Far Eastern Economic Review, December 2007 — When some of the world’s top technology companies, including Yahoo!, Intel, Nokia and Ericsson, formed the Beijing Association of Online Media three years ago, the group seemed to be a typical trade association, sponsoring social activities and facilitating networking. Even when its activities widened last year to include “self-policing” the Internet, it seemed to be benign, targeting content that “contradicts social morality and Chinese traditional virtues,” i.e. pornography. The message was that the companies were providing a public service in spaces used by Chinese teens, not helping the government maintain political control.
Yet today it is clear that BAOM has become an active agent of the Chinese government’s initiatives to stifle discussion of political issues . . .