A Reaction to Microsoft Censorship

Inspired by an earlier Danwei post, here is a translation of a Chinese IT professional's thoughts on Microsoft and censorship:

It was an average weekend day that became one of the most unsual in my whole life. On that day, I sent two documents to 8 websites and media entities with whom I had a long relationship. Two hours later, my documents were published, most of them as featured articles. A couple of hours later they had mysteriously vanished. When I contacted the editors, I found out that Microsoft reacts quickly on the weekends, too; their public relations people worked the media and exerted pressure. If there was no effect, they employed special human relations to completely censor all of my articles. I worked to resurrect my documents, and at the same time copied all of the relevant information about this case into a file.

I worked an entire weekend, but Microsoft also worked an entire weekend. I was working for my own freedom of expression, and Microsoft was working to stifle my freedom of expression. Although I have previously criticized numerous companies and individuals, including Lenovo, Zhongguancun, and Intel, this is the first time that I've faced such a "powerful" freeze-out since I've been in IT.

I've never had such a busy day before. That day, I stopped caring about IT, and I stopped caring about big, national problems. I only cared about my own personal freedom of expression. For Microsoft, these are merely two critical articles. The company is certainly able to muster reams of rebuttal essays, and it could even go so far as to sue me. But to me, this is my freedom of expression, a basic human right.

Let me ask you, if Microsoft, which comes from a country of "freedom" and "democracy", will not allow a common Chinese citizen his freedom of expression, then how can we believe Ballmer's words that "We [Microsoft] want the Chinese software industry to grow"?

This was written by BlogChina founder Fang Xingdong after he had attempted in July, 2002, to post essays entitled I surrender to Microsoft and Why Microsoft? to various portals on the web.

Of course, at the time Microsoft was only working in the interest of its shareholders, and not at the behest of an evil regime.

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