IBM skips around China Internet censorship

September 2, 2009

Foreign companies in China, which has the world’s biggest online community, have faced allegations of bowing to censorship rules in their hunt for market access. To be careful, they usually avoid questions on the subject altogether or deflect them with humour.

“I don’t think I am the expert to comment on this,” Shirley Yu-Tsui, a vice president of strategy for IBM greater China, said at the Reuters China Investment Summit.

“All I know is my children complain they can not get on Facebook,” she said.

The subject is very serious, as companies such as Google and Yahoo have had their executives called to face angry congressional questioning in the United States to explain their business practices in China.

“I don’t think they would come to IBM for that,” said Yu-Tsui when asked what IBM would do if asked to help monitor traffic on China’s Internet.

China backed down only last month from a plan to pre-install the controversial “Green Dam” Internet filtering software on all personal computers sold in the country.

Photo Caption: Shirley Yu-Tsui, a vice president of strategy for IBM greater China. REUTERS/Christina Hu

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