Tech companies fired back against government accusations that they are helping suppress dissent in China in exchange for a piece of the booming market.
The benefits for Microsoft and other companies to be engaged in China far outweigh the downside, Microsoft Associate General Counsel Jack Krumholtz told lawmakers at this morning's hearing in Washington D.C.
Krumholtz said that MSN Spaces, launched nine months ago in China, has helped 3.5 million people create their own Web sites and blogs.
"There's more opportunity for communication and freedom of expression in China today as a result of our service and other services, and we expect the trend just to continue," he said.
Cisco Systems General Counsel Mark Chandler said China's government has admitted it cannot fully control the Internet. If U.S. regulations discouraged participation in a global Internet, that could lead governments like China's to form their own national Internet and undermine citizen's free access to information from around the world, they said.
Meanwhile Bill Gates responds to questions about China and censorship in the Financial Times.