Microsoft chairman Bill Gates criticises Google's stand on censorship, calling China's Internet censorship "very limited"

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2 February 2010

Microsoft statements re Internet censorship in China

Author: compiled by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

On 25 January 2010, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates stated in an interview that China's "efforts to censor the Internet have been very limited," and, regarding Google's statement that it would stop obeying Chinese Government censorship rules, [said], "They've done nothing and gotten a lot of credit for it."... Business & Human Rights Resource Centre invited Microsoft to respond to...reactions to Bill Gates' statement [by Hong Zhang, Guardian (UK), Human Rights Watch, Peter Foster - Beijing correspondent for Telegraph (UK)]... In response, Microsoft sent links to the following two statements by its executives: - "Microsoft & Internet Freedom", Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft... - "Internet Freedom", Craig Mundie, Microsoft Chief Research & Strategy Officer...

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28 January 2010

China ratchets up Web privacy fight

Author: Sky Canaves, Wall Street Journal

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates… said that China's "efforts to censor the Internet have been very limited…" In separate comments, he criticized … Google's statement… that it would stop obeying Beijing's censorship rules …and might close its offices in the country... Gates said the Internet has helped free expression, and that in China it is "easy to go around" the government's system of controls… He said "… you've got to decide: Do you want to obey the laws of the countries you're in, or not?"… Mr. Gates [also] belittled Google's China statement. "They've done nothing and gotten a lot of credit for it," he said. "What point are they making?"… China's Internet controls go far beyond those of countries like Germany, censoring a wide range of politically sensitive content… Lian Yue, a prominent Chinese blogger, wrote on Twitter that he thought Mr. Gates' critique of Google was "silly and unfair," and that his defense of Beijing's position "is unwise even from a pure business perspective, as it is damaging to Microsoft's commercial reputation."… Microsoft's Internet business has struggled to gain a foothold in China... Microsoft in June introduced a Chinese version of its Bing search engine, which like other search engines in China strips politically sensitive links from its search results. In 2006, Microsoft was criticized by U.S. lawmakers and free speech advocates after it deleted a popular Chinese blog that was critical of the government at the request of Chinese authorities.

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