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Business At The Price Of Freedom

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the money-is-better-than-democracy dept.

Censorship 254

An anonymous reader writes "The TechZone has an article on how much technology companies setting up shops in China have to kowtow to the Chinese government. All the major search engines have given in to Chinese demands to throttle liberty in exchange for access to the Chinese market and Microsoft has blocked users of its MSN site from using the terms 'freedom,' 'democracy' and other concepts China has designated as dangerous. From the article: 'Most disconcerting are recent reports that Yahoo!'s Hong Kong operation is turning over emails which helped convict a reporter. Journalist Shi Tao was jailed and sentenced to 10 years in prison for "illegally sending state secrets abroad." The secrets that he revealed were information his newspaper received from the state propaganda department about how they could cover the 15th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. He was identified because he had used Yahoo!'s free email service for which Yahoo! turned over log files to authorities that were later tracked back to his computer.'"

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Yahoo does this crap. (4, Insightful)

Tuxedo Jack (648130) | about 9 years ago | (#13638852)

If you don't like it, don't use them. You do have a choice, you know.

Re:Yahoo does this crap. (2, Insightful)

ln -sf head ass (585724) | about 9 years ago | (#13638895)

As does Google, as does Microsoft, as does Cisco. Our "freedom loving" plutocracy allows American companies to assist in this crap scot free, while hypocritically decrying the illegitimate Communist government of Red China for things like persecution of Christians and violent repression of free speech such as that in the Tiananmen Square massacre. There are no choices--the plutocracy cares for money, no matter whose rights it tramples or whom it kills.

Re:Yahoo does this crap. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13638898)

Yeah use Google...they are "Not Evil". Oh wait, they caved to the Chi-Coms too. Let's use MSN. Oh wait, they caved as well.

Well what do you expect when the US Govt is in bed with the Chinese eh? At least the EU stands firm! Oh wait, the EU desparately wanted to sell the Chi-Coms weapons last year. Crap.

Everyone has caved to the almighty dollar (or yen, or Euro, or name_your_currency).

How much choice is there really?

Re:Yahoo does this crap. (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 9 years ago | (#13639213)

" If you don't like it, don't use them. You do have a choice, you know."

Sure, we have that choice... for now. But what happens when all available choices are doing the same thing? The only reason a large company would not submit to China's demands is if doing so would make them lose more business elsewhere. The size of the Chinese market and the relative indifference of consumers preclude this.

Assuming that Chinese policy is wrong, wouldn't it be best for China to change their policy? As more and more companies give in to China's demands, their restrictions on free speech on the internet are becoming a foregone conclusion. Simply not using Yahoo isn't going to change Yahoo's policy, nor China's.

If you want change in China, be proactive. Don't just not use Yahoo -- pass the word to people who are unaware. Let Yahoo know how much business they are losing. Investigate who else bends to the Chinese government, boycott and spread the word.

You may feel like you're doing something by not using Yahoo, and you are. But it's not enough. Have you forwarded the article to your non-Slashdot reading friends who might be concerned about speech limitations in China, asking them to boycott Yahoo?

Have you contacted your legislators about this, to make them aware that you are concerned? Whether or not government can or will do anything about it, public officials need to know.

Here's contact info for US Congresspeople: []

You should also contact your state legislators -- I could see Massachusetts (for example) disallowing Yahoo use in government offices if enough residents do so.

Have you written a letter to Yahoo demanding change, explaining why you are boycotting them and organizing others to do so?

Here's a link to Yahoo's management team bios: l []

Here's a link to Yahoo's board of directors: l []

Yahoo's address is:
701 First Ave Sunnyvale CA 97809

Slashdot looks different (-1, Offtopic)

(1337) God (653941) | about 9 years ago | (#13638855)

It's sized for a geriatric blind woman with a colostomy bag.

What the fuck happened?

And nothing will change . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13638861)

. . . unless and until the executives of these companies, and the American techs on the ground who were "only following orders" are brought back in chains and tried. If I had my druthers, they'd all be hauled to The Hague in chains, tried for crimes against humanity, and hanged.

Re:And nothing will change . . . (2, Insightful)

dnoyeb (547705) | about 9 years ago | (#13638928)

What is so interesting is these businesses are operating in direct opposition to the position of the Presidend of the United States. His position is to forward democracy and democratic values. These businesses are supporting just the opposite. I wonder what the president will do about this.

This is the same ole shit. Just like when all these companies supported Apartheid in South Africa. And China supports oppresive regimes in Africa now.

Do we really want our debt financed by China? What type of barganing power does this give them over us while our economy is so fragile?

It's worse than you think! (4, Informative)

ImaLamer (260199) | about 9 years ago | (#13639151)

I wonder what the president will do about this.

Nothing, of course. Just like no one did anything when U.S. corporations set up shop in the newly formed Soviet Union. You don't challenge corporations - it doesn't work.

Do we really want our debt financed by China? What type of barganing power does this give them over us while our economy is so fragile?

Our debt financed by China? It's worse than that. Did you know that during that housing boom we just had that the Chinese central banks sunk a lot of the national treasury into the American mortgage market? They sure don't believe in property rights in China, but over here it's another story. story_id=4221685 []

Not only has China played a role in holding down short-term interest rates, but the People's Bank of China has also supported America's mortgage market by buying vast amounts of mortgage-backed securities.

What does the breaking of the yuan's peg to the dollar mean for bond yields? American Treasury yields rose by 12 basis points after Beijing made its announcement last week. Having played a hand in inflating America's housing bubble, could China now prick it by pushing up mortgage rates, which are closely tied to long-term bond yields?

If abandoning its dollar peg causes China to reduce its purchases of T-bonds, then yields will rise. But this depends on several uncertainties. For instance, will last week's revaluation reduce inflows of speculative capital into China, and hence its need to intervene in the foreign-exchange market by buying dollars? A large chunk of China's foreign-exchange intervention over the past year has been to offset not its current-account surplus but inflows of hot money. Some economists believe that, in the short term, the small revaluation will intensify speculation of further revaluations and so attract even more capital inflows, forcing the People's Bank of China to buy more Treasury bonds to stabilise its currency. If so, bond yields will remain low.

On the other hand, the switch from a dollar peg to a currency basket may cause China to diversify its reserves away from dollars. It is unlikely to dump its dollars, but it could well reduce its new purchases of Treasury bonds in favour of other currencies. And, if China really has broken the yuan's link with the dollar, then this could be the trigger for another general slide in the greenback against the euro, the yen and other currencies, prompting investors to demand higher yields. The fate of American house prices could thus be determined by unelected bureaucrats in Beijing rather than the unelected central bankers of the West.

Re:And nothing will change . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639225)

What is so interesting is these businesses are operating in direct opposition to the position of the Presidend of the United States. His position is to forward democracy and democratic values. These businesses are supporting just the opposite. I wonder what the president will do about this.

Well, considering that the president says he supports democracy and freedom and then acts to curb both within the US, I don't think there will be any conflict between the government and big-business on this issue.

Re:And nothing will change . . . (3, Insightful)

NoOneInParticular (221808) | about 9 years ago | (#13639341)

Are you that naive? Do you honestly believe that the Prez of the US of A has any more important mission than to progress the wealth of the corporations of that same US of A? Do they actually teach history where you come from? For the last century or so, the USA foreign policy has been primarily focussed on making sure that US corporations can make money. Why do you think that has changed?

To spell it out: democracy in prez-speak means freedom for corporations to make money. Democratic values is the value of being able to make money without being hampered too much. You see, those damn Arabs don't buy much of our stuff, so we need to bring democracy to them.

Okay, a bit over the top this, but the point is that from the US point of view, business comes first, democratic values come second. This has always been the case, and I don't see a change under the current administration. You don't think that the American benevolence towards Iraq has nothing to do with the fact that Iraq is important for business? Unlike, say Sudan?

Re:And nothing will change . . . (0, Flamebait)

mark_hill97 (897586) | about 9 years ago | (#13638955)

Yes, we should KILL PEOPLE for following local laws. It's people like you that make me sick

Re:And nothing will change . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639004)

Local laws? They're American companies. U.S. law should prohibit them from helping the ChiComs oppress their people. Absent that, the U.N. must step in to prosecute. People like you, who value money over freedom, make me want to puke.

Re:And nothing will change . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639062)

Yes, we should KILL PEOPLE for following local laws.

Oh yeah cause we all know that "Local Laws" are much more important than humand rights, freedom and ethics.

Why people go into business... (-1, Redundant)

Pao|o (92817) | about 9 years ago | (#13638862)

1. Go into business in China

2. Rat out some dissidents

3. ...

4. Profit!

Re:Why people go into business... (0, Flamebait)

Coniptor (22220) | about 9 years ago | (#13639022)

And spend eternity burning in hell.
Have fun idiot.

I know some one that will pay me $500 if I naplam your ass.

Boycott Yahoo (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13638863)

Americans are dying everyday to bring democracy to the world, and Yahoo sells freedom down the river for a few Yen.

Dissidents of repressive regimes should be supported.

Students died for freedom in Tianamin but I guess Yahoo has no Do No Evil Policy

Yahoo should be deeply ashamed.

Boycott these Bastards.

Re:Boycott Yahoo (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13638893)

Yen is Japanese currency. You're looking for Yuan.

Your argument would be more effective if you displayed at least some knowledge about the region, rather than the hyperbole that keeps getting fed to you over the boob tube.

Re:Boycott Yahoo (1)

bartok (111886) | about 9 years ago | (#13639039)

So are Google, MSN and all other search engines that have a presence in China.

Re:Boycott Yahoo (1)

hashfunction (861726) | about 9 years ago | (#13639083)

"Americans are dying everyday to bring democracy to the world"

Sure... whatever makes you sleep better at night []

Re:Boycott Yahoo (2, Insightful)

liangzai (837960) | about 9 years ago | (#13639108)

Right, Americans are dying everyday, but no one asked them to come. It is the same in China. Believe it or not, but most Chinese stand behind the government in principle.

There will be a day when China is ready for democracy, but that is still ahead of us. When the day comes, the instruments (Google and other Internet tools) will be in place to facilitate the regime shift.

Today, our goal is to tie China as tightly as we can to the rest of the world, so as to make it inevitable that democracy is on the roadmap. That is why we want to see Beijing host the olympics. That is why we want China in the WTO. That is why we want Amurcan and other Western companies having a strong presence in China.

Re:Boycott Yahoo (1)

zephc (225327) | about 9 years ago | (#13639163)

I think that's a good idea. Revolution is impossibly anymore in the quick, violent style - you'd get crushed. Education and information and putting China in the global spotlight are better ways. But don't think for a minute that the IOC (International Olympic Committee) won't immediately bend over backwards to accommodate an authoritarian regime - the IOC is just as quick to muffle independent reporting, etc. (though at least no one gets sentenced to death).

The scope.. (2, Insightful)

knightinshiningarmor (653332) | about 9 years ago | (#13638864)

The companies that are already in China know how to work with the government. They're not going to do anything stupid.

This seems like a warning message to companies like Google and Microsoft, who in recent events expressed interest in targeting China (in a marketing, not tactical, sense). Will these large corporations fall flat on their face when they move into China?

Totally different here in America (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13638875)

In America we don't kowtow to the government, we bend over and grab our ankles.

Re:Totally different here in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639228)

Mod parent up

Re:Totally different here in America (1)

snilloc (470200) | about 9 years ago | (#13639236)

(Mods, "Insightful"?)

Cindy Sheehan, darling of the left, staged a prolonged protest of GWB and the war.

What happened? She got made fun of a little bit in the right-wing press and blogs because she's an idiot. Now she's making decent cash as a lefty keynote speaker.

So, if by you mean "bend over...", you mean become a political starlet and make money, then yes, we must bend over.

Looks like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13638881)

Re:Looks like (1)

sabre307 (451605) | about 9 years ago | (#13639321)

I guess you really didn't read the article that you were directing people to, and don't seem to understand exactly what fascism and communism are. I would say it looks alot like communism. If they aren't careful they will become a communist country... Oh wait, that's right, they are! Thanks alot there Captain Obvious! You really saved the day!!!

Guess what... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13638882)

I hate niggers, yes I do
I hate niggers, how about you
the world can go go on with out them
and we can can all be free
now what are they going to do about,
nigger-hatting me.

money buys everything (1)

bvdbos (724595) | about 9 years ago | (#13638885)

Though, like often, I would like to fall into some serious US-bashing I'm afraid the whole world sees China as THE market for the future with huge profits. The fact that there's oppression doesn't withold big company's from making money. OTOH, Chinese people get to learn more and more about freedom dealing with the internet and dealing with other countries. The US-navy actively sponsores TOR to help the freedom of speech in China...

Freedom comes from business (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13638887)

Freedom comes from business. If I do not have a job how can I feed my family? If I do not have a job how can I keep my family healthy? If I do not have a job how can I afford to donate money to political campaigns? If I have no job how can I afford to protect my intellectual property from thieves?

Freedom only exists because of the free market, so if you denigrate businesses and the free market then you are denigrating freedom and the sacrifices made by heros past in protecting your freedom to live. Think about that next time you want to speak out against business.

Re:Freedom comes from business (1)

wrf3 (314267) | about 9 years ago | (#13639040)

On the other hand, once you have those things security can become more important than freedom. Freedom is messy, fraught with uncertainty, and demands great personal responsibility (irresponsible people require more government, thereby restricting freedom). Those qualities don't come from business, although they can be found in many people who start businesses.

Re: does SLAVERY ring a bell? (2, Interesting)

s388 (910768) | about 9 years ago | (#13639310)

freedom comes from business?

slavery was a business. did you know that? have you heard of it? it was a major cashcow, too.

i don't think you've noticed this either: many, or even most, people who have jobs still can't afford to donate to political campaigns.

have you ever heard of child-labor? the so-called free market necessitates such things, from the perspective of THE BOTTOM LINE, the profit/greed motive.

maybe you're about to say "Everyone is Free to be Rich." unfortunately, "being rich" by definition means a CONCENTRATION of wealth, which by definition means other people aren't rich.

have you ever heard of colonialism? mercantilism? the subjugation of entire countries had "business", money, and resources as its goal.

have you heard of christopher columbus? his crews murdered many people for gold. they came to the so-called New World for money and resources. that's business.

and i'm sure you also haven't realized this: some of the most tyrannical regimes in modern history had "free markets." they even hunted down and imprisoned or executed communists (communists are people who oppose capitalism and say a lot of nasty things about "free markets). hitler and mussolini both gave entirely free reign to big business. (in your view, the bigger the business, the freer the people, right?)

you're telling me that when i denigrate those enterprises, i'm denigrating freedom?

if freedom only comes from business, then what did the "heros" you're talking about sacrifice to protect my freedom to live? you make no sense.

the idea that "freedom" only exists because of the free market is one of the most absurd things i've heard in recent times. maybe you were joking, maybe this doesn't need a response, but i can't say i'm very optimistic these days.

Re:Freedom comes from business (3, Interesting)

mlgunner (219100) | about 9 years ago | (#13639329)

Freedom does NOT come from business. Business comes from freedom. At our countries founding, Big Business as we know it did not exist. The only big businesses there were at that time, were government sponsered oppressive colinization sceams like the East India Company which forced Indian's to do business with the English. Our country (the USA) was filled with small independant business people who grew their businesses by being able to freely and openly do business with anyone else that was able, without restrictions. You cannot do this without basic freedoms of speech, movement, and control of the government BY the people. NONE of which is availible to the Chinese people at this time. The only thing our businesses will do is help the Chinese government to oppress its own people, and force them to do business only with the companies that support their "evil empire". Its a sad state of affairs, but our Corporations seem to have reverted back to the old East India Company mode.

Just goes to show (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13638894)

Americans and their modern "gangs" (corporates) will do anything for a buck
i guess it shows how desperate they (and the so-called-civilized western world) are

Greed is good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13638897)

The point is ladies and gentlemen that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of it's forms - greed for life, for money, knowledge - has marked the upward surge of mankind and greed - you mark my words - will not only save Teldar Paper but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you.

-Gordon Gekko

Sounds better in German (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639232)

Geiz is Geil! (litterally: greed is horny)

Merely a matter of degree (5, Insightful)

fuzzy12345 (745891) | about 9 years ago | (#13638903)

Not to underplay the concessions that China forces out of businesses operating there, but...

How about US corporations cooperating with CALEA (all wiretaps, all the time), broadcasters knuckling down on popular entertainment figures for fear of reprisals from the FCC, and ISPs who almost always say "we are cooperating fully with authorities," code for "we're not going to challenge the dodgy search warrant (or the fact that there's none at all), but will turn over subscriber records at the drop of a hat to avoid abusive regulators getting tough on us over other issues if we don't play ball. Other examples, anyone?

China isn't a free country. (3, Insightful)

ImaLamer (260199) | about 9 years ago | (#13639090)

I would be worried if China even acted like a "free country", but they don't. They are pretty open with the idea that they are restricting speech on the Internet, they aren't hiding it.

Now, OTOH, my country claims to be free - and it isn't. Your examples show this fact. So, let's stop talking about China and start talking about something we might be able to change: America

Re:China isn't a free country. (1)

smokin_juan (469699) | about 9 years ago | (#13639274)

Mod points to you.

At least China is being honest.

It seems that the only real difference between China and the US in terms of freedom of speech is that over there you know what will get you thrown in jail whereas here you just can't tell.

"Why am I on the no-fly list?"

"Sorry sir, I couldn't tell you even if I knew."

"Why am I on the no-fly list?" (2, Funny)

falconwolf (725481) | about 9 years ago | (#13639331)

"Sorry sir, I couldn't tell you even if I knew."

If Kennedy can't find out why he's on the list they won't tell you either.


United States isn't a free country. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639343)

I love how little media reporting there was when the NSA Key was found in Microsoft Windows. And that's from before the police powers "patriot" act passed without any elected representatives having read it.

Propaganda piece, nothing more (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13638906)

All of the so-called civil rights atrocities cited in the article, are now common practise in both Europe and America, no differently than in Asia.

Nothing to see here, move along sheep.

Boycott Yahoo! (3, Funny)

brian0918 (638904) | about 9 years ago | (#13638910)

This is ridiculous. Surely the stockholders can't think highly of this incident.

Surely the stock holders can't think. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13638967)

Don't ya think?

Re:Boycott Yahoo! (2, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | about 9 years ago | (#13639103)

Actually the stock holders are probably pleased with this behavior. Business is not about people, it's about money. Playing nice with the Chinese government, no matter how ridiculous it is to the rest of the world, means tapping into a rich, delicate market. It means more money. More money = happy stock holders.

The only "real" way to protest against China's disregard for honest society, would be to go to war with them and eliminate those responsible for this disgusting mistreatment of human beings. Now, are we really going to start a war to solve someone else's problems ? No. The revolution has to start from within. If the chinese population wants to see change, they'll have to do it themselves.

Re:Boycott Yahoo! (2, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 years ago | (#13639200)

From the comments I've heard people make in the last month, it doesn't matter what a company does in another country - (even if the company is American) - as long as it's legal or is required, demanded, condoned by the government of the country they are doing it in.

In other words, if it's legal to have seven year old kids sewing shoes for your company to sell, locked in a basement with no ventilation or breaks - that's fine. If it's required that you turn over documents and inform on every employee you have and report the gay employees and non-(insert religion here) employees for government extermination - fine. If it means keeping tabs on office romances so that adulterers (women only of course) can be stoned to death, then so be it! It's just the cost of doing business and who are we to judge whether stoning a woman to death for cheating or executing non-believers or putting toddlers to work in a sweatshop is wrong?! It's called moral and ethical relativism and it rules the day now. Right or wrong only applies in the context of what others say is right or wrong in your specific part of the world and that's that.

But don't take my word for it. Just search for past comments from people on slashdot related to the Yahoo! incident in China.

Re:Boycott Yahoo! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639305)

What is funny here is that why we are all pissed off about this, it is exactly the same sort of thing that would be required by the US gov't. Should reasonable companies in the US be expected to disobey the gov't when Bush's brownshirts demand them to (and the same sorts of thing happened under Clinton's administration -- they just weren't as overt about it).

The thing is, the reporter knew he was breaking the law. Why should a private company have to play underground railroad for someone they didn't even know? The law sucks in China. And the laws on the same subjects are slowly being changed in the US to be the same (i.e., YRO commented a few years back about the fact that it is now law that any public library has to hand over not just computer logs but any books checked out by specific individuals -- without a warrent -- to law enforcement agencies with no reason other than they requested it).

So -- why should Yahoo be held up to a higher standard in China than they would be held to in the US? Quite a bit of hand wringing going on about this in both the liberal media as well as the conservative media both with their own take on it as why their side should be more justified in villifying Yahoo in the process.

This is terrible!! (1)

blue_adept (40915) | about 9 years ago | (#13638911)

How are the Chinese supposed to know what's going on in the world if they can't listen to Voice of America??

The name of the rose (1)

mikaelhg (47691) | about 9 years ago | (#13638929)

They should just name their re-education camps Guantanamo Bay 1-2500 and suddenly all this would become a-okay and a commendable act in the war against terrorism.

No different in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13638934)

When you leak this kind of information in the US you probably won't get away with only 10 years...

There's Freenet and GPG on Free Operating Systems (4, Informative)

c0l0 (826165) | about 9 years ago | (#13638942)

...and virtually a million ways to cloak sensitive data from You Personal Government's eyes. It's sad those who could have saved their liberty by using those, often did not do so, obviously :(

Re:There's Freenet and GPG on Free Operating Syste (1)

planetoid (719535) | about 9 years ago | (#13639017)

While I don't have a source offhand, I wouldn't hesitate in guessing that encryption technology and the use thereof probably has questionable legal status in China just as much as political speech itself.

Have you ever tried using Freenet? (1)

CyricZ (887944) | about 9 years ago | (#13639280)

Let's be honest. Anyone who has actually tried using Freenet knows rather quickly that it's just not that usable. Perhaps it is more secure than the WWW, but it is nowhere near as useful. I mean, waiting literally half a day to obtain a few KB of content isn't worth it. Chances are if you're in a despotic situation then you won't be able to wait the long times necessary with Freenet.

The fine line (2, Insightful)

brajesh (847246) | about 9 years ago | (#13638953)

There was a recent article [] on the same topic in SF chronicle.

One of the compelling argument was "If the Chinese custom is to make children work or to kill women, you wouldn't do it," said Julien Pain, head of the Internet Freedom Desk at Reporters Without Borders.

I wonder where should the line be drawn.

The proverbial canary. (4, Insightful)

dominion (3153) | about 9 years ago | (#13638956)

If ever the US government took a sharp turn towards authoritarianism, we can assume that no large US corporation would take a stand against it. In fact, these will be the first organizations to tow the line, like the spineless Iraqi politicians who, while dissidents were being led out and shot by Hussein, responded by standing up and declaring their allegience.

IBM's role in the holocaust had nothing to do with a shared ideal with Nazism, and everything to do with the fact that dirty money spends just as well as anything.

And there's usually more of it.

Re:The proverbial canary. (1)

hashfunction (861726) | about 9 years ago | (#13639181)

or how, while innocent iraqi's are being slaughtered by the americans every day, tortured and abused by the racist attitude every single day, people like you are the first to 'support the troops'!

Re:The proverbial canary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639207)

So you would rather see our troops die? You make me sick. Hope you get drafted, sent to Iraq and have your legs blown off.

Re:The proverbial canary. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639237)

Be careful when you wish that people get drafted, especially if you have family "serving."

The day I get drafted and issued a weapon over my objections to being in the military is the day that I turn that weapon on every ranking officer in line of sight and hopefully manage to decimate an entire unit before they kill me.

I hate this country, you can bet I'm a traitor and given half a chance I'll tear it to the ground someday. No, I won't leave it if I don't like it, I have a responsibility to humanity to stay and try to end it.

I wonder what happens if... (1)

zappepcs (820751) | about 9 years ago | (#13638958)

I wonder what happens if all those Chinese Yahoo users start getting emails from all over the world detailing the things they would like to know about their own government. How much can Yahoo actually filter? If it was as plentiful as spam, surely the message would start getting through. What message? Pick one. I'm sure that international headlines about the Chinese government would be a good start. Chinese ex-pats should be able to tell people. Can't we get spammers to do something good once? The power of millions of sources of sensored material should be a challenge that the Chinese government cannot overcome with today's technology without shutting themselves off from the world again. It seems a simple thing to do, just spam the entire Chinese TLD space with news articles and information that has been previously sensored. After all, information wants to be free.... Well, its a thought.

Re:I wonder what happens if... (1)

ohjethuth (911851) | about 9 years ago | (#13639046)

Sounds like a job for Team America!

Ethics (1)

Undaar (210056) | about 9 years ago | (#13638970)

Unfortunately, since Yahoo isn't a government-run business they're not bound by any kind of code of ethics. The company is only bound by the ethical decisions that the owners and/or board of directors decide when making large business decisions.

As long as they're not doing anything illegal, then in a free-market system we, as consumers, have no option but to not buy their product. That is, if we object to their policies.

It's up to us.

Re:Ethics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639194)

Yahoo has a product you can buy?

Re:Ethics (1)

ScriptedReplay (908196) | about 9 years ago | (#13639253)

As I see it, the Chinese branch of Yahoo is clearly bound by Chinese laws (including the 'whatever the Chinese government decides to wish this week' law) As in China privacy from government eyes does not seem to be a right, the government may, at its leisure, require information about its own citizens - and it would be legal to acquire it following any means necessary. Anyone living under a communist regime would be aware of that. Following this point of view, if the Chinese government wanted the info badly enough, they might just have seized Yahoo's local servers and searched the logs themselves.

Now, Yahoo TOS clearly states that they would disclose information if bound so by law - and as such, this action does not breach the TOS. So what is all the noise about? Would any other webmail provider have done the same thing? most probably. This is business, Yahoo is interested in itself and not in babysitting users[*]. Yeah, it's heartless, but companies never had hearts.

It's sad that a guy wanting to fight oppression got caught and imprisonned, but these things happen all the time in this type of war - and it could have been worse, internal 'enemies' of communist states are known to have disappeared completely. The good part is that it will make others more careful. As to the /. crowd crying bloody murder, you guys should stop assuming that the Chinese government is afraid to use an iron fist just because they are showing you a velvet glove. This kind of naivity landed Shi Tao in jail.

[*] cue Clippy dancing image:
Welcome to La-La-Land. It looks like you're about to send an email that might have contents deemed sensitive by your local government. Would you like to:
  • encrypt the contents using PGP
  • use an anonymizing proxy
  • all of the above
  • change the contents
  • send the email as it is

Is capitalism soluble in comunism ? (1)

Schwarzy (70560) | about 9 years ago | (#13638974)

Sometimes, I wonder if market economy can success in a totalitarian country. It would be a huge blow in face of economist's theories if this is the case.

I am very curious about this.

Re:Is capitalism soluble in comunism ? (4, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | about 9 years ago | (#13639098)

"Sometimes, I wonder if market economy can success in a totalitarian country. It would be a huge blow in face of economist's theories if this is the case."

(1) Communism != totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is a method of administering government, not economy. Here's a question for you: is it possible to have a communist economy with a democratic government?

(2) China does not have a purely communist economy; many reforms have occurred to foster (somewhat) free markets.

By accepted definition, capitalism cannot exist within communism -- they are two faces of a coin. Perhaps the subject of your post should have been, "Can capitalism exist under a totalitarian government?"

Or perhaps, "Can capitalism and communism co-exist in one political system?"

Re:Is capitalism soluble in comunism ? (1)

linguae (763922) | about 9 years ago | (#13639159)

Yes. You might want to check out the history of Pinochet's rule in Chile. Pinochet was a totalitarian ruler who brought free-market economics to Chile. Laissez-faire capitalism can exist in a totalitarian government, just like socialism can exist in a democracy or a republic.

Re:Is capitalism soluble in comunism ? (1)

liangzai (837960) | about 9 years ago | (#13639168)

No, it wouldn't. Not at all. You can very well have a market economy in a totalitarian state. Chile had one. China has one.

In fact, market economy precedes democracy, and before there is market economy, there can't be democracy.

Furthermore, China IS totalitarian, but it is NOT communist, other than in the name. It has in fact never been communist; there was never a proletarian revolution in China, since there wasn't an industrial proletariat, There has never been any social welfare in China of the kind seen in Eastern Europe, which had free education, free medicaid and so on. In China, you have always paid for you schooling and medical treatment, and if you didnät have money, you were basically fucked. This is still so.

China was Maoist between 1949 to 1976, not Communist.

Time was, US Gov't would've pulled the plug (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 9 years ago | (#13638986)

Back in The Cold War, the US Government would've prohibited companies from assisting totalitarian regimes when it comes to things like this.

Assuming of course those regimes were Communist. Sadly, anti-communist dictatorships were another matter altogether.

was he looking for it? (0, Flamebait)

giorgiofr (887762) | about 9 years ago | (#13639006)

if "Journalist" Shi Tao is as stupid as to allow something like this to happen, then he deserves it. it's not like pgp, freenet/tor/what have you, anon remailers etc do not exist. what's that you say, there's the death penalty for possessing such software in china? surprise, surprise: freedom is not free.
hello and welcome to the real world.

Re:was he looking for it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639086)

it's not like pgp, freenet/tor/what have you, anon remailers etc do not exist.

those things exist outside China; inside, however, you're not even allowed to talk about them. it could well be that he never heard of secure communication.

Re:was he looking for it? (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 9 years ago | (#13639325)

those things exist outside China;

It's amazing how many open proxies (even socks, connect, ...) exist in China. Just check your usual sources , [] , publicproxyservers [] , or the all-time favorite rosinstrument [] (check several times a day, list cycles).

And contrarily to popular belief you can search for words such as Tibet, Falun Gong or Tienanmen even using those proxies... (as well as use those proxies to put such words on a suitable unsecure ASP IIS server...).

Also, the very fact that the Chinese authorities needed to contact Yahoo to get the info seems to be proof that the Great Firewall of China is not as great as it is made out to be (or else the Chinese authorities could have gleaned the info much more discreetly from their firewall logs...)

This is new? (3, Insightful)

Crixus (97721) | about 9 years ago | (#13639014)

Since when in this modern production age hasn't this been the case? China had almost always had "Most Favored Nation" trading status with us, even when their tank treads were rolling over protesting college students.

And while American corporations MAY want access to their markets now that they are growing as consumers, were that market not growing, corporations would be perfectly happy to only exploit the Chinese labor force to make cheaper widgets.

Once again showing that the US could give a RATS ASS about democracy. All ourt leaders care about is serving their corporate masters and opening foreign markets to exploitation.

Re:It's more than the cheap labor (1)

technoextreme (885694) | about 9 years ago | (#13639078)

And while American corporations MAY want access to their markets now that they are growing as consumers, were that market not growing, corporations would be perfectly happy to only exploit the Chinese labor force to make cheaper widgets
There is more to it than cheap labor. My teacher said it also has to do with environmental regulations also.

Re:This is new? (4, Funny)

WilliamSChips (793741) | about 9 years ago | (#13639080)

This is the US Government Test for seeing if a nation is our friend or not:

Is the nation's leader anti-communist?
If yes, the nation is probably our friend.
If no, go to next question.

Does the nation allow US Corporations to help them exploit their citizens?
If yes, it is definitely our friend.
If no, then they are our evil commie terrorist enemy, and must be destroyed in the name of FREEDOM(of US corporations to make as much money as possible) and DEMOCRACY(of US corporations to decide on what the government should do).

Re:This is new? (1)

Fred_A (10934) | about 9 years ago | (#13639217)

Excellent summary. This has been true for the past 50 years at least.

Not really a surprise... (1)

camusflage (65105) | about 9 years ago | (#13639032)

Should it be really surprising that they do this? They're going to turn their back on a country that is 20% of the world's population?

It's better in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639087)

How dare we tolerate regimes that oppress their citizens fundamental freedoms, like speech and private behaviour. China is so evil, America would never do anything like that.
Face it neocon bush worshippers, America is just as bad. But I'm sure you'd never detain innocent people indefinitely or shoot protestors like those nasty foreigners!

Did they really have to comply - maybe not (2, Informative)

ctwxman (589366) | about 9 years ago | (#13639092)

There was an editorial piece in the New York Times which pointed out Yahoo's Hong Kong subsidiary responded to the Chinese government's request. Under the current law, Hong Kong is still autonomous in this regard. That subsidiary was under no more legal control of the Chinese than Yahoo's home office in the United States.

Here's another similar take [] from Guo Guoting, an attorney

Lawyer Guo has practiced law in China for over 20 years. He believes that, "Yahoo! Inc. is not under any legal obligation to 'conform to the laws of the countries in which they operate,' as was claimed by Jerry Yang." As a law expert, Guo explained that, "Yahoo! Inc. is obligated to first obey International Law. If the International Law happens to be in conflict with the laws in China or with the CCP's strategies, then the International Law should take precedence, which is an internationally acknowledged principle. China is a signatory of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and of the International Covenant on Human Rights. Shi Tao simply exercised his right to the freedom of expression by sending mail. In addition, he was legitimately practicing his profession, not committing a crime. Consequently, Yahoo! Inc. has no legal obligation to cooperate with the government. The legal entity of Yahoo! Holdings (Hong Kong) is not in China, so it is not obligated to operate within the laws of China or to cooperate with the Chinese police."

There is a saying about doing business in China (1)

pHatidic (163975) | about 9 years ago | (#13639097)

It's only safe to do business in China if they need you more than you need them.

And don't forget Cisco (1)

slavemowgli (585321) | about 9 years ago | (#13639099)

And don't forget Cisco - they're the ones who provided the hardware etc. for China's nation-wide firewall, after all. I'm sure they made a pretty penny with helping curtail Chinese internet users' freedom that way...

Herd mentality (1)

FishandChips (695645) | about 9 years ago | (#13639104)

Herd mentality to a large degree. The received wisdom is that China is the next boom time, so every thinks it will be. Everyone then thinks they can't afford not to be in the Chinese market because all their competitors will be. It's surprising that it's taken so long for dirty deeds among IT companies to float into view. Press barons like Rupert Murdoch were bending over before the Chinese government a decade ago.

So adopt a contrarian view. The Chinese banking system is known to be flakey as hell. Corruption is rampant. The Chinese have not, so far, shown themselves adept at setting up on a large scale in other countries. And the more wealthy parts of China become, so the more they will start to contempate secession into a state of their own. This next big thing could easily implode and become the next big nightmare.

So keep away from the Yahoos of this world. No one has to use them. I wonder where Saint Google fits into this.

What did Yahoo do wrong? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639109)

When it comes to seeking information on our users, we have a very clear-cut set of rules that any government has to engage with us through court documents, legal documents and legal procedures.

We get a lot of those every day around the world. We get hundreds of those in the US, we get hundreds in Europe, we get a lot of them in China. We do not know what they want that information for. We're not told what they look for. If they give us the proper documentation and a court order, we give them things that satisfy both our privacy policy and the local rules.

Sounds like what Yahoo did was very reasonable. The proper procedure was followed, with court orders and all that. The problem is with the PRC's laws and legal system, not with Yahoo.

Also, I wonder if there's any ulterior motives behind all the sensationalistic reporting by Yahoo's media competitors. Many of these companies would have a lot to gain if significant numbers of Yahoo's readers/viewers joined a boycott.

So what? (0, Troll)

gelfling (6534) | about 9 years ago | (#13639128)

Yes let's all weep for the poor poor Chinese.

screw yahoo... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639138)

first they put a lawsuit to take over xfire, now this shit?

"Freedom" is more than political freedom (1)

syndicate0198 (917449) | about 9 years ago | (#13639145)

All this talk about freedom really makes me wonder if the people here care about quality of life or are they just interested in freedom because it's a buzzword that's been pushed onto us by the media and our government. Fact is, China's quality of life has been improving steadily over the years, even over those of democratic governments. Freedom is not only political freedom - it's socioeconomic freedom as well, which is more important, as evidenced by the voter participation rate here. Democratic governments are easy to manipulate by other powerful countries, such as the United States. This is one of the reasons why the American government has such a vested interest in promoting democracy, rather than quality of life. If they truly cared about quality of life, they would donate technological expertise, educate the population, and create industries that the population actually owns, instead of sending multinational corporations to "invest" and work their population dry.

All-American Microsoft (1)

node357 (889400) | about 9 years ago | (#13639152)

M$ Against freedom? How un-american! Is that the kind of feather they really want in their cap? I hope the mass media gets all over this sickening censorship campaign. There has been no finer of example of M$ selling our souls for $$$.

Capitalism... (1)

NeedleSurfer (768029) | about 9 years ago | (#13639175)

"If we were to announce today that we intend to hang all capitalists tomorrow, they would trip over each other trying to sell us the rope."

Vladimir Lenin (or so they say...)

Capitalism just suck, in the name of economic freedom personnal freedom need to be set asside because they are bad for the economy. Although I believe communism also suck for many other reasons (there is more to life than capitalism OR communism, a huge grey area in between and quite a lot of space before reaching boundaries, heck we could even think of something new...) I still quote a communist leader who said something about capitalism that trully resume what's happening here, like it or not, Vladimir Lenin was right this time.

Even more disturbing... (1)

KeithH (15061) | about 9 years ago | (#13639192)

is the fact that this article is coming from TechZone and not NYTimes or the Washington Post.

Re:Even more disturbing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639384)

That's because left-leaning papers like the New York Times and the Washington Post are pretty close to being in agreement with the Communists. Remember, communism is a leftist ideal.

China-bashing hypocrites? (1)

syndicate0198 (917449) | about 9 years ago | (#13639204)

I wonder how many people here have actually been to China for more than 2 weeks? Not many I reckon. In fact most of the (mis)information has been propagated by our media, most of whom have an agenda (hey they can't set up business there, so they bash the system).

I wonder how many people here make fun of Chinese or Asian stereotypes and yet bash China because they are "oppressing" the Chinese population.

I wonder how many people here are worried about immigration of people here and yet decry the low living standards in rural China.

How many people here complain about jobs going to Chinese and yet claim they are worried about the Chinese population being oppressed?

How many people here complain about Tibet and yet turn a blind eye toward Native Americans, Hawaii, and other American colonies?

My guess is many, and it all stems from ignoarance or being hypocritical.

Re:China-bashing hypocrites? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 9 years ago | (#13639231)

I wonder how many people here have actually been to China for more than 2 weeks?

I have. More than once.

red (1)

Legodude522 (847797) | about 9 years ago | (#13639206)

Yahoo! was always Red. Didn't you ever look at the logo?

What About Google? (2, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 9 years ago | (#13639209)

I wonder how Google are operating in China. I think they'll have to change their slogan to, "Don't be Evil (may not apply in some jurisdictions)".

Who are we kidding. Private companies will gladly sell out and kowtow to anyone as long as it helps them rake in the cash. Companies don't care if China never becomes a democracy, in fact they probably prefer it the way things are.

Personally, I feel the Chinese model is so attractive to business that pretty soon people in western nations will begin to lose their rights as companies demand more and more harmonisation with the superior Chinese model.

It seems capitalism can achieve what the soviets could not.

Just Get Hip (2, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 9 years ago | (#13639211)

Microsoft has blocked users of its MSN site from using the terms 'freedom,' 'democracy'

Chinese users just have to learn how to start searching for fr33dom and dem0cr@cy. After all, that's only one step beyond searching for p0rn.

Well, duh (1)

FhnuZoag (875558) | about 9 years ago | (#13639242)

A Guardian opinion piece on the subject:,,1568479 ,00.html [] The whole idea of coorporations spreading freedom is simple sillyness - Corporations have evolved to make themselves rich, and any freedom they spread is a coincidental side effect. Market organisms have a life of their own, and their morality is based on dollar values, not virtuous conduct. The ultimate optimum state for a company isn't a democracy, but a tyrannical dictatorship where all wealth is directed straight to the few.

Corporations and Morality (1)

hattig (47930) | about 9 years ago | (#13639244)

Where should the line be drawn regarding morality, freedoms, liberty, etc?

For example, I can understand an American company doing business in America, and a Chinese company doing business in China, and so on - that is within your own borders.

However if you are a corporation looking to do business abroad, you have to abide by that country's laws. That stands to reason.

However, that company can choose not to do business in that country if those laws stand against decent moral issues that your average American would have regarding freedom and liberty.

The fact is, Yahoo!, Google and Microsoft have chosen to do business in China, and abide by laws that really go against what your average Westerner believes in. Why? Because of the shareholders.

Money. They can't afford to neglect these emerging markets, because if they do, their competitors (also American companies for the most part) will gain an advantage over them.

If you as a person go abroad and commit a crime UNDER AMERICAN LAW, you can be arrested upon your return to America. As far as I can see it, these companies, which are American, are committing crimes under American law, and thus the same treatment should be extended. It is the only way to keep capitalism in check, otherwise our kids would be working in mines, there would be no minimum wage and so on. There must be a balance against the extremes of capitalism, and the law provides that - until the Government is pro-corporatism anyway.

Calling Yahoo to account for this (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 9 years ago | (#13639248)

The people to call Yahoo to account for this...

...are their shareholders. If you are a shareholder in Yahoo, this is your time to do your moral duty.

alternative to Yahoo groups? (1)

dumllama (715921) | about 9 years ago | (#13639298)

I only use Yahoo for "groups", but I don't manage any groups. Can anyone suggest another service that is as useful as Yahoo, but doesn't have these ethical problems?

Also, can you suggest an easy way to transfer membership from one group to another? I bet that many group managers would be afraid of loosing subscribers if they shifted to a new service provider.

This makes perfect sense for U.S. companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13639372)

A free workforce tends to be more efficient, and selling them the chains they want to hobble themselves will make it that much harder for them to be a threat to us.
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