Monday, February 06, 2006

Internet Lions Turn Paper Tiger in China

Tom Zeller Jr. writes in The New York Times:

What if the Chinese authorities didn't simply force Google to exclude sites like (the Human Rights Watch Web site) and from the Chinese version of its search engine results, or insist that Yahoo hop to whenever the government fancied the identity of one of its e-mail users, as the authorities have done?

What if they also stipulated that the chief executive of any Internet company doing business in China had to have "Mao Zedong — Luv U 4 Eva" tattooed across his back? Would the companies leave China?

The scary thing is, one might reasonably chew on that question longer than this one: What if Chinese law required Internet companies to reveal the identities of all users who forwarded really bad e-mail jokes, lame chain letters or any messages containing the terms "free speech," "Tiananmen Square" or "Super Freak," because such activities carried a 10-year prison term?

More here.


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