Peking bringt US-Internetfirmen in Zwiespalt

Immer mehr Internetfirmen aus den USA drängen auf den chinesischen Markt. Dabei müssen sie abwägen, ob sie nach den die Meinungsfreiheit nicht hoch haltenden Regeln der chinesischen Regierung oder ihren eigenen Werten spielen:
U.S. tech giants are helping the Chinese express themselves online -- as long as they don't write about democracy, Tibet, sex, Tiananmen Square, Falun Gong, government corruption or any other taboo subject. Microsoft bans "democracy" and "Dalai Lama" from the Chinese version of its blog site. Yahoo recently turned over information that helped the Chinese government track down and imprison a journalist for the crime of forwarding an e-mail. Google omits banned publications from its Chinese news service. Critics say that cooperating with governments to suppress free speech violates human rights, international law and corporate ethics. But what the experts can't agree on is what the companies should do about it. The Internet -- even with limitations -- is generally considered a powerful democratizing force. If international companies withdrew from the Chinese Internet market, the result might mean even fewer chances for free communications there. "It's morally problematic that they are partnering with the Chinese government on censorship," said Timothy Fort, a professor of business ethics at George Washington University School of Business in Washington, D.C. "(But) their being there spurs the doomsday for the Communist government." From the very beginning of the Internet's development in China, the government has kept tight control, even as it encouraged the network's growth for the purpose of economic development. Sixty-two people are in prison for violating Internet content laws in China, far more than in any other country, according to the Paris advocacy group Reporters Without Borders. Internet service providers, Web sites and Internet cafes are expected to limit what their customers see and do online, and U.S. companies that provide Web sites to the Chinese are not exempt. Yahoo, for instance, filters its search results so that a search for "Free Tibet" in Chinese yields zero Web pages. Google does not censor its searches, although the Chinese government's system blocks many Web sites that Google links to.


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