Microsoft has admitted it has taken down the blog of a well-known Chinese dissident to pacify Beijing.
Microsoft has blocked the blog of Chinese journalist Zhao Jing from appearing on its blog-hosting service MSN Spaces.
The move is believed to have been at the request of the Chinese government, which is continuing to clamp down on criticism of its regime in the media.
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Although MSN Spaces is not controlled by Microsoft’s Chinese operation, Microsoft has said the blocking of the blog is in line with its policy of complying with “global and local laws, norms and industry practices”.
China is the second-largest internet market after the US and Microsoft is one of the leading western IT companies operating in China.
Last autumn Yahoo gave information about journalist Shi Tao's personal e-mail account to Beijing. The regime later jailed him for 10 years on charges of divulging state secrets.
Google, Microsoft’s MSN, Yahoo and others all censor Chinese language results in their search engines too.