There’s a story making the rounds about a Chinese blogger notorious for his criticism of the Chinese government, and the problems he’s facing getting his word out. His blog, hosted on MSN Spaces, was taken down recently. Here’s the whole scoop.

Now, Robert Scoble, blogging bridge between The World and Microsoft, quickly jumped on and complained to the people at MSN Spaces.

Well, one of them, a “product unit manager” at Spaces, replied with an entry on his blog about business relations with countries other than the US.

Apart from the obvious gems in there

We don’t want to rule out the middle finger in all markets, so we just do it in the ones where it’s beyond the pale. And, even in the markets that don’t approve of the middle finger, we give the poster a friendly warning about the image, as opposed to taking the site down immediately.

it also contains the following sentence:

We ban a set of “naughty” words from blog entry titles, so those who are maturity-challenged don’t use the F word all over the place, and show up in search results and the updated spaces list, spoiling the party for everyone.

Now, I’d really be interested how he’d define “maturity-challenged”. Sure, it’s really quite immature to use proper words of a language in ones own writing. As opposed to censoring “naughty words” in other people’s texts, which to me is what every responsible, mature person should strive to do at least once in their life.

And I guess only the mature dare to contract with regimes that regularly neglect human rights.

In the end I’m really glad I’ve got my own web space, with my own installation of WordPress. Otherwise I’d probably get a little, friendly warning when writing that I think MSN Spaces is the fucking worst blogging service to have stomped onto that nice little playground of free expression. Until now I only thought the technical side sucks, but now it’s clear that ethically they’re about as nice as your run-of-the-mill sweatshop owner. Please say hi to Nike on the way!