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“Prisoners of Conscience”

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Amnesty International says two Chinese Internet users, in custody for “subversive” Internet use, have died under mysterious circumstances:

    Amnesty International issued a warning today on its Web site that Internet users in mainland China could be killed by the State for expressing their opinion online.
    Thirty three people were named as “prisoners of conscience” today, for apparently doing little more than expressing their opinions online.

    Two “subversives” have already died in custody, it claimed.

    And the statement, which it released today, also warns that overseas companies were colluding in a crack down we first reported last August.

    The full report is here.

    One paragraph states: “Foreign companies, including Websense and Sun Microsystems, Cisco Systems, Nortel Networks, Microsoft have reportedly provided important technology which helps the Chinese authorities censor the Internet. Nortel Networks along with some other international firms are reported to be providing China with the technology which will help it shift from filtering content at the international gateway level to filtering content of individual computers, in homes, Internet cafes, universities and businesses.” [The Inquirer]

“Hey we’re just making a buck. If we don’t sell it to them someone else will….blah, blah, blah.” I can hear the rationalizing now – sounds like the arms industry.

It is important to remember that though China has liberalized radically economically, especially to fulfill its obligations to the WTO, political and individual rights lag far behind.

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