During a speech at Stanford University, Bill Gates told students that economic concerns will ultimately defeat China’s attempts to censor the Internet.
China has grappled with the issue of Internet censorship in recent years, and Microsoft Corp., along with several other U.S. companies, has come under fire for aiding in that effort. In late 2005, Microsoft shut down the blog of journalist Zhao Jing, also known as Michael Anti, when he blogged about a newspaper strike in the country.
In the long run, free speech will win out, Gates said.
It will be driven by business requirements. Restrictions on free speech will curtail business activity, and so commercial forces will work against censorship, Gates said. “If your country wants to have a developed economy … you basically have to open up the Internet,” he said.