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Corporate censorship in China
February 18, 2002 9:07 PM   Subscribe

Corporate censorship in China (via slashdot). I guess censorship and collusion in the repression of people is okay if you're making profits for your shareholders. An eye-opening look into the way that corporations are helping to facilitate censorship on the Internet in China. AOL and Yahoo's attitudes to what I thought were universal human rights is nothing short of sickening.
posted by pixelgeek (8 comments total)

 
behold, peek-a-booty to the rescue!
posted by machaus at 9:39 PM on February 18, 2002


What about communist China's attitude, pixelgeek?
posted by dagny at 9:43 PM on February 18, 2002


I guess my issue is less the obvious desire of a regime like China to control access to the net but the willingness of companies like AOL, Yahoo and Cisco to cash in on this.

Is it a greater evil to pursue a course that inhibits the rights of people or is it worse to collude in that process and to profit from it?

Or to sound less like a first year philosophy student, shouldn't companies like Yahoo be trying to help foster democratic reforms in China instead of helping to silence dissidents?

I think the police in China are doing a good enough job cracking down on dissent without having companies like AOL ratting out people who don't agree with the government.
posted by pixelgeek at 9:51 PM on February 18, 2002


I'm completely with you on this, pixelgeek. After Yahoo bleating on and then buckling about freedom of the internet when it came to the Nazi memorabilia auctions/France episode it's no surprise they take this kind of approach with such a large market. Sometimes (though by no means always) capitalism really really sucks.
posted by jackiemcghee at 1:00 AM on February 19, 2002


I guess my issue is less the obvious desire of a regime like China to control access to the net but the willingness of companies like AOL, Yahoo and Cisco to cash in on this.

Related: in 1997 Rupert Murdoch (scroll down for the ref.) yanked BBC and CNN from his Hong Kong-based Star cable network, because the Chinese gov't objected to embarassing coverage.

AOL, Yahoo, and Cisco are just doing what corporations do, which is find new ways to make money for shareholders. For the last several decades, the U.S. has pursued a policy of constructive engagement with China, the theory being that, as China's markets open up and it's citizens become slowly, slowly wealthier, China will magically politically modernize. During the Bush I and Clinton eras, human rights issues were specifically decoupled from economic issues, to the delight of the multinationals.

After thirty years: western corporations have made huge money, and China is as politically repressed as ever. Constructive engagement with China has done more to entrench the hereditary beuracracy than it has to bring any kind of political freedom. In other words, it has provided a dis-incentive for political modernization, the exact opposite of what the free-market high priests claimed, and continue to claim, that it will do.
posted by Ty Webb at 8:37 AM on February 19, 2002


After Yahoo bleating on and then buckling about freedom of the internet when it came to the Nazi memorabilia auctions/France episode it's no surprise they take this kind of approach with such a large market.

I forgot all about that. Which makes their actions even more reprehensible.


posted by pixelgeek at 9:01 AM on February 19, 2002


pixelgeek, I share your disgust with these companies. It's another example of how capitalism can be hostile to democracy. Thanks for posting that link.
posted by homunculus at 12:17 PM on February 19, 2002


Freedom or control: How media systems differ in India, China
posted by sheauga at 10:49 AM on February 24, 2002


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