Business, Politics

Chinese political prisoners suing Cisco for helping govt

By Sipho Hlongwane 19 August 2011

A US law firm is suing Cisco Systems on behalf of 13 Chinese political prisoners for providing technology which allowed the Chinese government to monitor, censor and suppress dissidents. The lawyers compared Cisco’s behaviour to that of IBM during World War II, which aided the Nazi government in the 1930s, according to some reports. By SIPHO HLONGWANE.

Daniel Ward, of Ward & Ward, brought the charges against Cisco Systems in the US district court in Maryland, on behalf of Du Daobin, Zhou Yuanzhi, Liu Xianbin and 10 unnamed people who all claim to have been imprisoned in China for their political views and activities.

“Dating back to the early 2000s, Cisco competed for contracts with the Chinese Communist Party to help design, develop and implement the ‘Golden Shield Project’ – a rather Orwellian euphemism for the Communist Party’s ongoing effort to monitor, track and censor all Internet traffic into and out of China,” Ward said, reported the Sydney Morning Herald. In court documents, two of the accusers say they were jailed for online articles they wrote.

In 2007, Yahoo faced a lawsuit from a Chinese couple who alleged the Internet company had aided the Chinese government in crackdowns by exposing their identities.

Cisco has denied the allegations.

US tech companies are finding it hard to win in China. If the Chinese government isn’t unceremoniously booting them out of the country for not helping it snoop on its citizens, they’re being sued for obeying Beijing. DM



Read more:

  • Fighting China’s Golden Shield: Cisco sued over jailing and torture of dissidents in Sydney Morning Herald
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