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Cisco Must Be Held Accountable for Aiding China’s Human Rights Abuses (eff.org)
331 points by DiabloD3 on Jan 12, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 116 comments

It seems clear Cisco knew their systems were going to be used against Falun Gong. Leaked Cisco presentation:

"Cisco Confidential 57 © 2002, Cisco Systems

The Golden Shield Project:

Public Network Information Security Monitor System

• Stop the network-related crimes

• Guarantee the security and services of public network

• Combat “Falun Gong” evil religion and other hostiles

[Note: Statement of Government goals from speech government offical Li Runsen]"

Then again it's going to be hard to show legally they were doing much more than helping China enforce it's laws. Still at least the embarrassment factor may put companies off from getting involved in this stuff.

I hope the EFF case makes them release documents related to it.

I didn't know a lot about Falun Gong, and did some research.


The fact that there is even a Wikipedia article with this title is horrifying.

>Falun Gong practitioners in Changchun intercepted eight cable television networks in Jilin Province, and for nearly an hour, televised a program titled "Self-Immolation or a Staged Act?". All six of the Falun Gong practitioners involved were captured over the next few months. Two were killed immediately, while the other four were all dead by 2010 as a result of injuries sustained while imprisoned.

Falun Gong is a peaceful semi-religion. They've never committed violent acts (as far as I can tell), nor have they even tried to subvert China's government. Why in the world is China torturing and killing them? It seems like they're doing it merely out of fear they could maybe one day become a force that would stand against the government. This is very Stalin-esque persecution and paranoia.

I talked with a Chinese person who told me why. His explanation:

Falun Gong exercises (Tai-Chi like) improved the health of their practicioners. The communist party supported Falun Gong practice because it lowered their healthcare costs.

Until there were more members of Falun Gong than Communist party officials. So the latter began hunting the former.

Some Chinese fled China, and that's how the West know about Falun Gong.

Very sad state of affairs.


Falun was banned by mainland China simply because it's a Taiwan backed cult organization to gather intel & support coup in government seniors and military. The rest is media propaganda.

Yeah right. Until 1999 it received wide support from Chinese officials, but then decided it was too big and started a silly propaganda campaign feeding the gullible with lies like you just told at the same time when they started a violent persecution.

At least they had learned something from the bloody Tienanmen massacre, and this time instead sending military to murder piles of unarmed civilians carried out the murders a bit more covertly.

Does this remind anyone else of Order 66?

Jedis aren't defenseless. Falun aren't trained fighters with powers. So no.

Order 66 is Hitler shutting down the SA for the SS.

I just had to "correct" you. Also I do enjoy finding similarities with the empire and Jedis.

> Until 1999 it received wide support from Chinese officials

Even some famed academy of science fellow believed in "special human body functions". 90s was just a really weird time in China. Chinese government is far from perfect, but I honestly don't know anyone from China who doesn't support the banning of FLG.

Quick quiz for you: exactly how many people died on that square you mentioned? If not, where are the killing happened? Which side draw first blood?

Just for fun, let's compare search engine results for the term "tiananmen square":

Google: https://www.google.com/search?q=tiananmen+square&safe=off&cl...

Baidu: http://image.baidu.com/search/index?tn=baiduimage&ps=1&ct=20...

Most estimates I see put the number of casualties in the 1000's, caused by the side that happened to have, y'know, tanks.

You don't know?

The estimates for the civilians killed in the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 range from hundreds to thousands - no exact count is available.

In terms of "which side drew first blood", you could say the "side" of the student protesters, though there's no evidence of "blood" in their actions (as they had no weapons).

The morning of June 3, protesters clashed with unarmed soldiers trying to force them out of the square, momentarily forcing the army to retreat. By 10pm that night, the army began firing live ammunition at the protesters and the fatalities commenced.

est probably means that while we "know" that people were killed on Tiananmen Square, they were actually killed in the streets around the square, not on the square itself.

(Other sources say that there were indeed deaths on the square, but less than five or so, not the main massacre)

But it doesn't really matter where exactly the deaths happened.

Only insofar as it reminds us of the fallibility of the human mind (cf. witnesses in court): many people actually believe they have seen in TV how people were slaughtered on the square, which is demonstrably incorrect.

Are you implying that the Tiananmen Square massacre did not happen?

Not speaking for the previous poster, but it is worth noting that talking about "Tiananmen Square massacre" may be misleading, because AFAIK the majority of fatalities, both of protesters and soldiers, happened outside the square, in the streets.

does it matter if it was 1 or 1000? They were killed because they wanted democracy and the state wanted to retain their power and ability to enrich themselves at the cost of the general population.

Don't forget that it wasn't just on the square. Soldiers fired in the surrounding area as well. so those deaths should be part of the total. Your tone gives the impression that you're either part of the PRC's internet army, or one of the tin-foil hat crowd. Which is it?

Getting your information from Baidu?

I dunno. People still do business with IBM, and they worked with the German government on the census system that tracked victims of the holocaust during WWII.

IBM's existant history didn't put Cisco off of doing business with China.

IBM kind of claims that their subsidiary was more or less nationalized during the Nazi period. [1] However squishy and self-serving that claim is, Cisco doesn't even have that defense. War and human rights were going through a discovery period from WWI through the 1970's. In the 2000's there's not really an excuse for not scrutinizing what your products will be used for around the world.

1. https://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/1388.wss

(too late to edit original comment, just realized I missed the link)

IBM did that work before the 1980 Filartiga v. Pena-Irala case, which is what enables the remedy being sought in this case. In the former case, those injuries are a part of history, whereas in the latter case they are on-going so it's also a question of standing.

> • Combat “Falun Gong” evil religion and other hostiles

"Evil religion", wow. I wouldn't have thought a disbelief in moral relativism could make a government official sound so much like a third grader. I feel sorry for the millions of civilians whose lives are negatively affected by this Li buffoon.

You must think Orwellian - what is the only real evil thing in 1984 - the dissent unsanctioned by the government.

My wild guess is that the original was something along the lines of disorder/troublemakers and got lost in translation.

Falun Gong is an evil litigious cult created in 1992 as a way to raise money for the founders and cult leaders.

They're unscrupulous, including promising terminally ill cancer patients the possibility of healing if they just redirect their remaining wealth toward the cult.

They're the Chinese equivalent to Scientology, but even worse. Their teachings are racing, homophobic, sexist and misogynistic. They preached that UFOs had arrived on earth; aliens had taken over human bodies, and were trying to annihilate humanity through the control of TV and radio.

See: http://www.cultnews.com/2010/10/falun-gong-is-good/

Wikipedia doesn't make them sound so bad - "three central tenets of the belief are Truthfulness (真, Zhēn), Compassion (善, Shàn), and Forbearance"

The troubles seem to stem from "April 1999, when over 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners gathered peacefully near the central government compound in Beijing to request legal recognition and freedom from state interference."

I guess peaceful demonstrations against the state are going to get you tiananmen squared over there.

I would not rely on wikipedia for politically controversial information.

And I would not rely on the Chinese state to be a neutral source of information on anything at all.

Ah, yes, but cultnews.com is the bastion of truth

> Their teachings are racing, homophobic, sexist and misogynistic

I could think of several large sects of the big three montothiestic religions that preach most of the above. Apart from racing. Racism perhaps, but not racing.

Does that make it right to persecute and torture them?

Only if you subscribe to the "evil deeds done against bigots are not really evil" doctrine.

What's interesting to me about the Falun Gong is the relation I draw between the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (THK) movement and the Falun Gong. In the 1800s, the THK lead the Taiping Rebellion, a massive civil war in which the THK took over Nanjing and large amounts of Chinese Territory. I believe that the Communist Party of China's arguably overly-egressive response against the Falun Gong, which yes is rightfully an unscrupulous cult, is indicative of their own insecurities about how they maintain power. There are many people in China that commit all manner of scams, being that it is a country with a wide variety of income classes - America, for one, is the same in that regard. There are many racist, homophobic, sexist and misogynistic, wild cults in other societies - but that is what comes with pluralistic societies, which China is not being that they are one-party ruled. The key question is - why does the Communist Party of China attack the Falun Gong so disproportionately aggressively over how it does to other organizations and forces within its own country who perpetrate similar ills? One is tempted to think that the answer lies within the size, strength and power of what the Falun Gong had attained in the 1990s, coupled with the historical allegory of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. I believe that more than anything, the Communist Party is trying to protect its rule of the country, as well as the general order and progression of society, as is their philosophy as a vanguard socialist movement, rather than a pluralistic movement.

regardless we are not in the business of killing scientologists just for being scientologists. From your description of them I would assume that the communist party in China dislikes them because they want to be the only party in town when it comes to enriching the leaders at the cost of everyone else.

They may be cult-ish, but they don't seem nearly as bad as Scientology. If anything, they're a little more like Catholicism. They preach against homosexuality and deny evolution, but they aren't violent at all, or have beliefs that anyone would consider crazier than what fundamentalist Christians or Muslims believe.

They may not be the paragons of virtue they claim to be, but they definitely have done nothing to deserve mass torture and murder. Real cults like Scientology and Aum Shinrikyo have killed their own members, and non-members. Falun Gong hasn't.

Your source makes the supports the claims you make, but it itself does not source (some of it more grievous) claims.

I'm willing to accept that the claims of them suing various people. But I wouldn't call these cases frivolous per se: They could very well believe that they were denied participation in a parade on a discriminatory basis. I wouldn't necessarily say I think it is the right approach to take but the examples they give are not that absurd in today's world. (And could also be the work of but a small subsection of the group).

Governments of the world have to care about human rights abuses before someone with teeth can prosecute. I sincerely doubt anyone in power (elected, appointed, hired) in any government cares at all about random humans at distance. Especially if caring would affect their own quality of life.

Its how you sell it, we could claim that it Cisco Systems is selling technology to a hostile government with the aim of subverting American hegemony. Which FYI, is exactly what it did.

You forget they probably put in a few NSA chips and "bugs" before shipping it. So ...

I think you underestimate (some) people's humanity.

Not that you are wrong, but likely you also overestimate people's humanity.

That's an absurd proposition. Even if you have an incredibly cynical view of humanity, it's extremely unlikely to be unable to find someone in a government with power who holds any reasonable common position of the general populace.

Those people seem plenty OK to aide and assist an entity which tortures and commits war crimes, mass murder, genocide, so they have more common with a member of ISIS than they do with any sane human.

Delinka very specifically said any person in any position of governmental authority, including ones who were merely hired to do a job. Saying that, I dunno, the office manager at the local agriculture bureau is an insane terrorist and complicit in war crimes and genocide and is kinda stupid.

I did not. I said "...with power." I doubt the office manager at the local agriculture bureau has any.

Glad this is finally coming to light. Every time I would mention it here that Cisco has built backdoors in its routers specifically to aid the Chinese government and later other governments as well, I would get downvoted. Cisco standardized the "lawful intercept" protocol for routers at the IETF, people! What did you think that meant?!

The US government (hopefully after it elects a saner president) and other supposedly democratic countries as well, need to come together and 1) make it clear that you can't sell tools which you know are being used for mass censorship and mass surveillance that then leads to torture or assassinations and whatnot (I know, this definition will need to be cleaned up a bit), and 2) punish the companies that still disobey those rules severely. It's time for the democratic countries to act the way they say they are.

Stop conflating backdoors and lawful intercept.

Lawful intercept is a specific method of viewing traffic passing through a network device.

It would be straightforward to build something, without it being a standard feature of vendor network devices, using a different standard feature of literally any enterprise level network device: port mirroring. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_mirroring

Port mirroring exists for many reasons and is widely available on switches for things like IDS, troubleshooting, and performance monitoring (e.g. generating netflow on an different device than the switch).

To use Cisco lawful intercept, you must already hold the highest admin privileges on the device.

Cisco almost certainly built this feature for the US agencies. The ones it has been supplying internet routers to since the commercialisation of routers, a short time after the creation of the internet by... US agencies.

Those 'democratic' countries you mention are using the same features themselves.

Obama is insane now ?

Well to be fair, the NSA is still doing its thing. This makes it hard to criticise China for doing similar things.

That's not the same as "insane" though is it.

Okay hold the US government for aiding in Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses.

I don't know whether to cheer for things like this, though I do support works for improving human rights. For the most part they seem to be drops in the ocean of human rights abuse. And I don't know if it's doing anything to stop those abuses or just a control mechanism to make us feel like we are accomplishing something... while the biggest abusers and their supporters continue scot-free.

Human rights theater is better than no attention paid to human rights at all.

In particular the Helsinki Accords, which seemed empty when signed, seemed to wind up being influential a decade or so later. I've been sympathetic to human rights theater ever since.


We try to make push backs where we can. You're right though. It does feel futile. It must be so frustrating to work in human rights.

It's not the people who provide goods who should be prosecuted but the people who carry out the actual bad who must be held to account. On the other hand, China [or any country with baddies, perh including our own] is a sovereign government and beside some economic pressure I don't know there is much more we should be able to do. Unless Cisco violated some commercial embargo or egregiously violated export law, etc.

That's how evil things happen. This phenomena is called diffusion of responsibility[0] and lead to some of the most evil actions in human history.

0. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion_of_responsibility

Do you think the eff should make moral judgments on its donors and only accept donations from morally acceptable people? Maybe it should be their responsibility to ensure their income only comes from people with whom they are morally compatible. And alternatively donors ensure that principals and associates of the eff are also moral.

Sorry, I don't see how that's relevant. EFF does no evil (as far as I'm concerned), but let's hypothetically say, if one day we found out that EFF helps some foreign government to repress their people, sure everyone supporting EFF now should feel morally obligated to stop their funding.

Your interpretation is off. I'm asking, what if some of their donations come from people or governments who are misogynists, racists, tax cheats, etc. Should the eff figure out the "dirtiness" of the moneys they receive as the eff is asking Cisco to eval the morality of one of the sources of their income.

I understand where you are aiming, but getting money through (anonymous) donation and actively promoting and selling products that you know (as can be seen on slideshow) will be used persecute people is not the same. To answer your question, if some shady character donates money to EFF without asking anything in return and using it as PR, I don't see anything wrong with that.

This is not about Cisco receiving money but about Cisco helping to do 'bad things'.

Is there material difference between actively helping and passively helping? If the Cisco product is but one in the chain which enables them to carry out morally disagreeable deeds, why choose Cisco out of the bunch? Do we go after OSS devs, MS, Apple, etc? All these products are on the chain of enablement.

>That's how evil things happen. This phenomena is called diffusion of responsibility[0] and lead to some of the most evil actions in human history.

Another way evil happens, even more prevalent today, is meddling and invasion on sovereign countries.

The good ole "democracy bringing" routine...

What does this have to do with Cisco?

When engaging with a prospective customer, why should corporations not make a moral judgement about how their goods and services will be used?

If one is not careful, that idea leads to backwater businesses bringing back racial segregation, etc. Rather, I think human rights should be vigorously protected and clearly defined to avoid such slippery slopes.

What? How does the parents comment, which suggested that corporations should consider moral implementations along side the economic ones when making decisions, lead to racial segregation?

The same moral arguments are used to justify discrimination. Businesses today in the US are refusing to provide healthcare to employees (Hobby Lobby), or refusing to serve certain sexual orientations (various wedding services), and they claim it's because they are morally opposed to whatever group they discriminate against. 60 years ago, the same moral rhetoric justified forced racial segregation in the US.

So when we say companies should refuse to serve customers on moral grounds, we have to be sure just which morals we're talking about.

It depends on whose morality system you use - some people are racist, and if they hold you accountable for not adhering to their moral practices (which are incompatible with normal moral standards), then you end up with the businesses implementing racist practices too.

Corporation feels it is more moral to employ white people and give more pay to them. Or that it isn't moral to allow homosexuals into the company.

So the U.S. should just let anyone export nuclear weapons manufacturing information and these trade restrictions lifted?


If the gov't were to lift restrictions, yes. What restrictions against export did Cisco violate?

As it is, countries with weapons manufacturers allow their firms to engage in sales to lots of regimes who ate known to engage in all sorts of rights violations. Only occasionally are embargoes or sanctions imposed. I dont see where Cisco violated any international embargo.

what happens when the 'bad' cannot be carried out without the goods in question? Aren't the providers of the goods then complicit in the bad, especially when they have knowledge of how their goods are going to be used.

OK EFF, you convinced me, I'll donate.

I'm strongly in support of holding cisco accountable for this in any way, shape or form possible.

....but if we do that, where will we get routers with backdoors for us.gov from?

who the fuck are you EFF, why are you stirring up so much trouble, and who pays you?

I donate to them, as do many people who believe that they are doing good work overall.

It is in cases like this that I remember all those stupid code of conduct trainings that companies like Cisco make their employees go through.

Bernard Williams in his criticism of Utilitarianism imagined a scenario where a scientist is torn between feeding his family by helping develop an evil weapon, and refusing the offer knowing full well that the place will be filled by someone else anyway.

Even if Cisco walked away from such deals, there would Chinese companies willing to fill their place. The Party developed hydrogen bombs and spaceships to stay in power. There seems to be little reason why they wouldn't do this themselves, if Cisco didn't play along.

Actually, I would rather a company like Cisco that's partially under US jurisdiction and media scrutiny to do all the nasty work for the Party than an anonymous Chinese company doing the same thing.

While I do think human rights are a good idea, the focus seems to be carefully selected to as to make "bad" countries look bad and western countries look good. For the US, it's OK to kill people as long as you do it a bit randomly in a war instead of being too targeted, or as long as you do it to foreigners not your own citizens and you try to kill them quickly instead of using deliberate torture. If you do use torture, it should be psychological (solitary confinement) rather than physical. It's also OK to kill people by leaving them in an unsafe environment surrounded by killers (poor neighborhoods) without providing enough security or enough income to buy their way out. It's also OK to kill them in the name of economic progress by allowing cars to drive at speeds which regularly cause death. Somehow we accept these things as tolerable or even necessary but we don't realize that classic "bad country tortures dissidents" human rights abuses are equally necessary - they do the same thing wars do - secure the positions of governments against people who want to take them over. Even the name "dissident" is misleading - If we called Falun Gong members "traitors", that might make them sound like bad people and engender less public sympathy.

Cartoon about our patriotic biases: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/03/glorious-leader-wicke...

That said, it doesn't stop human rights abuses being wrong too.

I think building a mental model of "bad," countries vs. "good," countries is over simplistic and not really useful when comparing China to the United States. The two entities are two of the largest countries in the world both by wealth, population and area. What troubles many Chinese about the Falun Gong and American society is the instability and inherent threats that it causes to Chinese society, by way of potential destabilization of the Chinese Communist Party's central authoritarian rule. What troubles Americans and more pluralistic societies is that they believe that only through a pluralistic, representative society can human rights abuses be brought to the forefront and eliminated. What the thought is, while America has many problems and human rights abuses, China is likely perpetrating far more serious problems under the surface, on a regular basis, due to a fundamental, "Who watches the watchers?" problem inherent in a vanguard movement as opposed to a pluralistic society in which titans can hypothetically point fingers at one another as they battle for power, leveraging the common folk's sensibilities to de-seat one another.

It's also OK to kill them in the name of economic progress by allowing cars to drive at speeds which regularly cause death.

That's a very bizarre statement, but very telling of why you would defend authoritarian regimes.

It also completely ignores the fact that local and state governments in the US regularly try to reduce speed limits which often leads to higher accident and fatality rates.

I'm not disputing your comment, but can you provide a citation for this? I did a quick google but the only reference I could find was a report (editorial?) in the Wall Street Journal called "Highways are safe at any speed".

Not off hand, but there's been articles that hit the front page of HN about it.

I'm just exploring other things that we seem to take for granted despite them being terrible. Of course China has that too but it's a huge "unexotic" problem in most countries.

>do it to foreigners not your own citizens

We have droned our own citizens.

I can't believe this is happening today. I know that ideologies use humans to build organizations and do battle with each other, but I thought we were past the Stalinist purges and atheist totalitarianism. This makes anything the US does to Muslims pale in comparison. How does China grant freedom of religion to five religions only?

I'm Chinese and I have no idea what "douzhung" means. (It doesn't even seem to be valid pinyin.) Can somebody enlighten me and tell what the Chinese characters are?

Don't blame the sword, blame the holder.

Swords cannot think. Cisco executives can.

That point could be argued.

With all respect, business is business. CISCO is not an instrument of the US foreign policy. Its a company, with responsibilities to shareholders. Looking at their stock, they are doing OK.

If you create a bomb that can destroy the universe, are you really gonna blame who pulls the trigger?


If holding swords is illegal, shouldn't we prosecute sword makers ?

If the sword makers design a sword specifically to kill members of a persecuted minority, then yes..

Common criminals also constitute a persecuted minority. What kind of criminal do you consider worthy of protection and what kind should get persecuted?

Perhaps people should follow the law of the country they're in to avoid persecution. Don't publish state secrets in the US, don't have sex with other men in Saudi Arabia and don't broadcast anti-state messages in China.


Religious flamewars are not allowed on Hacker News. Please don't conduct them here.

In fact, your comment ("we need to shame islam", "toilet paper", etc.) is egregious enough to be a bannable offense. Please don't post any more like this.

We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10891505 and marked it off-topic.

With rhetoric like that and actions backed by such rhetoric you will make Saudi Arabia into a prime candidate for ISIS takeover after a power vacuum of ridding the region of Islam.

Muslims in general are mercurial. And not all people in the region have the same social attitudes. The whole point is to enable secuarlists while disabling orthodoxy. That's not done through such violent rhetoric.

America has not been following this policy of backing up the secularists and disabling the orthodoxy. Instead, it has used the orthodoxy for its own political/geopolitical games, and as a result empowered them in the whole region. It empowered the Saudis to essentially spew Islamist literature all over the world, at times coordinated with them to do so for instance in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets.

The West has further been giving refuge and a platform to the orthodoxy and basically leaving them alone to concoct plans to overthrow governments as is the case in Iran. Even now there are many Islamists sitting comfortably in America and Britain preaching hatred, religion, and orthodoxy and nothing is done to curtail this.

In fact the West totally does not know how to spread secular, Western values other than to bomb countries and help them achieve Capitalist objectives. Instead of using its covert apparatus to espouse good values, it instead uses it for other purposes to increase its power and its influence often at the cost of humanism and secular values.

Islam in south-east asia seems a lot friendlier that islam in Saudi Arabia. Hell, islam in Saudi's neighboring states seems a lot friendlier, too. It's not just islam that is the cause of Saudi's human rights abuses.

I'm a strong atheist and generally agree with your sentiment, but Saudi's transgressions are not purely religion-based, otherwise we'd see them as strongly in other islamic nations.

We do see the criminalization of blasphemy or apostasy in many of those countries, for example, so we still have a lot of gains to be made for human rights against harmful ideologies.

> We need to shame islam and take it kicking and screaming into the 20th century. Half of the quran needs to be declared to be toilet paper and nothing more, and then we can talk.

Wahhabism exists in the present, you know. And who's this "we"? Liberal Americans and/or Europeans? Who has the standing to dictate religious beliefs? Anyway, the problem is the US government. Or at least, changing its policies is the only workable strategy.

1) We is everyone, including perhaps most importantly, muslims.

2) Why do I even have to defend that islam should be criticized ? Name one single other ideology where you would ask that question if I asked you if it was okay to smear it. Of course islam should be critisized for being a medieval and stupid faith. So should every other one, of course, but these past few years islam clearly seems to need it significantly more than other faiths.

Somehow a superiority complex has gotten into this fucked-up ideology. That, above all else, needs to get destroyed. 80% of muslims worldwide should think the simple truth about basic subjects, like that sharia is a horrendously stupidly and cruel idea. That their prophet was a paedophile warlord that is a despicable monster NOT worthy of imitation. Things like that.

Are all Christians to blame for e.g. Uganda's kill the gays law the same way you seem to believe all Muslims are for Saudi Arabia?

That's not what the commenter said. Don't confuse opposition to bad ideas with hatred of people who hold similar ideas.

In some cases it is the idea that shapes the people, and those ideas must be contested.

It is in fact exactly what the commenter said: “a specific religion”, “holding Islam to the standard of modernity”, rejecting half of the Quran as trash, etc. are blanket references to an entire major world religion.

I cannot say whether it was due to bigotry or gross ignorance but neither is helpful to anyone other than groups like ISIS or their fortunately less-successful Christian fundamentalist counterparts who are trying to spin this as a war between religions.

The comment said "Islam", but you said "Muslims". There's a difference in this case. I think the meta point behind that comment is that cultures, philosophies, and religions need to excise harmful ideologies from themselves for human rights to progress.

Some forms of Christianity need to remove their hatred of gays or other races.

Some forms of American culture need to value non-American life more highly.

Some forms of Islam need to discard their love of theocracy, male superiority, and jihad.

Though you've probably heard plenty of Muslim bashing and "Christians vs. Muslims" idiocy, that's far from what's going on here in this discussion. It needs to be possible for us to separate people and ideas in our minds, so we can elevate people while dismissing the harmful ideas that motivate harmful behavior.

That's all fine and dandy but none of that nuance is in the comment you're defending so I'm not sure why you're trying to retcon it in now.

That's what made it so strikingly offensive: it's trying to portray 1.6 billion people in many countries around the world as a uniform group with a single belief.

"The problem there is not the US government. The problem there is religion - a specific religion to be extact."

One might say that China's militant atheism is in many ways similar or even worse than Saudi Arabia's pervasive Islamism. Both have "religious" police. But China is even more brutal.

So should you since that device you are reading this on was most likely sourced there. Likely sourced by underpaid workers in virtual enslavement to Foxconn or some other component manufacturer. Not to mention living in a toxic environment so we can all have our electronic toys.

Do you have a reference for "virtual enslavement" to Foxconn? Last I heard, people were lining up to get jobs there and with enough working hours, the pay was higher than what a university graduate makes. If you call paying people so much they don't want to leave "enslavement" then perhaps that's right, but it also means it's not really bad.

Foxconn employs nearly a million people. You are going to get quite a few suicides no matter what you do. Their suicide rate is below the China population average.

Not just the Chinese average: during its worst year (2010), the rate was lower than in all 50 US states.

Purpose built tech provided to the Chinese government used to assist tracking, detainment and torture of individuals.

The working conditions are pretty poor, but people are still choosing them over unemployment, for obvious reasons. Forcing them into unemployment by refusing to buy their products may assuage our consciences, but it doesn't help them, and it's not how we in the developed world got our improvements in quality of life.


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