From The International Herald Tribune (link):
A string of events has forced China’s information technology policy onto the U.S. agenda. Yahoo’s assistance when Beijing arrested a democracy advocate, Microsoft’s closure of free- wheeling Chinese Web sites, and Google’s accession to Chinese censorship demands have brought into stark relief the difference in political values between the two countries in a way not seen since Tiananmen Square.
In the absence of White House engagement, the Chinese and the U.S. Congress have moved quickly. In February, while Congress was drafting its Global Online Freedom Act, the Chinese government was issuing highly restrictive e-mail regulations that turn Internet service providers into an arm of the government. They require providers to hold, and if requested, turn over, personal information about users to the authorities. Even more chilling, the regulations require e-mail providers to report to Chinese authorities when an e-mail “upsets social stability,” or “harms the national interest.”
See also: Digital Walls, Digital Holes by Hampton Stephens.