According to Reuters, a Chinese Journalist, Li Yuanlong was charged with Subversion for sending e-mails via a Hotmail account. The indictment did not come, however, with help from Microsoft. The wife of the journalist was told by Chinese officials that her husband was arrested for e-mails sent via a Hotmail account, but it is unclear how the Chinese officials came by the information they used to charge Yuanlong. Unlike the case where Yahoo was accused of handing over a dissident’s information to Chinese officials, Microsoft and Hotmail were not the source of the information leading to the arrest.
On a related note, this freedom of speech issue keeps coming back in the news and each time the articles point out that MS closed a Space (blog) last year at the request of the Chinese government. The reports always fail to mention, however, that the MSN Spaces team hated that action and built a solution… Spaces now has adjusted their filtering so it is dependent on the country of the user (see MC’s post for more detail), allowing them to adjust the filtering to align more closely to local standards.
The story Reuters published yesterday did not have details from Microsoft at the time of publishing. A follow up story today clarifies the MS position with comments from a Microsoft spokesperson.