Home | About Leighton | Rhondda map | Rhondda links | Advice surgeries | Get in touch | Cymraeg

Leighton's Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    15 June, 2005

    Microsoft censors Chinese bloggers

    The Guardian today reports that Microsoft is helping the Chinese government censor bloggers, preventing them using words like 'demonstration', 'democracy' and 'freedom'.

    So much for all those libertarian theorists of the late '80s and early '90s who predicted that the Internet would automatically lead to a freer world.

    Stand by for Microsoft to be revealed as Bad Wolf (Blaidd Drwg) in Dr Who on Saturday!


    Rhys Wynne said...

    How low can this company go?

    David said...

    'China is developing as a Socialist market economy and is the ally of Europe, and the US'

    - Tony Blair, 2003

    And didn't your leader, Rhodri Morgan, go touting for business in China recently?

    Will you be leaving Labour any time soon?

    Leighton Andrews said...

    There is a pretty obvious difference between actively participating in the censorship of people in China, and trying to open up connections to China which will encourage a different economic and political system in due course. Having taught Chinese students myself at Cardiff, I am keen to encourage as much dialogue as possible. I'm pleased that higher education institutions like Bangor and Cardiff are doing that.

    David said...

    Well, you suggested that a view which you typified as 'libertarian', that the Internet would automatically lead to a freer world, has been disproved by Microsoft's MSN spaces.

    Microsoft is not the Internet and doesn't control the internet.

    Still, it comes as a suprise to hear you appove of closer economic alliances with the repressive Chinese government (I remember Tiananmen, how about you). You've travelled quite a way since you disapproved of closer economic ties with apartheid South Africa.

    Orwell had a word for it - doublethink.

    Leighton Andrews said...

    No, Orwell didn't. It isn't doublethink, it is recognising the political reality. Not all regimes respond to the same treatment. South Africa was a country that could be isolated resulting in a major impact on its economy. China cannot: it is too large a country with too large a resource base and hinterland to expect it to crumble through isolation. That is simply a matter of political strategy - making a judgement about how you change things for the better - there is nothing hypocritical in that.

    My point about the 'libertarian' analysis was that there were many -eg WIRED magazine - with over-optimistic views of the political impact of the internet as a kind of free, anarchic space in which issues of power and control would simply wither away. Simply put, they argued that the Internet was uncontrollable and impossible to regulate or censor. It is obviously difficult to regulate the Internet, and Microsoft is certainly not the Internet. However, Microsoft plus the Chinese authorities are proving that it is still possible to exercise a degree of control and censorship. So power has not withered away in cyberspace.

    Rhondda TV
    The Labour Party

    Recent comments



    Promoted by Leighton Andrews AM, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff CF99 1NA.

    Author's editorial policy: This blog does not publish anonymous comments, unless they are really witty and I like them. If you have something to say, then have the courage of your convictions and use your name or an identifiable alias. Even then I reserve the right not to publish comments that are malicious, defamatory, stupid, pointlessly cynical or boring. Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.