Where do you want to go today? How about a labour camp?

Microsoft Corp. is cooperating with China’s government to censor the company’s newly launched Chinese-language Web portal, a spokesman for the tech giant said.

The policy affects Web logs, or blogs, created through the MSN Spaces service, said Adam Sohn, a global sales and marketing director at MSN.

… On Monday, Agence France-Presse, the French news agency, said bloggers were not allowed to post terms to MSN Spaces such as “democracy,” “human rights” and “Taiwan independence.” Attempts to enter those words were said to generate a message saying the language was prohibited.

MSN Spaces, which offers free blog space, is connected to Microsoft’s MSN China portal. The portal was launched on May 26, and some 5 million blogs have since been created, Microsoft said.

China’s government encourages Internet use for business and education but tries to ban access to material deemed subversive.

It also recently demanded that Web site owners register with authorities by June 30 or face fines.

Chinese censors scour Internet bulletin boards and blogs for sensitive material, and block access to violators. Sites that let the public post comments are told to censor themselves or face penalties.

Sohn said heavy-handed government censorship is accepted as part of the regulatory landscape in China, and the world’s largest software firm believes its services still can foster expression in the country.

“Even with the filters, we’re helping millions of people communicate, share stories, share photographs and build relationships. For us, that is the key point here,” he said.

Google is playing the same game with its news service.

Money talks and freedom walks.

Via Dan Gillmor

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I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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