The blog site of well-known Chinese blogger Zhao Jing, a.k.a. An Ti, has been shut down by Microsoft, according to The New York Times.
Zhao’s blog, which was hosted by Microsoft’s MSN Spaces site, was removed after he discussed a highly publicized newspaper strike that broke out in Beijing last week.
Microsoft’s choice to pull the site is the most recent example of American IT companies’ cooperation with the Chinese government to suppress free speech or dissent in hopes of ensuring access to the booming Chinese market.
The company caught criticism last year when it became known that its Chinese blog tool was set to censor words and phrases that could be seen as provocative, such as “democracy” and “human rights.”
On Thursday, Microsoft said it “must comply with global and local laws.”
Brooke Richardson, a group product manager for MSN in Seattle said, “This is a complex and difficult issue. We think it’s better to be there with our services than not be there.”
The Chinese government is currently cracking down on freedom of the press. The last years have seen many prominent Chinese editors and journalist put behind bars on charged such as espionage and revealing state secrets, The Times reports.
For more on the U.S./China business divide check out Executive Editor Christopher Koch”s “Making IT in China.”
By Al Sacco