Screenshots of Censorship

Some Chinese bloggers have said that they were able to set up Chinese language MSN Spaces blogs using the “forbidden” political words. To clarify the situation I tried to set up my own freedom loving Chinese blog. I went into the MSN Spaces Chinese interface at:, and tried to set up a blog titled 我爱言论自由人权和民主, which means “I love freedom of speech, human rights, and democracy.”


I got the following error message: 您必须输入您的共享空间标题。标题不能包含禁止的语言,例如亵渎的语言。请键入一个不同的标题。Which means: “You must enter a title for your space. The title must not contain prohibited language, such as profanity. Please type a different title.”


I guess Microsoft considers “human rights,” “democracy,” and “freedom of speech” to be profanity.

This censorship can be circumvented with Bennet Haselton's Freedom Hack Instructions. Using the instructions I was successful in creating the Chinese blog called “I love freedom of speech, democracy, and human rights.”

Portnoy in Taiwan has translated the instructions into Chinese.


I played around with the freedom & democracy blog I created through the hacking instructions and was able to create posts with politically sensitive headlines like “don't forget June4th 1989″ and “Falungong” without trouble:

So the filtering of MSN Spaces China appears limited to the blog's title only. Titles of individual posts and within the body of posts do not appear to be filtered.


  • […] of?” Fortunately she was able to get around it and now will be able to help others do it. Global Voices Online» Screenshots of Censorship Go read the whole thing.


  • Ken Crow

    I was thinking of another way to get around this censorship: using a tool that will produce Chinese text as images to be posted instead of actual text. This would allow you to get around automated censorship, but would have the big disadvantage of not being searchable by other people, and would make the pages somewhat bigger/heavier to load.

    It may be a great way for groups of people who already have ties to gather together and share thoughts without being blocked by ‘bots. But it wouldn’t be easy for new people to find and join in because they wouldn’t find it using, say a search engine.

  • […] ack from this trip. June has been a bit crazy thus far.) In the meantime, please check out Rebecca’s great experiment with Microsoft Spaces in China – it’s an interesting comm […]

  • Linux, Anyone?

    Bill “Armand Hammer” Gates used to merely annoy me when I thought he was just a gun-grabber who insisted on making it nearly impossible to get that silly, politically-correct recycle bin off my desktop. But apparently, he’s also so eager to do busin…

  • I been following the Google, Microsoft, Cisco etc. China story through the blogs.
    It’s “must” reading and “must” commenting for every armchair BusinessPundit and professional business scribbler.
    Here’s my initial take:

    When I was young and I used to sing along with Roger Daltry on the radio (“I hope I die before I get old… talkin’ ’bout my generation,”) I wasn’t worried about wrinkles.

    I was promising myself I would never become a craven opportunist, a sellout, a silent majority CreeP (as in Committee to Re-elect the President) like the man in the grey flannel suit.

    Tell me why the youthful versions of the folks at Microsoft, Cisco, Google etc. wouldn’t be up in arms at what their mature selves have agreed to with the Chinese Government. I want to understand it and believe in them.

  • Question?

    If I want to do business in Saudi Arabia, do I not have to follow their LAWS?

    If I want to do business in China, does it not stand to reasong that I will have to follow their laws??

    I DO DO BUSINESS in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and know for a fact that I MUST floolow their LAWS or be shown the door.

    I don’t often stick up for Microsoft, but in this case they are simply following the laws of a country in which they are doing business.

  • […] rights, and democracy.” Microsoft considers those things profanity, and she has the screenshots to prove it. She was able to hack her way around the restrictions, but Microsoft&#8 […]

  • Decae

    “The title must not contain prohibited language”

    Microsoft doesn’t consider it profanity, they consider it amongst a provided list of prohibited words. It’s not that hard.

    It’s reprehensible that the Chinese government is doing this. Blaming Microsoft is hardly the answer here. That’s like blaming the bomb , not the terrorist. Take the correct entity to task, not Microsoft.

    With the Chinese governments’ long list of human rights abuses, this is pure icing compared.

  • Matt

    Article 35 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China says:

    “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.”

    Article 5 of China’s constitution says:

    “All acts in violation of the Constitution and the law must be investigated.”

    Microsoft appears to be violating China’s constitution. Wonder if they’ll be investigated.

  • Wow, for once Microsoft’s policy of leaving gaping holes and flaws in everything they make turns out to be a GOOD thing!

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