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Is Cisco Helping China Censor and Suppress Its Citizens?

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


Daniel Ward of the US law firm Ward & Ward has taken on the case on the behalf of Du Daobin, Zhou Yuanzhi, Liu Xianbin and 10 unnamed others, claiming that Cisco had given technology and expertise to allow the ruling party to suppress its people.


Cisco is accused of training Chinese engineers to use its technology to carry out surveillance of online activity and to extinguish dissident activity, but denies these allegations.


Cisco has knowingly aided and encouraged the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to stifle free speech and communication of its people, Mr. Ward has told, stating that Cisco has for more than ten years competed for contracts with the CCP to help develop and implement the 'Golden Shield project', as well, the establishment of China's Policenet system which facilitates ongoing efforts to monitor, track and censor all internet traffic into and out of China.


Court documents obtained, state that Du has been in jail for three years, Zhou a prisoner of his own home and Lui is two months into a 10-year sentence. All three claim they've been tortured and abuse because of articles published online.


It has not been the first time that Cisco has been sued for alleged criminal activity, when the networking company was forced to deny claims in a lawsuit in May that its work on the Golden Shield helped Chinese government to hunt down members of the banned Falun Gong movement. Cisco has responded to lawsuits in stating that it was in support of free expression and open communication on the internet and that it would not give equipment to China to facilitate any blocking of access or surveillance of users.


Being funded by the Laogai Research Foundation, the executive director Harry Wu (whom spent 19years in Chinese labor camps but now lives in America) has filed the case against Cisco in the US District Court in Maryland.


The lawsuit will be reminiscent of the case against Yahoo, to which Wu was the driving force behind, exposing the internet company as giving details about users to the Chinese government; used to throw journalists and dissidents into jail, where they were beaten, deprived of food and basic comforts.


Cisco has stated that does not operate in China or elsewhere, providing just the equipment, and has denied that it has manufactured its products in a 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 has said in a statement.

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