Corporate-Assisted Repression of Expression

Microsoft shut down "a popular Chinese-language blog" by journalist Zhao Jing on December 30, on the grounds that it "has run edgy content potentially offensive to Chinese authorities." The blog "had criticized the government's firing of top editors at a progressive Beijing newspaper." Microsoft stated, "Most countries have laws and practices that require companies providing online services to make the internet safe for local users. ... In China, local laws and practices require consideration of unique elements." Mr. Zhao's earlier blog, hosted by the Scottish company Blog-City, was also blocked for writing about another newspaper. The Chinese government requires bloggers to register and prohibits online postings that are "against state security and public interest." Last year, Yahoo helped identify another Chinese journalist now serving a 10-year prison sentence for emailing a secret government order; Cisco Systems has sold web filter programs to Chinese authorities.