The three Chinese dissidents accusing Cisco of aiding and abetting their imprisonment and torture.

The three Chinese dissidents accusing Cisco of aiding and abetting their imprisonment and torture.

Cisco, one of the world's largest technology companies, is being sued by Chinese political prisoners for allegedly providing the technology and expertise used by the Chinese Communist Party to monitor, censor and suppress the Chinese people.

Daniel Ward, of US law firm Ward & Ward, has brought the case on behalf of Du Daobin, Zhou Yuanzhi, Liu Xianbin and 10 unnamed others. He compared Cisco's actions to "IBM's behaviour in Nazi Germany".

Cisco has rejected the allegations as baseless but has failed to respond to serious questions stemming from an internal company presentation.

Liu Xiaobo and his wife Liu Xia.

Nobel Peace Prize 2010 winner Liu Xiaobo is serving an 11-year sentence. Here he is pictured with his wife Liu Xia.

"Cisco has, for years now, knowingly aided and abetted the Chinese Communist Party's ongoing efforts to stifle the free speech and discourse of its citizenry," Mr Ward told Fairfax Media.

"Dating back to the early 2000s, Cisco competed for contracts with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to help design, develop and implement the 'Golden Shield Project' - a rather Orwellian euphemism for the Chinese Communist Party's ongoing effort to monitor, track and censor all internet traffic into and out of China."

According to court documents, Mr Du spent three years in jail, Mr Zhou is a prisoner in his own home and Mr Liu has served two months of a 10-year sentence. All three claim to have been tortured and abused over articles they published online.

Laogai Research Foundation executive director Harry Wu announces the court case in June this year.

Laogai Research Foundation executive director Harry Wu announces the court case in June this year.

The case, filed in the US District Court in Maryland, is reminiscent of lawsuits launched against Yahoo by human rights groups after the internet company gave details about users to the Chinese government. These details were used to throw journalists and dissidents in jail, where they were deprived of food and basic comforts, and were beaten.

In many cases, the Chinese citizens have been locked up for little more than internet postings criticising China's one-party system and advocating regime change.

Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, is serving an 11-year sentence in China for his political writings. Ironically, Cisco sponsored the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize Concert

A slide from the internal Cisco presentation used as part of the case.

A slide from the internal Cisco presentation used as part of the case.

Cisco has publicly stated that it helped the CCP build its Golden Shield and Policenet systems. In the legal complaint, seen by Fairfax Media, Cisco is accused of training Chinese engineers in how to use its technology to carry out surveillance of online activity and suppress dissident activity.

"With the assistance of Cisco, the CCP is now capable of detecting, identifying and tracking perceived threats to the CCP's power, and blocking 'harmful' websites," the complaint reads.

The case, which was filed in June but received minimal media coverage, is being funded by the Laogai Research Foundation, whose executive director, Harry Wu, spent 19 years in Chinese labour camps but now lives in America. Mr Wu has spent years raising awareness of human rights abuses in China and was the driving force behind the case against Yahoo, which was settled for an undisclosed amount.

"Cisco is a company that would do business with any partner so long as it turns a profit, even at the expense of our people's rights and freedoms," Mr Wu said recently.

In a leaked internal Cisco presentation from 2002, seen by Fairfax Media, the company reveals how its products can address China's goals of "maintaining stability", "stop the network-related crimes" and "combat 'Falun Gong' evil religion and other hostiles".

The document also has a page discussing "Networked prisons and jails", describing how information about a suspect travels through Cisco's system from the time a suspect is first jailed to when they are released. The system links jails and police departments and Mr Wu argues it "directly aided in tracking down dissidents and keeping them under oppressive surveillance".

"They aren't just selling routers to a corrupt regime. They are selling the technology, training and software specifically designed to monitor, censor and suppress the Chinese people," said Mr Ward.

"And they are doing so knowing full well how the CCP treats dissenters."

The Golden Shield Project - also known as the Great Firewall of China - is used by the Chinese government to eliminate references to politically sensitive topics such as Tiananmen Square, Liu Xiaobo and the Jasmine Revolution sweeping through the Middle East. Sites such as Facebook and Twitter are also blocked.

Mr Ward claims one of the dissidents suing Cisco, Du Daobin, has been extensively interrogated by Chinese authorities over his involvement in the case and has been kept under 24-hour surveillance. Mr Ward believes Mr Du was not harmed because of public interest in the case.

Mr Du received a four-year prison term in 2003 for posting pro-democracy articles online, but the sentence was suspended for four years. In 2008, his sentence was reinstated and he was imprisoned for two years.

Mr Ward claims Mr Du was subjected to "extreme physical and psychological torture" and, by the time of his release in 2010, was suffering from "extreme malnutrition and cardiac issues". Mr Ward said Mr Du, whose wife has moved out and left him to raise their child, could no longer walk without assistance and depends on a wheelchair for movement.

Cisco, which has sought to delay the court case, said it did not operate networks in China or elsewhere - it just provided the equipment - and denied it customised its products in any way that would facilitate censorship or repression.

"There is no basis for these allegations against Cisco, and we intend to vigorously defend against them," the company said in a statement, refusing to answer any further questions.

In a blog post, Cisco's legal counsel Mark Chandler said the company supported free expression and open communication on the internet.

Cisco recently reported $US43.2 billion in revenues for last year. The legal complaint claims it has earned an estimated $500 million in profits on sales to China and holds 60 per cent of the Chinese market for routers, switches and other networking gear.

China, which employs an estimated 30,000-50,000 internet police, has claimed recent moves by Western governments to censor internet and other communications vindicates its own repressive policies.

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58 comments so far

Now this is a suit I'd like to see succeed.

Freedom for ALl | Sydney, NSW - August 16, 2011, 12:45PM

Thanks to this article, senator Conroy might be contacting them soon for his internet filters for Australia. In my opinion, that will be the final nail in the coffin for Labor. I have been a supporter for two decades but I'll abandon them for this one issue.
Ironic how the British PM is going the same way.
I would say, they should just focus on enforcement and reduced anonymity. People who post online provide ample evidence against them in a very convenient and portable format.

Knee Jerk | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 12:58PM

One would think that China prefers a local company over Cisco for such a purpose. Unless the intention was to learn about the sort of technology which exists in the west.

interesting - August 16, 2011, 1:10PM

Why blame Cisco for wrong doing done by the communist party?
Cisco sell technology and it is the users that abuse the technology.... Politicos are the corrupt..
Get real

fan | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 1:12PM

What does anyone expect though, really? Cisco are just another faceless corporation - they're not in the business of caring about human rights. Personally I hope they succeed as much as I hope the CCP collapses in a heap and its leaders face the same punishment they hand out to their citizens. I hope for that every day.

Communsim is a con | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 1:13PM

So, which companies will be sued for supporting the US government in torturing and interrogating humans at Guantanamo Bay and other US-controlled prisons dotted around the world?

David | Melbourne - August 16, 2011, 1:14PM

@Knee Jerk.

You're right and the ALP deserve to lose support if they push ahead with the loathsome idea of internet censorship.

Unfortunately, the Opposition has not stated that it will oppose the measures (to my knowledge).

rudy - August 16, 2011, 1:18PM

Seriously?

Like China wouldn't obtain access to this information and/or equipment illegally, if Cisco refused to sell it ?

Fred - August 16, 2011, 1:20PM

fan | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 1:12PM

That's a naive view. Corporations should not be exempted from the moral consequences of their business actions by hiding behind their clients.

rudy - August 16, 2011, 1:21PM

Cisco equipment is about internet working. It's proper use keeps hackers out and the corporate network operational and smooth. Cisco is not the only provider here. The fact that a government abuses abilities for other means is not Cisco's fault. It's almost the same to hold Kalashnikov responsible for the Oz/US troops killed by Taliban using the AK-47.
Perhaps you should also take a little look at Chinese hackers and cyber pirates who would happily support any one (or government) with money and power to get themselves a better future.

Lawrence | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 1:22PM

Ridiculous suit based on what a multi-national company sells to most nations in the world. Do we go after the arms dealers becaue they sell weapons to whomever?
Always possible there could be more behind this....but you know what, I doubt it....

Paul | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 1:29PM

Just an add on to my previous comment:

This issue does raise questions about the business/legal risks involved when selling technology to countries like China. Can Technology vendors restrict or control how their products will be used once they are in the hands of such countries?. Clearly they can't.

But in this case the Cisco presentation indicates PRIOR knowledge of how the technology could be used. Much like Yahoo's experience with China, Cisco might find itself in a bit of a soup with Law makers in the US. Especially as the election approaches....

interesting - August 16, 2011, 1:32PM

It is like sueing the gun company and the shooting instructors for the Norwegian massacre. Even emotionly supporting the case, I still think it is no more than a name and shame stunt.

Clownface | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 1:32PM

The reality is that if Cisco didn't cooperate, the CCP would seek a rival or simply steal the technology. But Cisco are not innocent. They are supplying equipment and know-how. Knowing fully well who the CCP are, what they stand for and what they intend to do with their technology. Just like Apple and many western companies turning a blind eye to slave labour.
As for Australia, I believe in enforcement and policing rather than the oppressive approach by Conroy and Co.
Despite my ravings, I cannot claim the moral high ground because I like most consumers don't think twice about where their goods come from.

Brad | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 1:38PM

One day, after the end of Conroy and Co's rain of tyranny and oppression is over, we may be able to prosecute these despots for crimes against human liberty (both civil and economic).

alfredC - August 16, 2011, 1:40PM

So will they get sued over the Patriot Act aswell in the USA? The same technology companies aide the USA Government to track peoples within the USA and without the USA for 'things' deemed against national security. Pleanty examples of peoiple arrested for no cause in the past 10 years.

Then lets not forgot the aircraft manufacturers who's planes were use for those mysterious rendition flights - I mean...were those actions and flights legal at all?

I assume then the car companies that transported the PSB officials to arrest them will get sued - since the PSB would not have been able to get to the destination without a car/van.

And then there is the VAN manufacturer that these dissidents would have been transported in back to jail. Lets get them aswell.

I am all for making a moral stance and all - but western countries need to make sure their own backyards are pristine first before throwing rocks.

If you look at least to USA modern history there have been numerous occasions that the state has used any means at their disposal including the military apparatus to control unarmed and more or less peaceful civilian populations and dissent.

Skip181sg - August 16, 2011, 1:44PM

The time will come when Australian citizens will try to sue Huawei for selling network equipments to the Australian government and business entities that will be used to monitor and cenzor internet usage.
...and may be for some other, undisclosed things, too.

Good luck though to those individuals who will try to sue the mighty company with close ties to the Chinese military, but senator Conroy can at least sleep well at night with the knowledge that no rebellious ideas about their government will pass the Internet unnoticed.

well...just wonder why these Chinese citizens sue Cisco in the US, when Huawei has a much bigger market share in Asia...I smell only starvation for money only, instead of daring to take on a real fight.

Steve | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 1:45PM

CISCO is a disgrace. BOYCOTT them and take a stand.

F | Inner West - August 16, 2011, 1:48PM

The thing is, Did Cisco know that when they sold China the technology that it would be used to track dissidents and allow them to be locked up? I think the answer is Yes as China has been doing this for years.

If it's good enough for IBM to be sued for assisting the Nazi's persecute the Jews by selling them equipment they knew would be used in this way, the precedent has been set.

RobbyM | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 1:52PM

Why does the CCP use Cisco gear anyway? They have their own routing/switching company, namely Huawei. Don't they trust the quality of Huawei's technology?

"There is no basis for these allegations against Cisco, and we intend to vigorously defend against them," the company said in a statement..

Sounds familiar.

Jason T - August 16, 2011, 1:52PM

haha this is hilarious, no different than the US selling guns and amo to the taliban / Iraq. The specific devices used to filter this traffic was not even a Cisco creation, it was an aquisition of a Isreali based startup makes this even funnier.

Optus and other telco's in AUS also use this exact same technology except they dont filer they 'monitor'... This technology is extremely useful in fighting child pornography on the internet, dont blame the vendor for how it is used!

the dramas - August 16, 2011, 1:55PM

Think about this: One day the Chinese people who live along the coast, near coal fired power plants etc sue us for compensation for knowingly exporting Coal and causing damage to their existence while trying to cut its use in our country at the same time.

mmm..... - August 16, 2011, 2:03PM

And the answer is ........ everyone as an individual needs to be responsible for all of their purchases - how they are made - what the human price of suffering was in making it and what the cost to the environment was. Eg Who wants a pair of Nikes or Addidas trainers when apparently theyve been heavily pollouting the environment in China and the people who made them were paid something like 60cents per pair (selling for $200 or whatever). Whenever I see friends wearing them Im kinda duisgusted after learning about this the other week - I mean its really not that cool is it?

The time of the greedy corporation is done. Companies and governments who prosper at the expense of the environment, animals and human rights will be forced out. Vote with your dollar. Hell we may even get manufacturing back on course in Australia.

I know I for one would like to know where all of the things I buy are made and produced. It would be great to have a mandatory labbleling on everything we buy which states this, so I am an informed consumer.

change in consciousness | Melbs - August 16, 2011, 2:06PM

We have a thing called ethics, and it should be a policy on every company's agenda, including Cisco. You cannot produce a product and avoid responsibility for it's use, especially if your client has told you how they will use it. Previous responses quoting the US government and Taliban have a point, but neither of those has any ethics either. Be responsible, and stay true to your values, improve the world in which you live.

Ethical | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 2:06PM

Cisco do indeed have some responsibility, especially in the eyes of American law. @lawrence, your example is incorrect. It was indeed Cisco selling the technology to the Chinese government in the full knowledge of what it would be used for. Kalashnikov did not sell one AK47 to the Taliban. @Fred, it doesn't matter what someone might do illegally, just because there's money in it doesn't mean it's open season. People and businesses are still expected to behave responsibly and within the laws and ethical guidelines of their home countries.

Besides which, it well prove to be harmful to Cisco if (for instance) the US Government pulls out of using Cisco routers, not wanting to be involved with a company that supports a communist regime. The US government could also mandate that companies that do business with the US Government also do not use Cisco (they've done it before). Cisco would lose billions of dollars and actually become a second string company if not totally collapsed if such a scenario played out. Nike, Apple, Nokia and others have all been stung by employment practices in Chinese companies they use. This is a lot more serious than any of those cases.

Ace | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 2:11PM

Yet another lawyer and "law firm" looking for a big pay day.
Why not sure the Chinese gov. O that right no pay in that one.

Stephen | melbourne - August 16, 2011, 2:12PM

Sounds to me like they want western attention on what is happening as they see it as their best chance of not being 'punished' by the Chinese authorities, until they are suicidal.

China's economic power will definately be the preeminent global power in less than 20 years. As this gradually happens, and as they gradually build up their Navy they will start exporting Chinese cultural standards (including censorship) as a condition of receiving aid or military support.

You can laugh at the idea now, but the US already do it (a well known example is making no abortions as a condition of medical aid to clinics, aka 'the global gag rule')...

...however the US may not be able to afford to do it for much longer... noone really doubts who will step into their shoes...

Seriously... | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 2:16PM

I hope they sue the pants of Cisco. This kind of coporate greed is contributing to the most haneous revocation of basic human rights to freedom and expression. Add to the fact that Cisco equipment is overpriced, functionally gimped and insecure, and I think you have a good reason to avoid them. I dont use Cisco in any of my IT projects. No point supporting a corrupt and greedy corporation.

JB | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 2:19PM

It'll be another one of those US cases that gets settled out of court. Clever way for these people to extract money out of international corporations. And why is SMH putting up a picture of Liu Xiaobo who is not even involved in the case? Journalistic artistry? Yawn...

Sydney Netter | whytoi - August 16, 2011, 2:21PM

Anyone seem V for Vendetta, or how about Equilibrium?

It does seem like governments are becoming more repressive. The pendulum is swinging...

Rob | Now Sydney - August 16, 2011, 2:26PM

Who says China is the only one who has actively monitored its citizens and then tourtured them or held them against their rights. Ummm US Guantanamo Bay... the fight against terror... Cisco is just a technology company doing what it thinks is right... its in the business for one thing ... to make money... If anyone is to blame .. its the CCP party... The biggest fear is the west is becoming that which it loathed so many years ago... the New World Order is coming people.. fight for your rights

You're Kidding | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 2:30PM

I suspect we already have an internet filter in Australia and that we simply have not been told about it by the government or Conroy. Other than that the American lawyers have take a brief for the money and Cisco did what they did , for the money. Other countries simply have to understand that in the USA the pursuit of money is everything, it is God, ethics and humanity gone. Did not the USA cause the GFC and declare war on Afghanistan.

jOE | Brisbane - August 16, 2011, 2:45PM

This is a bit hypocritical, we cry foul when the Chinese do it yet not yesterday the Aussie government was bouncing the ball planning to shut down networks. I don't care what situations arise you will either uphold an ideal or abuse it.

You cannot be on both sides of the fence, the cops will argue "oh we will use it only when absolutely needed". I say rubbish who will watch the watchers. This labor government has boasted "oh we will monitor for abuse of the carbon tax" I say rubbish again, they have repeatedly FAILED to bring to court any one petro-chemical company. They at the time of the Iraq war saw the per barrel @$150 was per litre $1.55 for premium. Today the dollar is is high the per barrel @ $90 (approx) & bowser @ $1.50 for premium. I don't trust government they lie, they lie & they lie.
Practice what you preach don't shut down networks & stop the illegal monitoring of the internet (IE Echelon).

I say again they all lie to you.

Nick Mihaleff | Blacktown NSW - August 16, 2011, 2:52PM

A lot of ppl here say a gun company selling gun shouldn't be responsible for the user of the gun. I agree with that.
What if a gun company selling gun to China and have a presentation referring to usefulness of the the guns on Tibetan?

h7 - August 16, 2011, 2:54PM

Capitalists would sell the guns that kill them if there would be a profit to be made.

The weapon manufacturers of the losers in WWII had their factories confiscated and destroyed.

The West is always banging on a about freedom of speech etc. but it is never followed up by actions.

The Cisco case is similar to selling arms to dictatorships, which are usually used to intimidate or even kill the people.

caledonia | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 2:54PM

@Ethical

Ethics = the study of moral theory.

In this world morality only exists in theory.

Most people are always complaining about China but they are happy to sell resources from China and buy consumer goods from it.

Morality does not exist when money is involved.

caledonia | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 3:00PM

Who would be sued for the acitons of the Vietnamese Communist (VC) who used AK47, B40, 122mm rockets ... to kill millions of innocent Vietnamese during the Vietnam War?

Can we sue those like Ho Chi Minh, Mao or Lenin who were directly or indirectly responsible for the death of millions of innocent Vietanmese, Chinese and Russians behind the iron curtains?

There is a saying: Do not sue a potato!

Quoc Vu - August 16, 2011, 3:15PM

Should we sue Cisco?

or

Should we sue the Communist Party in China (and in Vietnam, North Korea as well) in an International Court for oppressing their people?

Quoc Vu - August 16, 2011, 3:22PM

Mankind differ in their notions of happiness; but in my opinion he truly possesses it who lives in the anticipation of honest fame, and the glorious figure he shall make in the eyes of posterity.
-- Pliny the Younger

famulla - August 16, 2011, 3:38PM

I work for a large US based technology company that exports both physical technology and skills all over the world. We have very strict training and guidelines regarding what we can and can't sell in each country driven by it's potential use. I'm shocked an organisation like Cisco wouldn't have the same mechanisms in place!

Graham | Coogee - August 16, 2011, 3:49PM

That is like suing the gun manufacturer for someone shooting you, or suing McDonalds for litter from their products being left in the street. The Chinese Government is the problem, not the person or corporation who provides those things each government sees as essential to it. Where would it end. What if a particular invention meant for peace was somehow corrupted into a military purpose, who is at fault then...oops sorry, that's plagiarism, at least 50 movies or tv shows have already had that story line, and if its obvious to them...

Col the Pariah | Faulco - August 16, 2011, 3:49PM

It's the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall.....

It's time all hackers now unite and and tear down the Golden Shield
FireWall.

matt | sydney - August 16, 2011, 3:57PM

isn't it ironic that the world lionized FB and Twitter in the middle east when it meant a change to the right (as opposed to the correct) yet Britain now wants to do exactly what China has always done in the interests of preserving public order....

Cisco is about money...always was, always will be so what they have done is not illegal, just immoral. Believe me when I tell you there are other companies out there who make what Cisco did look like a public service. There is literally not a thing you can say on or offline that cannot be captured, parsed, traced and acted upon....you have been warned

wilow | singapore - August 16, 2011, 4:06PM

Guess who's iron ore it is that makes Chinese tanks and gunboats? Guess where your ipod and shirt and shoes are made?

Moo | China - August 16, 2011, 4:12PM

I hope the case does not succeed, there ie really no legal grounds for it to do so. Internet access is not yet a "human right" and US freedom of speech laws can't apply. There are enough crock law suits out there already.

However the real objective is achieved, create public awareness of amoral practices by Cisco. Hopefully public and customer pressure will force a change of heart.

Chris | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 4:24PM

With reference to "It's almost the same to hold Kalashnikov responsible for the Oz/US troops killed by Taliban using the AK-47" . The US bans the sale of weapons to governments whom they see as a threat to themselves or their own people, the sale of this equipment and or assistance in procuring it can be met with a heavy fine and or prison sentence, which is why they use AK-47s and not M-16s. If Cisco has knowingly helped in the design of a solution to monitor dissidents then they deserve to be punished, pretending that they dont know what will happen to these people once they are caught isnt any real excuse.

Singpablo - August 16, 2011, 4:35PM

@ Matt ........... what a totally awesome idea..........."It's the 50th anniversary of the construction of the Berlin Wall.....It's time all hackers now unite and and tear down the Golden Shield FireWall."

change in consciousness | Melbs - August 16, 2011, 4:37PM

@matt

thumb up for that! the only real piece of useful commentary so far. Right to the point!

Clownface | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 4:49PM

The gun analogy people are using is a false one. A gunsmith designs and sells guns to people for a variety of purposes. The analogy here would be if CISCO made a program for, say, helping parents stop their kids watching porn, and the Chinese just happened to use it for their filter. But this is not what happened.

CISCO here designed software specifically for the Chinese government knowing (or, at least, staying willfully ignorant) that their client was going to use this in furtherance of repression and torture. The analogy would be a gunsmith selling a gun to someone she knows is a criminal, that criminal then saying that they will use it to go shoot innocent people in the street. In this case the gunsmith would be MORALLY OBLIGATED not to do this. CISCO is morally obligated not to sell things to a repressive regime.

Tony | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 5:15PM

The gun analogy people are using is a false one. A gunsmith designs and sells guns to people for a variety of purposes. The analogy here would be if CISCO made a program for, say, helping parents stop their kids watching porn, and the Chinese just happened to use it for their filter. But this is not what happened.

CISCO here designed software specifically for the Chinese government knowing (or, at least, staying willfully ignorant) that their client was going to use this in furtherance of repression and torture. The analogy would be a gunsmith selling a gun to someone she knows is a criminal, that criminal then saying that they will use it to go shoot innocent people in the street. In this case the gunsmith would be MORALLY OBLIGATED not to do this. CISCO is morally obligated not to sell things to a repressive regime.

Tony | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 5:15PM

@ Lawrence - The fact is Cisco knowingly assisted and developed technology specifically to prevent "Free Speech" leading to false imprisonment, torture and human rights.

James | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 5:16PM

amazing the people on this blog who don't get it, or think that other companies sell products that infringe on freedoms/rights, or that the 'US does it' so it's hypocritical, or that the complainants are only in it for the money.

Cisco did a presentation to the Chinese govt. showing how their products can help restrict political freedoms, for crying out loud! This a company from a country that sloganises constantly about freedom!

If they do settle out of court, so what??? That's money that can be used to further the cause of human rights in China

George | the lucky country - August 16, 2011, 5:17PM

@F | Inner West - I already boycotted Cisco because their equipment is so expensive i could never afforded at the first place for a small business which i run with only 5 computers and a server!!

Gerson | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 5:21PM

To Graham, if you are shock by cisco selling network equipments to the chinese how about US cronies like Rumsfeld selling chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein before and during the Iran-Iraq knowing full well those chemicals were not used to make fertilizer but to kill people. If it is right to sue a company selling main network gear in US why don't they sue US government for selling WMD to dictators in Middle East and helping dictators as long as they were not communist.

Jo | Melbourne - August 16, 2011, 5:28PM

CISCO is just like IBM, who supplied the punch cards which made the Final Solution possible.

Bill | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 5:34PM

I hate net censorship but I have to ask, what law has been broken here? You live in China, your government censors and monitors you online. I believe that the Chinese government creates the law in that country. So it might be illegal in the US where the court case is being held but the alleged offense happened in China where it is not illegal. It's not cool but not illegal, to the best of knowledge.

Dave | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 5:40PM

So does it follow the same logic that just because I am legitimately selling guns, then I am responsible for the action of some crazy lunatic who goes on a shooting rampage? Why blame Cisco? Why not run after the Chinese government for the crackdown?

Gun-dealer | Sydney - August 16, 2011, 6:09PM

Some Australians just don't get it. They probably never experienced oppression and open censorship firsthand and perhaps never been off the island at all. Give it time, the Chinese masses will get restless again. Companies like Cisco has made that task a bit more difficult.

Nite Lite | USA, EUR, AUS - August 16, 2011, 6:21PM

Read more: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/technology/technology-news/fighting-chinas-golden-shield-cisco-sued-over-jailing-and-torture-of--dissidents-20110816-1ivkv.html#ixzz1VF7sm8cx