China has reaffirmed its position on
policing its citizens' usage of the internet following Wednesdays Congressional
questioning of technology giants Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., Yahoo Inc.,
and Google Inc. The House of Representatives International Relations subcommittee
became interested after many accused Yahoo of providing information to the
Chinese government that led to the jailing of two of its e-mail service
subscribers as well as claims that tech companies were working with the Chinese
government to abolish free speech online in exchange for access to Chinese
markets. While Chinas ruling Communist Party encourages internet usage for
business and education it is not without limits. The Chinese government
strictly monitors and censors anything that it considers threatening or of a
critical nature to the government and has proven that it will not hesitate to
dole out harsh punishments for those found to be speaking against the ideals of
those in power.
It is a
precarious situation for U.S.
based technology companies. How do they go about venturing in to the huge
potential market of 110 million internet users in China while at the same time
abiding by Chinese government requirements? To do so without looking like the
bad guy to the rest of the world when the Chinese government imprisons its
people for speaking out against the government using evidence it has collected
from one of the U.S. based service providers may prove to be a stumbling block
that leaves a few serious bruises.
News source: The Daily Astorian / Associated Press