Chinesische Blogger empört über Microsoft
Die Zensur bei Microsofts Onlinedienst MSN hat viele chinesische Blogger verärgert:
Twenty-eight floors above the traffic-choked streets of China's most wired city, blogger and tech entrepreneur Isaac Mao sums up his opinion of Microsoft and its treatment of the Chinese bloggers with one word. "Evil," says Mao. "Internet users know what's evil and what's not evil, and MSN Spaces is an evil thing to Chinese bloggers." Mao, 33, knows something about the topic. In 2002, he was one of China's first bloggers, and since then his ideas on harnessing blogs, peer-to-peer and grass-roots technologies to empower the Chinese people have made him a respected voice in the global blogosphere. Today, Mao is a partner in a venture capital firm that funds Chinese internet startups, including a blog-hosting service occupying part of the market Microsoft hopes to move in on with MSN Spaces. The Chinese version of MSN Spaces is linked to the new MSN China portal, launched last month in partnership with Shanghai Alliance Investment, a company funded by the city government here. Last week that partnership plunged Microsoft into the long-standing controversy surrounding the Chinese government's internet censorship policies, after Asian blogs and news reports revealed that MSN Spaces blocks Chinese bloggers from putting politically sensitive language in the names of their blogs, or in the titles of individual blog entries. The words and phrases blocked by Microsoft include "Taiwan independence," "Dalai Lama," "human rights," "freedom" and "democracy." In a statement, lead MSN product manager Brooke Richardson said, "MSN abides by the laws, regulations and norms of each country in which it operates. The content posted on member spaces is the responsibility of individuals who are required to abide by MSN's code of conduct." Mao dismisses that statement as disingenuous. The company, he says, is going above and beyond official censorship practices, which deal decisively with speech critical of the ruling communist government, but don't outright ban words like "freedom." "They could try to reach a balance, so the users will understand, but the government won't try to make trouble for the business," says Mao. "Instead, they're just trying to flatter the government." Existing Chinese blog-hosting companies strike that balance by policing their members' blogs for postings that might get the company and its users in trouble: The phrase "China needs democracy," for example, would set off a red flag. But "democracy" itself is not a dirty word, says Mao. Likewise, text about human rights abuses outside of China is not banned.