.

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  32. Here in the United States we pull down stuff too at government request, like child pornography or other illegal content.

    Seems a little extreme to map political commentary to child pornography, doesn’t it?

    Unfortunately, this event will act to reinforce Microsoft’s long standing reputation for being an “evil” company. While you’re helping them make great strides towards openness, the fact that they are so willing to play ball with dictatorships is completely retrograde.

    It’s just another reason why many people have a hard time trusting microsoft- whether it’s their efforts at a universal identity, DRM, trusted computing, spyware and all the rest of it. If Microsoft is willing to kowtow to the Chinese government over important human rights issues, they’ll certainly allow Sony intrusive control over my computer for a few bucks- or they’ll agree that Claria isn’t really spyware for a few more.

    If Microsoft wants my trust on these relatively minor issues, they must prove they are worthy of it on important issues, like the freedom of human beings to express themselves politically without censorship.

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  33. Here in the United States we pull down stuff too at government request, like child pornography or other illegal content.

    Seems a little extreme to map political commentary to child pornography, doesn’t it?

    Unfortunately, this event will act to reinforce Microsoft’s long standing reputation for being an “evil” company. While you’re helping them make great strides towards openness, the fact that they are so willing to play ball with dictatorships is completely retrograde.

    It’s just another reason why many people have a hard time trusting microsoft- whether it’s their efforts at a universal identity, DRM, trusted computing, spyware and all the rest of it. If Microsoft is willing to kowtow to the Chinese government over important human rights issues, they’ll certainly allow Sony intrusive control over my computer for a few bucks- or they’ll agree that Claria isn’t really spyware for a few more.

    If Microsoft wants my trust on these relatively minor issues, they must prove they are worthy of it on important issues, like the freedom of human beings to express themselves politically without censorship.

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  34. It is sickening and disturbing that you equate the freedom of expression of thought with child pornography. This whole situation is just plain wrong, but inevitable when you do business with a dictatorship.

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  35. It is sickening and disturbing that you equate the freedom of expression of thought with child pornography. This whole situation is just plain wrong, but inevitable when you do business with a dictatorship.

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  36. Dave: you missed my point. There are already limits on expressing thought here. Over in China those limits are repugnant to us. But, you have to recognize that each government has different ideas of what’s acceptable for their citizens to do.

    Tim: you gonna say the same about all the corporations that do business in China? I’m OK with that, but as long as you’re fair about it.

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  37. Dave: you missed my point. There are already limits on expressing thought here. Over in China those limits are repugnant to us. But, you have to recognize that each government has different ideas of what’s acceptable for their citizens to do.

    Tim: you gonna say the same about all the corporations that do business in China? I’m OK with that, but as long as you’re fair about it.

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  38. I sure am. Google, Yahoo, and Cisco have scarcely distinguished themselves there. Yahoo’s activities are particularly repugnant.

    However, these competitors don’t have anywhere near Microsoft’s baggage with regard to prior bad acts. And they aren’t trying to get me to disregard their past malfeasance while convincing me to buy into their plans for the future- plans where you really do need to trust the platform vendor not to sell you out. Here I’m specifically talking about DRM and identity. DRM from Apple is much more appealing to many people than DRM from Microsoft. Identity from Google is much more appealing to many people than identity from Microsoft. I suggest that it’s history and reputation that drives these preferences.

    Since Microsoft needs to convince people that they are good guys now, it seems to me to be smarter branding and marketing to build on BillG’s excellent charitable work, and to participate in spreading human freedom.

    But hey, I understand – the money’s really good over there.

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  39. I sure am. Google, Yahoo, and Cisco have scarcely distinguished themselves there. Yahoo’s activities are particularly repugnant.

    However, these competitors don’t have anywhere near Microsoft’s baggage with regard to prior bad acts. And they aren’t trying to get me to disregard their past malfeasance while convincing me to buy into their plans for the future- plans where you really do need to trust the platform vendor not to sell you out. Here I’m specifically talking about DRM and identity. DRM from Apple is much more appealing to many people than DRM from Microsoft. Identity from Google is much more appealing to many people than identity from Microsoft. I suggest that it’s history and reputation that drives these preferences.

    Since Microsoft needs to convince people that they are good guys now, it seems to me to be smarter branding and marketing to build on BillG’s excellent charitable work, and to participate in spreading human freedom.

    But hey, I understand – the money’s really good over there.

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  40. Scobi: sure all governments have different ideas about what is acceptable for its citizens to do. The point is that child porn is bad and free speech is good. This is not a matter of opinion. There is an absolute moral right and wrong here.

    FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE JEWS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT
    BECAUSE I WAS NOT A JEW.

    THEN THEY CAME FOR THE COMMUNISTS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT BECAUSE I WAS NOT A COMMUNIST.

    THEN THEY CAME FOR THE HOMOSEXUALS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT BECAUSE I WAS NOT A HOMOSEXUALS.

    THEN THEY CAME FOR THE TRADE UNIONISTS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT BECAUSE I WAS NOT A TRADE UNIONIST.

    THEN THEY CAME FOR ME AND THERE WAS NO ONE LEFT TO SPEAK FOR ME

    Pastor Niemoeller – victim of Hitler’s Nazis

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  41. Scobi: sure all governments have different ideas about what is acceptable for its citizens to do. The point is that child porn is bad and free speech is good. This is not a matter of opinion. There is an absolute moral right and wrong here.

    FIRST THEY CAME FOR THE JEWS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT
    BECAUSE I WAS NOT A JEW.

    THEN THEY CAME FOR THE COMMUNISTS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT BECAUSE I WAS NOT A COMMUNIST.

    THEN THEY CAME FOR THE HOMOSEXUALS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT BECAUSE I WAS NOT A HOMOSEXUALS.

    THEN THEY CAME FOR THE TRADE UNIONISTS, AND I DID NOT SPEAK OUT BECAUSE I WAS NOT A TRADE UNIONIST.

    THEN THEY CAME FOR ME AND THERE WAS NO ONE LEFT TO SPEAK FOR ME

    Pastor Niemoeller – victim of Hitler’s Nazis

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  42. Scoble: you missed my point. There are already limits on expressing thought here.

    Child porn isn’t about “thought” — its about the harming of another individual that doesn’t have a choice in the matter. That’s where your equating the Communist Chinese’s pulling down of political speech to our own internal laws breaks down.

    Why does MSFT think that they can dance with the devil and call the tune? China will develop its own version of MSN Spaces with a state sponsored software company and then, somehow, ban MSN from China. Nothing in their past suggests that they are going to let an outside firm own a market that big.

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  43. Scoble: you missed my point. There are already limits on expressing thought here.

    Child porn isn’t about “thought” — its about the harming of another individual that doesn’t have a choice in the matter. That’s where your equating the Communist Chinese’s pulling down of political speech to our own internal laws breaks down.

    Why does MSFT think that they can dance with the devil and call the tune? China will develop its own version of MSN Spaces with a state sponsored software company and then, somehow, ban MSN from China. Nothing in their past suggests that they are going to let an outside firm own a market that big.

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  44. “And I don’t need to spell out what I’m talking about here, do I?” Um, yeah. You need to.

    Because right now it almost sounds like you’re ready to set aside your principles in favor of corporate solidarity.

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  45. “And I don’t need to spell out what I’m talking about here, do I?” Um, yeah. You need to.

    Because right now it almost sounds like you’re ready to set aside your principles in favor of corporate solidarity.

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  46. Scoble,

    When will Microsoft start censoring what we write in Microsoft Word, or sending in Microsoft Outlook? When will the OS start to have built-in controls to serve authoritarian governements like China, and then claim you are only providing the tools, not the censorship?

    Microsoft is specifically supporting China’s repressive regime by doing business there, and is joining in the human rights violation by censoring that blog.

    Yes, pull out of China. Since when should we do business with countries that execute democracy advocates, stifle free speech, force labor, imprison religious leaders, and threaten their neighbors? And why should we do business with them on the same basis as we do Canada or England?

    Have some backbone. Be consistent. And Bill and Steve, if you’re reading this: draw the line here. Draw the damn line and stick to it. This sets a terrible, terrible precedent, and if you think it won’t hurt your sales outside of China, you’re very, very mistaken.

    Please restore the blog. In the meantime, I recommend to anyone using MSFT publishing or hosting services to consider moving over to another service (Typepad, DasBlog, etc).

    (and Robert, btw, please think before you equate freedom of speech or any human right with child porn.)

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  47. Scoble,

    When will Microsoft start censoring what we write in Microsoft Word, or sending in Microsoft Outlook? When will the OS start to have built-in controls to serve authoritarian governements like China, and then claim you are only providing the tools, not the censorship?

    Microsoft is specifically supporting China’s repressive regime by doing business there, and is joining in the human rights violation by censoring that blog.

    Yes, pull out of China. Since when should we do business with countries that execute democracy advocates, stifle free speech, force labor, imprison religious leaders, and threaten their neighbors? And why should we do business with them on the same basis as we do Canada or England?

    Have some backbone. Be consistent. And Bill and Steve, if you’re reading this: draw the line here. Draw the damn line and stick to it. This sets a terrible, terrible precedent, and if you think it won’t hurt your sales outside of China, you’re very, very mistaken.

    Please restore the blog. In the meantime, I recommend to anyone using MSFT publishing or hosting services to consider moving over to another service (Typepad, DasBlog, etc).

    (and Robert, btw, please think before you equate freedom of speech or any human right with child porn.)

    Like

  48. First you come out all self righteous on this issue without getting any background. Now you post and basically backtrack on your original umbrage and toe the company line?

    You also didn’t happen to be the one to first report on the West Virgina coal mine rescue, did you?

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  49. First you come out all self righteous on this issue without getting any background. Now you post and basically backtrack on your original umbrage and toe the company line?

    You also didn’t happen to be the one to first report on the West Virgina coal mine rescue, did you?

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  50. Dmad: I am not pulling back my stance. I just wrote over on Rebecca’s post that I was trying to explain the complexities of the issue.

    One thing I dislike in people is when they just are religious about their point of view and can’t see value (or be at least willing to listen to) in other points of view. I find that if you want to change people’s view that you must get in their shoes first and figure out how to walk in them for a while.

    It’s an art very few people on the Internet practice.

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  51. Dmad: I am not pulling back my stance. I just wrote over on Rebecca’s post that I was trying to explain the complexities of the issue.

    One thing I dislike in people is when they just are religious about their point of view and can’t see value (or be at least willing to listen to) in other points of view. I find that if you want to change people’s view that you must get in their shoes first and figure out how to walk in them for a while.

    It’s an art very few people on the Internet practice.

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  52. “Dave: you missed my point. There are already limits on expressing thought here. Over in China those limits are repugnant to us. But, you have to recognize that each government has different ideas of what’s acceptable for their citizens to do.”

    Sorry, but this is BS. China does NOT have the right to regulate what its citizens can say outside of their borders.

    You are acting as a cop for a autocratic regime and should be ashamed of yourself.

    As for equating political speech with child porn…that is simply repugnant.

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  53. “Dave: you missed my point. There are already limits on expressing thought here. Over in China those limits are repugnant to us. But, you have to recognize that each government has different ideas of what’s acceptable for their citizens to do.”

    Sorry, but this is BS. China does NOT have the right to regulate what its citizens can say outside of their borders.

    You are acting as a cop for a autocratic regime and should be ashamed of yourself.

    As for equating political speech with child porn…that is simply repugnant.

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  54. Hmmmm … I’m going to take a contrarian view here.

    Microsoft is under no obligation to allow its company to be used for political purposes by any writer. Microsoft, the company, is duty-bound to MAXIMIZE its owner’s profits as long as the actions they take are legal.

    Isn’t it just a little naive to think that one can do business in a country that forces women to have abortions without selling just a bit of one’s soul.

    By the same token, when you blog on Google, or Spaces, you’re essentially giving Google and Microsoft the right to redistribute your work, or to NOT do so if they so see fit. To use an analogy: I can write a letter to the editor, but I can’t force them to print it.

    Think about it: Should Microsoft (or Google, or Yahoo) be FORCED to redistribute ANY blog writer’s comments?

    Blogs are nice. They make getting one’s thoughts to the public very easy. However, most blog sites are freebies – and freebies always come with that little string attached.

    What the poster’s here seem to be debating is: Should Microsoft do business with Chinese communists (or in any other foreign repressive regime)?

    It’s a good question, but it has nothing to do with blogs or censorship and everything to do with what Microsoft is willing to do to earn a profit.

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  55. Hmmmm … I’m going to take a contrarian view here.

    Microsoft is under no obligation to allow its company to be used for political purposes by any writer. Microsoft, the company, is duty-bound to MAXIMIZE its owner’s profits as long as the actions they take are legal.

    Isn’t it just a little naive to think that one can do business in a country that forces women to have abortions without selling just a bit of one’s soul.

    By the same token, when you blog on Google, or Spaces, you’re essentially giving Google and Microsoft the right to redistribute your work, or to NOT do so if they so see fit. To use an analogy: I can write a letter to the editor, but I can’t force them to print it.

    Think about it: Should Microsoft (or Google, or Yahoo) be FORCED to redistribute ANY blog writer’s comments?

    Blogs are nice. They make getting one’s thoughts to the public very easy. However, most blog sites are freebies – and freebies always come with that little string attached.

    What the poster’s here seem to be debating is: Should Microsoft do business with Chinese communists (or in any other foreign repressive regime)?

    It’s a good question, but it has nothing to do with blogs or censorship and everything to do with what Microsoft is willing to do to earn a profit.

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  56. The reason that there so so much outrage in the Chinese blogging community over the takedown of Michael Anti’s blog is that MSN has taken it upon itself to enforce limits on political speech that are *STRICTER THAN THOSE IMPOSED BY CHINESE GOVERNMENT*.

    There are certain very well known red lines in Chinese blogging, and as far as can be told Michael Anti did not cross any of them. There are certain well established procedures for the Chinese government to take down blogs, and as far as can be seen these procedures were not invoked.

    Let me point out that the Michael Anti is still in China and is planning to continue to blog elsewhere. If the Chinese authorities had any real problem with what he did, they can just go and arrest him. They haven’t because he hasn’t done anything against Chinese law.

    This is why everyone is so mad at MSN. It is simply not the case as far as anyone can see that MSN is enforcing community standards. MSN is enforcing standards that go far beyond what the Chinese government is requiring it to do.

    If MSN wants to use the “community standards” excuse, then it can simply publish the name of the Chinese government official or agency requesting the take down and the authority under which they are doing so. There are certain specific regulations in Chinese law on who can authorize censorship and how a blog can be taken. MSN needs to make sure that on free speech issues is absolutely does no more than is required of it.

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  57. The reason that there so so much outrage in the Chinese blogging community over the takedown of Michael Anti’s blog is that MSN has taken it upon itself to enforce limits on political speech that are *STRICTER THAN THOSE IMPOSED BY CHINESE GOVERNMENT*.

    There are certain very well known red lines in Chinese blogging, and as far as can be told Michael Anti did not cross any of them. There are certain well established procedures for the Chinese government to take down blogs, and as far as can be seen these procedures were not invoked.

    Let me point out that the Michael Anti is still in China and is planning to continue to blog elsewhere. If the Chinese authorities had any real problem with what he did, they can just go and arrest him. They haven’t because he hasn’t done anything against Chinese law.

    This is why everyone is so mad at MSN. It is simply not the case as far as anyone can see that MSN is enforcing community standards. MSN is enforcing standards that go far beyond what the Chinese government is requiring it to do.

    If MSN wants to use the “community standards” excuse, then it can simply publish the name of the Chinese government official or agency requesting the take down and the authority under which they are doing so. There are certain specific regulations in Chinese law on who can authorize censorship and how a blog can be taken. MSN needs to make sure that on free speech issues is absolutely does no more than is required of it.

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  58. Just to emphasize the point that I made. A few of the red lines in Chinese domestic blogs are to advocating the overthrow of the Communist Party or questioning Chinese territorial unity. Michael Anti has done none of these things. He knows the rules, and is very careful not to cross the lines that the Chinese government has set.

    From what we have been able to gather the Beijing News Office did issue a censorship order on coverage of the Beijing News situation, but a censorship order by a local government doesn’t have any authority outside the area of that government, and certainly not to overseas blogs. This is very important because it lets you get away with saying bad things about Shandong if you are in Guangdong.

    And there is nothing I know of in any Chinese law, regulation, or policy that gives anyone in the Chinese government authority to censor overseas blogs. There is nothing in any Chinese law, regulation, or policy that I or anyone that is familiar with China knows that would seriously place any MSN employee under threat of arrest for keeping the blog up. *THIS* is why so many people are outraged.

    If a blogger is enough of a threat to the Chinese government, they can go and just arrest him. The fact that the blogger in question *HASN’T* been arrested nor is he under any serious danger of arrest that anyone can see, is why no one familar with Chinese blogging takes MSN’s stance that they are being forced to do what they are doing by the Chinese government, seriously.

    The way you advance free speech in China is follow the law and regulations *STRICTLY*. If the regulations say that a censorship order has to be signed by official X and it is signed by official Y, you can toss it back at them and have official X sign it.

    The reason this works is that for a lot of things bureaucratic interia and politics works in your favor. Maybe official X hates official Y, and so when you toss back the censorship order, official X doesn’t want to sign it. Maybe official X is busy. Maybe official X and Y disagree about what should be censored.

    Whatever happens you advance free speech one inch at a time.

    Like

  59. Just to emphasize the point that I made. A few of the red lines in Chinese domestic blogs are to advocating the overthrow of the Communist Party or questioning Chinese territorial unity. Michael Anti has done none of these things. He knows the rules, and is very careful not to cross the lines that the Chinese government has set.

    From what we have been able to gather the Beijing News Office did issue a censorship order on coverage of the Beijing News situation, but a censorship order by a local government doesn’t have any authority outside the area of that government, and certainly not to overseas blogs. This is very important because it lets you get away with saying bad things about Shandong if you are in Guangdong.

    And there is nothing I know of in any Chinese law, regulation, or policy that gives anyone in the Chinese government authority to censor overseas blogs. There is nothing in any Chinese law, regulation, or policy that I or anyone that is familiar with China knows that would seriously place any MSN employee under threat of arrest for keeping the blog up. *THIS* is why so many people are outraged.

    If a blogger is enough of a threat to the Chinese government, they can go and just arrest him. The fact that the blogger in question *HASN’T* been arrested nor is he under any serious danger of arrest that anyone can see, is why no one familar with Chinese blogging takes MSN’s stance that they are being forced to do what they are doing by the Chinese government, seriously.

    The way you advance free speech in China is follow the law and regulations *STRICTLY*. If the regulations say that a censorship order has to be signed by official X and it is signed by official Y, you can toss it back at them and have official X sign it.

    The reason this works is that for a lot of things bureaucratic interia and politics works in your favor. Maybe official X hates official Y, and so when you toss back the censorship order, official X doesn’t want to sign it. Maybe official X is busy. Maybe official X and Y disagree about what should be censored.

    Whatever happens you advance free speech one inch at a time.

    Like

  60. “Real human lives here at stake…And I don’t need to spell out what I’m talking about here, do I?”
    Yeah you do. For someone who deals in content yours in this posting was simply an self-important, puffed up, deluded crock.
    I’m a US citizen in China. I see no threat to the lives of Microsoft employees in the US. You think a Chinese commie strike force is going to storm the Redmond campus for a mass slaughter?
    As for your ”terms of service” and ”Code of Conduct” as outlined by Michael Connolly…tell us, please:
    Which part of the Code of Conduct was violated? And what national law(s) was/were broken?

    Like

  61. “Real human lives here at stake…And I don’t need to spell out what I’m talking about here, do I?”
    Yeah you do. For someone who deals in content yours in this posting was simply an self-important, puffed up, deluded crock.
    I’m a US citizen in China. I see no threat to the lives of Microsoft employees in the US. You think a Chinese commie strike force is going to storm the Redmond campus for a mass slaughter?
    As for your ”terms of service” and ”Code of Conduct” as outlined by Michael Connolly…tell us, please:
    Which part of the Code of Conduct was violated? And what national law(s) was/were broken?

    Like

  62. Wow, Scobs rational is laughable. His rhetoric reminds of O’brien from Orwells 1984.

    “Here in the United States we pull down stuff too at government request, like child pornography or other illegal content.”

    Any other americans ready to fight for REAL freedom of speech agian. And stop using child pornagraphy. I think everyone understands that. How much do make agian at MSM??? jeesh

    Like

  63. Wow, Scobs rational is laughable. His rhetoric reminds of O’brien from Orwells 1984.

    “Here in the United States we pull down stuff too at government request, like child pornography or other illegal content.”

    Any other americans ready to fight for REAL freedom of speech agian. And stop using child pornagraphy. I think everyone understands that. How much do make agian at MSM??? jeesh

    Like

  64. Here it is plain and simple – Microsoft (and any other US company that does business in China) is sacrificing human rights for the all mighty dollar. What happens outside of making that extra buck in China is of no concern to Microsoft. The Chinese population is a commodity to generate revenue from, nothing more, nothing less. Microsoft could choose to say, “No, we won’t operate in a country that mistreats its citizens!” but instead chooses to go in with its hand out and its shoulders shrugging, falling back on the whole “when in Rome, do as the Romans” excuse. It’s sad that money is more important than people. But, then again, this is business, right? No room for compassion there.

    Like

  65. Here it is plain and simple – Microsoft (and any other US company that does business in China) is sacrificing human rights for the all mighty dollar. What happens outside of making that extra buck in China is of no concern to Microsoft. The Chinese population is a commodity to generate revenue from, nothing more, nothing less. Microsoft could choose to say, “No, we won’t operate in a country that mistreats its citizens!” but instead chooses to go in with its hand out and its shoulders shrugging, falling back on the whole “when in Rome, do as the Romans” excuse. It’s sad that money is more important than people. But, then again, this is business, right? No room for compassion there.

    Like

  66. A company’s life is money just like a person’s life is blood. You will fight for your blood just as hard as a company will fight for it’s money. You can donate blood and your body replenishes it automatically; the company still has to work to replenish.

    Like

  67. A company’s life is money just like a person’s life is blood. You will fight for your blood just as hard as a company will fight for it’s money. You can donate blood and your body replenishes it automatically; the company still has to work to replenish.

    Like

  68. @Dave Drew: “The point is that child porn is bad and free speech is good. This is not a matter of opinion. There is an absolute moral right and wrong here.”

    Seriously, that’s ridiculous. A thing like absolute moral right or wrong doesn’t exist. That child porn is bad and free speech is good is just that: our opinion. Think about: Speech is in no country completely free, and different countries have different standards as to what is considered child pornography.

    Like

  69. @Dave Drew: “The point is that child porn is bad and free speech is good. This is not a matter of opinion. There is an absolute moral right and wrong here.”

    Seriously, that’s ridiculous. A thing like absolute moral right or wrong doesn’t exist. That child porn is bad and free speech is good is just that: our opinion. Think about: Speech is in no country completely free, and different countries have different standards as to what is considered child pornography.

    Like

  70. Robert, I already have severed my relationship with Yahoo! over their incident and now I find Microsoft, via MSN, commiting an act almost as egregious in my book. While Robert Anti won’t be facing a long term at hard labor (I believe the reporter got ten years which is probably a death sentence), freedom of speech even via the internet is just as precious in my book.

    I spent over thirteen years serving this country in the United States Navy. I spent half that time bouncing all over the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, so I do know that section of the world quite well including the repressive regimes. Just as I hold the regimes accountable, I hold the behavior of corporations accountable. The Toshiba case comes foremost to mind, yet another corporation that will never see any business from myself nor a single good word.

    We, Microsoft and myself, have had a very nice relationship for the last ten years, including a partnership. Now I have to reconsider that relationship.

    One more thing. I’m terminal as a result of disabilities due to my service in the Navy, so I have given my life for these values. Literally. A bit of economic pain here is but a small price to pay in consideration. Please pass this on to Microsoft.

    Brian J. Bartlett, ET1, USN (med. ret.)

    Like

  71. Robert, I already have severed my relationship with Yahoo! over their incident and now I find Microsoft, via MSN, commiting an act almost as egregious in my book. While Robert Anti won’t be facing a long term at hard labor (I believe the reporter got ten years which is probably a death sentence), freedom of speech even via the internet is just as precious in my book.

    I spent over thirteen years serving this country in the United States Navy. I spent half that time bouncing all over the Pacific and Indian Ocean regions, so I do know that section of the world quite well including the repressive regimes. Just as I hold the regimes accountable, I hold the behavior of corporations accountable. The Toshiba case comes foremost to mind, yet another corporation that will never see any business from myself nor a single good word.

    We, Microsoft and myself, have had a very nice relationship for the last ten years, including a partnership. Now I have to reconsider that relationship.

    One more thing. I’m terminal as a result of disabilities due to my service in the Navy, so I have given my life for these values. Literally. A bit of economic pain here is but a small price to pay in consideration. Please pass this on to Microsoft.

    Brian J. Bartlett, ET1, USN (med. ret.)

    Like

  72. The “pulling out of China” response is, I agree, a “simple” answer that ignores the full complexities of doing business in China today. But, that doesn’t end the matter. Microsoft’s generic response is also inexcusably simplistic and, moreover, unbelievable.

    The company vaguely states that its “policy” is to comply with “global and local laws, norms and industry practices”. Well, ok, but what “laws” or practices or norms were involved here? Were any actually violated or “maybe” violated? Has Mr. Jing been charged or convicted? And, what will the company do if Mr. Jing is never charged with any “crime”, and/or later tired and found innocent?

    Microsoft (and companies like it) provide a discretionary service and don’t need any “policies”: they have the absolute right to cave in to the whims of any country (or customer) with which it wants to do business- -at any time, and for any reason. It’s their right to make money. But, if making a profit is your guiding light (which is just fine), just say so. Citing a vague “policy” that sounds politically correct but has no real substance, no real teeth, and to which no real deference is paid, constitutes the troublesome part of what is going on here. It’s an uncomfortable position for many and try as they might, no Microsoft employee or blogger can explain away the clear hypocricy staring them in the face.

    Like

  73. The “pulling out of China” response is, I agree, a “simple” answer that ignores the full complexities of doing business in China today. But, that doesn’t end the matter. Microsoft’s generic response is also inexcusably simplistic and, moreover, unbelievable.

    The company vaguely states that its “policy” is to comply with “global and local laws, norms and industry practices”. Well, ok, but what “laws” or practices or norms were involved here? Were any actually violated or “maybe” violated? Has Mr. Jing been charged or convicted? And, what will the company do if Mr. Jing is never charged with any “crime”, and/or later tired and found innocent?

    Microsoft (and companies like it) provide a discretionary service and don’t need any “policies”: they have the absolute right to cave in to the whims of any country (or customer) with which it wants to do business- -at any time, and for any reason. It’s their right to make money. But, if making a profit is your guiding light (which is just fine), just say so. Citing a vague “policy” that sounds politically correct but has no real substance, no real teeth, and to which no real deference is paid, constitutes the troublesome part of what is going on here. It’s an uncomfortable position for many and try as they might, no Microsoft employee or blogger can explain away the clear hypocricy staring them in the face.

    Like

  74. From mrs Jessica
    Avenue 16,Rue13
    Triechville
    Abidjan Cote D’Ivoire.

    Dear One God,

    Sorry i do not know you very well, and i believe this is not going to cost you any inconvinence, may be I might be wrong ,however, I claim to be right towards contacting you about this I have a business proposal which I know migth interest you, I have in my possession a large sum of money which I want to invest in your country.In brief introduction, my name is Jessica Kone i am the only child of. Mr Kone a civil-servant in Ivory Coast who was killed on September 17th 2003, by the Ivoirian Militaty men, in protest that he was among the coup plotters to overtrow the government On the day my father was killed, I was with him but decided to visit my Divoced mother in her house who was lying sick in the bed, I returned back only to hear the news about his death. As a result of this, I went into his room and funds the key to his underground safe, upon opening some boxes there, I found to my surprised that my father deposited the sum of Tewnty million Dollars (US$)20,000 000) with a securty company based in ivory coast From the deposit contract entered between my father and the security company, this amount is contained in a sealed trunk box and it is registered and deposited as containing family treasure/African Arts, secondly, he deposited this funds in the name of his foreign partner without any names mentioned on it, but with my name fatu as next of Kin, even as I am writing you now, the security company is not aware that there is cash money in the trunk box. I have interest in your country and would want to invest this large amount with your company. I am asking for your assitance to help me move out the money and secure it for onward investment and to make residence arrangement for me. I have agreed to give you 10% (ten Percent ) of the total amount, including 15% share from the profits which the money will generate in future from every investment. The existence of this fortune which I have revealed to you is authentic but confidential and there is no risk involved in the cause of claiming it back from the Security Company. I have made contact with the security company informing them about the death of my father and the need for us to reclaim the consignment in their custody which they have accepted. It is for this reason that I am contacting you for help, so you should please not feel embarrased receiving this mail from me. Because of the current political situation in my country, I have resolved to moved out of the country since I might be the next terget, right now I am still in Abidjan and may leave to a nearby country should I not hear from you, in order to facilitate another arrangement and to finalize with the security company on claiming back the consignment deposited with them, should you be interested in my proposal to assist me secure this funds for investment, kindly reach me via email to enable me give you further details.your fax number and your telephone number for me to contact you,i attend Salvation church here in ivory coast.
    Accept my sincere regards
    while hoping to hear from you.
    May God bless you.
    Mrs Jessica kone

    Like

  75. From mrs Jessica
    Avenue 16,Rue13
    Triechville
    Abidjan Cote D’Ivoire.

    Dear One God,

    Sorry i do not know you very well, and i believe this is not going to cost you any inconvinence, may be I might be wrong ,however, I claim to be right towards contacting you about this I have a business proposal which I know migth interest you, I have in my possession a large sum of money which I want to invest in your country.In brief introduction, my name is Jessica Kone i am the only child of. Mr Kone a civil-servant in Ivory Coast who was killed on September 17th 2003, by the Ivoirian Militaty men, in protest that he was among the coup plotters to overtrow the government On the day my father was killed, I was with him but decided to visit my Divoced mother in her house who was lying sick in the bed, I returned back only to hear the news about his death. As a result of this, I went into his room and funds the key to his underground safe, upon opening some boxes there, I found to my surprised that my father deposited the sum of Tewnty million Dollars (US$)20,000 000) with a securty company based in ivory coast From the deposit contract entered between my father and the security company, this amount is contained in a sealed trunk box and it is registered and deposited as containing family treasure/African Arts, secondly, he deposited this funds in the name of his foreign partner without any names mentioned on it, but with my name fatu as next of Kin, even as I am writing you now, the security company is not aware that there is cash money in the trunk box. I have interest in your country and would want to invest this large amount with your company. I am asking for your assitance to help me move out the money and secure it for onward investment and to make residence arrangement for me. I have agreed to give you 10% (ten Percent ) of the total amount, including 15% share from the profits which the money will generate in future from every investment. The existence of this fortune which I have revealed to you is authentic but confidential and there is no risk involved in the cause of claiming it back from the Security Company. I have made contact with the security company informing them about the death of my father and the need for us to reclaim the consignment in their custody which they have accepted. It is for this reason that I am contacting you for help, so you should please not feel embarrased receiving this mail from me. Because of the current political situation in my country, I have resolved to moved out of the country since I might be the next terget, right now I am still in Abidjan and may leave to a nearby country should I not hear from you, in order to facilitate another arrangement and to finalize with the security company on claiming back the consignment deposited with them, should you be interested in my proposal to assist me secure this funds for investment, kindly reach me via email to enable me give you further details.your fax number and your telephone number for me to contact you,i attend Salvation church here in ivory coast.
    Accept my sincere regards
    while hoping to hear from you.
    May God bless you.
    Mrs Jessica kone

    Like

  76. Come check out our 2007 past events’ scrapbook and read about our past events, see photos and more. 2007 event scrapbooks include Dessert First , the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer , our First Annual POH/ SF Giants Plate to Plate 5K Run/ Walk , and our Sixteenth Annual Hand to Hand Luncheon. We also have a listing of our upcoming special events listed on our special events home page.

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  77. Come check out our 2007 past events’ scrapbook and read about our past events, see photos and more. 2007 event scrapbooks include Dessert First , the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer , our First Annual POH/ SF Giants Plate to Plate 5K Run/ Walk , and our Sixteenth Annual Hand to Hand Luncheon. We also have a listing of our upcoming special events listed on our special events home page.

    Like

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