Saturday, January 07, 2006

Typing with the Enemy

Are you a collaborator with those who are silencing this man, a blogger and freelance journalist for the New York Times and the Washington Post? If you are reading this paragraph on Internet Explorer or viewing these words on a Windows machine (as I am), then you are. Because the Microsoft corporation, which makes those products, just pulled down his blog when asked to by irritated Chinese authorities. Microsoft even deleted his files before the writer had the opportunity to back up his work!

In Nicholas Kristof's earlier New York Times story about another controversial Internet blogger, Li Xinde, perhaps he was too optimistic to predict that Chinese authoritarianism would inevitably meet "Death by a Thousand Blogs."

Yesterday's story in the New York Times, "Microsoft Shuts Blog's Site after Complaints by Beijing," details how American technology companies, afraid of losing access to the world's largest potential market, are still customizing their search algorithms to censor ideas from human rights advocates and political dissidents. To make matters worse they are now denying web space to those who are challenging government crackdowns and even kicking them out of the cyber-agora.

From coverage on Zhao Jing or "Michael Anti" on the China Digital Times (pictured above), I also learned about the admirable Berkeley China Internet Project and its related journalistic activities. If only these guys made an operating system . . .

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