Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Freedom of speech in China

It seems the discussion about truth telling continues. The Chinese government has found a way to severely censor its citizens.

According to USA Today, Microsoft has agreed to block words like democracy, human rights and freedom from its new Internet portal. Should users type in those words, this message will appear: "This item should not contain forbidden speech, such as profanity."

Last year, Google launched a new search engine in China, but its users get different search results than Westerners do. Links to Web sites such as BBC and Voice of America will not appear, because the Chinese government does not approve of some content on those sites.

In 2002, Yahoo China signed what is called a pledge of self-discipline, meaning it will not post "pernicious information that may jeopardize state security."

Is the money that can be made by expanding business in China worth placating a suppressive government and leaving behind the democratic ideals that allowed these American companies to thrive?

Of course, these companies should (as we all should) learn about and acclimate themselves to the cultures in which they are doing business. But true appreciation of a culture usually is born of a genuine interest in the welfare of its people.

These actions show no appreciation of culture or interest in the welfare of the public. It is simply selling out.

  • Podcasting News article

  • CNN article
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