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The multi-billion-dollar mega-corp, famous for keeping the world’s PCs crashing in many different languages, has banned the words ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ from parts of its website in an apparent effort to avoid attracting the attention of Beijing’s thought police. Interestingly, however, it would seem that there is no Chinese law against the use of these words and that Microsoft was just hedging its bets for fear of losing the world’s biggest potential market to its competitors.

Speaking of which, it seems there are no restrictions on the search term ‘monopoly’, which curiously brings up results only from Microsoft’s own news site, MSN, and includes Confucian and Taoist phrases praising the virtues of total world domination, hedge funds and virus-infected laptops.

Commenting on the news, a spokesperson for supreme overlord Bill Gates responded that anyone who thinks there is no fearsome hypocrisy in China is simply not looking at the right websites. ‘After all, there’s now a Starbucks in the Forbidden City – what more do they want?’.

New Internationalist issue 385 magazine cover This article is from the December 2005 issue of New Internationalist.
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