Last week, Amnesty International released a report detailing the roles of Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Google in censoring Internet speech in China. [Read Amnesty's press release on this subject.]
The Chinese government has been cracking down on chat rooms, blogs, and other online venues where people post ideas that the government disapproves of.
Furthermore, the Chinese government has imprisoned some folks who have expressed viewpoints online that the government doesn't like. And the Internet companies like Yahoo! have provided identifying information that have allowed the Chinese authorities to track down, arrest, and imprison these "cyber-criminals".
These people are imprisoned solely for the peaceful expression of their beliefs. That makes them prisoners of conscience. And they're likely being tortured. Just for blogging. Or for chatting. Just for saying what they think.
This is in violation of the so many human rights standards and treaties.
Yet George W. Bush continues to cozy up to Chinese President Hu Jintao. (That's because China has money.)
Bush pays obligatory lip service to human rights when dealing with China. But he hardly provides a good example as our own rights are increasingly diminished here in the U.S.
We need to set a precedent by protesting Internet censorship by the Chinese government before it spreads any further.