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January 12, 2006

Microsoft Invited to Congressional Hearings on China Censorship

Posted by David Hunter at 9:18 PM ET.

Anne Broache and Declan McCullagh at CNET report that Congress looks askance at firms that bow to China:

After hearing reports that American tech giants like Microsoft and Yahoo are abiding by Chinese law mandating Internet censorship, some irritated U.S. politicians are threatening to pass laws restricting such cooperation.

Rep. Christopher Smith, a New Jersey Republican, said Thursday that the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Human Rights, which he heads, will hold a hearing in early to mid- February. Smith has invited representatives from the U.S. State Department, Microsoft, Yahoo, Cisco Systems, Google, and the international watchdog group Reporters Without Borders to speak.

The effort is designed to determine what can be done, either by legislative mandate or on a voluntary basis, to “dissociate a company from working hand-in-glove with a dictatorship,” Smith said in a telephone interview with CNET

A similar hearing is planned for Feb. 1 in the Congressional Human Rights Caucus said Ryan Keating, communications director for Rep. Tim Ryan, the Ohio Democrat leading the parallel effort. The caucus, unlike the human rights subcommittee, is an “informal” committee that is overseen by about 30 House members and includes a few hundred others, Smith among them, as supporting members.

Much more by following the link, but they are apparently taking the recommendations in the Reporters without Borders report that I mentioned yesterday as a starting point for legislation.

Filed under General Business, Governmental Relations, Public Relations

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3 Responses to “Microsoft Invited to Congressional Hearings on China Censorship”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Microsoft to invest $100 million annually in China Says:

    [...] The AFP rendition of this story mentions the ongoing criticism of Microsoft for helping the Chinese government stifle dissent. Microsoft continues to draw continued unfavorable press in that regard. Some recent examples are Business Week’s How China Controls the Internet and The Great Firewall of China and the Washington Post’s Business, and Repression, as Usual. There will undoubtedly be more when the planned Congressional hearings get started. Filed under Governmental Relations, General Business, Public Relations, Offshoring Listen to this article   [Permalink] [...]

  2. Microsoft News Tracker » Google agrees to censor search results in China Says:

    [...] Next month’s Congressional hearings on technology companies aiding Chinese censorship that will feature Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo are going to have a lot to talk about as Michael Liedtke reports for the AP: Online search engine leader Google Inc. has agreed to censor its results in China, adhering to the country’s free-speech restrictions in return for better access in the Internet’s fastest growing market. [...]

  3. Microsoft News Tracker » Microsoft, Cisco snub Congress China hearing Says:

    [...] More by following the link, but it’s clear that Microsoft and the others are going to take a hit whether they show up or not. Also, the Congressional hearings were actually scheduled before the latest revelation about Google agreeing to Chinese government censorship added fuel to the fire. [...]

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