June 10, 2005

Microsoft in China bans “democracy”

by brian_turner

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Users of Microsoft’s new internet portal in China have been blocked form using certain words that may be seen as offensive to the Chinese government.

Efforts to label personal websites and blogs with words such as “democracy” or “freedom” result in an error message telling the user that they have used “forbidden speech” and that it must be deleted.

Other words that trigger the message include “demonstration”, “democratic movement”, and “Taiwan independence”.

The words can be used on blogs created in MSN Spaces, but even then they are blocked from the most visible part of the site.

This comes at a time when Beijing, which has tried to limit political debate on the internet, is attempting to force anyone operating a website to register with the government.

MSN would not comment on the ban, but its Chinese joint venture – Microsoft holds a 50 percent stake in Shanghai MSN Network Communications Technology, which operates MSN Spaces – said that MSN Spaces users are required to accept the service’s code of conduct, which says that it abides by the laws of the countries it operates in
and forbids posting of content that violates local and national laws.

Even though the Communist Party in China discourages political dissent, however, no Chinese law bans the simple use of words like “democracy”.

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One Response to “Microsoft in China bans “democracy””

  1. Platinax News » Google censors in China on January 27th, 2006 7:49 pm

    [...] Censorship of information services is inevitable when doing business in China – Yahoo! and Microsoft have already launched search projects there that already do this. [...]

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