Giving in to China's digital will

Man surfs the Internet in Beijing

TEXT OF STORY

Doug Krizner: Two top execs from Yahoo are expected to testify today to the House Foreign Affairs Committee: CEO Jerry Yang and the company's general counsel.
The hearing will look at the Internet giant's role in the arrest of a Chinese journalist.
We have more from Paul Brandus.


Paul Brandus: Communist China has tight restrictions on cyberspace, blocking sites and cracking down on free expression. It imprisoned one Chinese reporter for writing about political reform.

What does this have to do with Yahoo? The company admits -- and apologized -- for handing over information about the reporter's internet activities.

The case speaks to the broader issue of just how much U.S. companies should -- or should not -- kow-tow to Beijing.

Erin Ennis: Companies have to make their own decisions based on their views of what their shareholders and their customers think is right, and about how to deal with these issues generally when they're doing business in China.

That's Erin Ennis of the U.S.-China Business Council.

But what if the biggest customer, the Chinese government itself, determines who does business there in the first place?

Yahoo would not grant us an interview. The challenge for it and other companies is how to do business in China while adhering to western principles.

In Washington, I'm Paul Brandus for Marketplace.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...