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Censorship in China – the Race to the Bottom

My friend Rebecca MacKinnon has been working with Human Rights Watch on a just-released report on internet censorship in China. While lots of folks – including my colleagues at Open Net Initiative – have written about Chinese censorship, this report takes an unusual approach to the issue, focusing on US and Chinese corporate involvement in building the Great Firewall.

The report – Race to the Bottom: Corporate Complicity in Chinese Internet Censorship – offers a strong challenge to statements offered by some American companies regarding their decision to build China-specific products that these efforts make information more accessible within China. While some companies – notably Google – have build products that try hard to minimize censorship, others – notably Yahoo! – are offering products in China that are censored as aggresively – if not more aggresively – than Chinese products.

Because Human Rights Watch is blocked in China, people will be mirroring this report across the web – I’ve got a mirror of the report available here, if you’re having difficulties reaching the HRW site. Congrats to Rebecca and everyone else who’s been involved with the hard work neccesary to provide this in-depth analysis.