Link to full text of Rebecca's post.
Microsoft’s MSN Spaces continues to censor its Chinese language blogs, and has become more aggressive and thorough at censorship since I first checked out MSN’s censorship system last summer. On New Years Eve, MSN Spaces took down the popular blog written by Zhao Jing, aka Michael Anti. Now all you get when you attempt to visit his blog [Link] is the error message pictured above. (You can see the Google cache of his blog up until Dec.22nd here.)
Note, his blog was TAKEN DOWN by MSN people. Not blocked by the Chinese government.
Anti is one of China’s edgiest journalistic bloggers, often pushing at the boundaries of what is acceptable. (See a recent profile of him here, and an interview with Anti here.) His old blog at the U.S.-hosted Blog-city is believed to have caused the Chinese authorities to block all Blog-city blogs. In the final days of December, Anti became a vocal supporter of journalists at the Beijing Daily News who walked off the job after the top editors were fired for their increasingly daring investigative coverage, including some recent reporting on the recent police shootings of village protestors in the Southern China. (For all the gory details on the current press crackdown click here, here, here, and here.) Roland Soong at ESWN has preserved the original Chinese-language posts of Anti’s Call for a Beijing News Walk Out and his Call to Cancel Beijing News Subscriptions.
Robert Scoble, Microsoft employee and blogger, says:
It’s one thing to pull a list of words out of blogs using an algorithm. It’s another thing to become an agent of a government and censor an entire blogger’s work. Yes, I know the consequences. Yes, there are thousands of jobs at stake. Billions of dollars. But, the behavior of my company in this instance is not right. (...) Why is this so important to me? Well, you ignore the voices of individual people at your peril. And, I’ve been raised by people who taught me the value of standing up for the little guy. My mom grew up in Germany. Her mom stood up to the Nazis (and got a lot of scorn from family and friends for doing so).Link to full text of Robert's post.
I do believe in a slippery slope. If they come after you today, maybe they’ll come after me tomorrow. Gotta stop this kind of stuff while we’re still talking about you. Oh, and to: Zhao Jing, aka Michael Anti I’d like to offer you a guest blog here on my blog. I won’t censor you and you can write whatever you’d like.
Guys over at MSN: sorry, I don’t agree with your being used as a state-run thug.
Zhao "Anti" Jing has since re-launched his blog on Blog-city, based in the United States. Anti's new American host would not likely submit to Chinese government takedown demands, but will be inaccessible to audiences inside China who don't use proxy servers -- because Blog-city is blocked by Chinese ISPs. Anti will email posts to subscribers to get around that ban, and he says he'll also re-start an English language edition at Chinathinkbase.com. Rebecca McKinnon is posting detailed updates on the story here. (Thanks, Coop!)
Previously on Boing Boing:
Seven Dirty Blogs