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Shareholders Squeeze Cisco on Human Rights 264

Posted by timothy
from the where-freedom-is-a-dirty-word dept.
Comatose51 writes "According to this article at Wired, Boston Common Asset Management, has filed a shareholders resolution asking Cisco to 'adopt a comprehensive human rights policy for its dealings with the Chinese government, and with other states practicing political censorship of the internet.' Cisco so far has asked the SEC to omit this proposal from the agenda for the next annual meeting, claiming that it already has a comprehensive human rights policy in place and that 'Cisco does not participate in any way in any censorship activities in the People's Republic of China ...' However, 'a report from the OpenNet Initiative watchdog group last April singled out Cisco for allegedly enabling the Chinese government's notorious "Great Firewall."' As a shareholder in Cisco, I would like to see this issue discussed and voted on."
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Shareholders Squeeze Cisco on Human Rights

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  • Yawn! (Score:4, Funny)

    by gearmonger (672422) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @03:57PM (#13203579)
    Feh, if every company tried to impose its ideas of social justice on the governments it does business with, we'd have one monster of a mess on our hands. Leave the companies to make money and the voters to tell the government how to behave.

    Oh, wait.

    • Re:Yawn! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bobbis.u (703273) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:20PM (#13204023)
      Leave the companies to make money and the voters to tell the government how to behave

      That sounds like a great idea.

      Unfortunately, it seems that now some companies have succeeded in making lots of money, they are the ones telling the government how to behave.

      Arguably, some power still lies with the people because they are the ones who buy the companies products... but then you remember we are talking about multinational companies with foreign customers. These foreign customers include other governments - meaning that you effectively have foreign governments (i.e. China) wielding power over the US government. Don't you just love capitalism!?

    • regulating corporations.

      Usually when you allow someone to make a huge mess and leave someone else to clean it up, you have a big problem on your hands.

      We're giving billions in consumer dollars, intellectual property and factory construction and product development technology to one of the most undemocratic, misogynistic, anti-reproductive choice, pollution-happy, anti-workers rights nations on Earth.

      China is in every way the enemy of America except in war. Their way of life is absolutely opposed to ours.

      Wou
  • Finally. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FusionDragon2099 (799857) <fusiondragon2099@gmail.com> on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:00PM (#13203591)
    In every other discussion on /. about companies in China, we're told that it's the shareholders that force them to operate there. It's nice to see someone who's socially responsible for once.
    • Re:Finally. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Keruo (771880) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:07PM (#13203641)
      Sadly socially responsible =! financially profitable.
      Explains why rich shareholders push operations towards China.
      And lets not forget, once China gets their human rights issues resolved, there's tons of profit to be made.
      It is after all the largest market area in the world, and currently growing at fastest pace compared to the rest of the world.
      • Re:Finally. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dogtanian (588974) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:20PM (#13203717) Homepage
        And lets not forget, once China gets their human rights issues resolved, there's tons of profit to be made.

        There's tons of profit to be made *without* them resolving their human rights issues. If you're implying that profit will improve Chinese human rights, I'm not convinced of that, for the reason I've just given.

        I didn't get the impression you were saying that Western companies could wait until China had resolved its human rights issues before investing and reaping profit...

        It is after all the largest market area in the world, and currently growing at fastest pace compared to the rest of the world.

        And although many westerners can see a vast pool of profit in the Chinese market, the Chinese government and friends (i.e. the strata for whose benefit the country is run; let's not kid ourselves that China today is *anything* but an uber-capitalistic plutocracy) have a vested interest in keeping that money and power for themselves.
      • And lets not forget, once China gets their human rights issues resolved, there's tons of profit to be made.

        Unfortunately "China gets their human rights issues resolved" is much less likely to mean "China stops human rights abuses" than it is to mean "America convinces its citizens to stop caring about China's human rights abuses".

        And, frankly, it seems that China's human rights issues are probably already almost "resolved" in this sense at this point.
    • Exactly how should Cisco be "socially responsible?" By refusing to sell routers to anyone in China? If Cisco is specifically adding features to their routers at the request of the Chinese government or because it will help the Chinese government censor the internet for their citizens, then by all means someone post a pointer to the information. Everything I've seen indicates that the Chinese government is using the exact same capabilitities that I use to filter spam and viruses and other forms of malware
      • Point taken. I do think that Cisco should listen to their shareholders though and enact a policy that explicity states opposition to human rights violations. The article does link to this policy [cisco.com] but it doesn't seem to explain too much in the way of human rights, in fact it does mention the UN Global Compact [unglobalcompact.org] but I fail to see a one to one correlation with their existing stated policies. The shareholders are not asking for Cisco to refuse to sell to China, only to enact a specific policy against human righ
  • by El Cubano (631386) <roberto@co[ ]xer.com ['nne' in gap]> on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:00PM (#13203595) Homepage

    As a shareholder in Cisco, I would like to see this issue discussed and voted on.

    And as executives, the members of the board would like to see this swept under the rug as quickly and quietly as possible. Remember that such a resolution would impede the company's ability to do business in the single fastest growing tech market in the world.

    IIRC, I read in a recent issue of IEEE Spectrum that Cisco was also a winner of one of six huge contracts to rebuild China's Internet infrastructure. I highly doubt the Chinese government would have chosen Cisco if they did not have the ability to sensor as the Chinese government on it. If you can lay your hands on that copy of Spectrum, they specifically discuss the censorship issue and speculate as to whether or not Cisco is party to it.

    • by reporter (666905) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:30PM (#13203771) Homepage
      such a resolution would impede the company's ability to do business in the single fastest growing tech market in the world.

      Yet, are there things that are more important than money?

      Fortunately, many of my peers in the United States of America feel that some things are more important than money. Consider the case of Stanford University. It is probably the most commercial of the elite universities and has strong ties to industry. Yet, Stanford University recently divested its investments in Chinese companies like PetroChina, which is commited to indifference to the Sudanese victims of human-rights abuses [stanford.edu].

      What surprises me about the lead article in this discussion is that Boston Common Asset Management, which (to my knowledge) is not an official advocate of socially responsible investing [socialfunds.com], has done such a clearly socially responsible act. Does anyone know of any funds managed by Boston Common Asset Management? I want to invest a significant amount of my 401K monies into those funds.

      Like Stanford's Board of Trustees, I too am committed to the cause of human rights. I invest exclusively in socially responsible mutual funds.

      By the way, there is a significant and measurable difference between Western society and non-Western society. In the West, you will often see incidents of this kind, where shareholders actually demand that companies support human rights. Cisco will change. Reebok [reebok.com] has already changed and is now an official supporter of Amnesty International. Can anyone find examples of such shareholder activism in, say, the Chinese province of Taiwan [geocities.com]?

    • I think a good solution to this problem would be to force Cisco to not sell to China somehow which would force Cisco to "lobby" the US government into stricter laws. That way competitors couldn't sell to China either.

      Works for Cisco and works for the "good guys" and everyone's happy.
    • Cisco isn't really the villain here. The problem is, of course, that the Chinese government controls the nation's Internet access. The "Great Firewall" isn't any special technology - it's just use of existing standards and equipment. It's hard to make Cisco complicit in repressing human rights if all they're doing is selling into that market the same stuff that they sell to everyone else. These aren't guns or bombs. Routers don't kill people.

      An alternative, I guess, is to embargo the sale of network ro
  • i concur (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:01PM (#13203597)
    Me and all 10 of my shares would like to see something done about this!
  • Et tu, Microsoft (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:05PM (#13203627)


    You probably won't hear it on the evening news in the USA, but Microsoft is also actively engaged in helping China with political censorship [google.com].

  • by blcamp (211756) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:06PM (#13203634) Homepage

    It is a business of network equipment. It has the primary goal of turning over as much equipment as it can, and make as much money as it can... what's the phrase? "Maximizing Shareholder Value".

    It's not Cisco's prerogative to try and tell ANY government how to draw up policy... all they need to do is keep selling hardware... at a profit.

    If a couple shareholders don't like it, buy them out and tell them to move on. Seriously.

    I mean, puh-leeze...
    • Their primary and only goal is to do what the owners decide.
    • by dbarclay10 (70443) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:25PM (#13203741)
      It is a business of network equipment. It has the primary goal of turning over as much equipment as it can, and make as much money as it can... what's the phrase? "Maximizing Shareholder Value".

      You misunderstand the stock market system. The stock market system is about making the executive and management of a company responsible to a large number of stakeholders. It's easy to hold them responsible to a small number of people, but once you get millions of stakeholders, it's a bit more difficult.

      In a way though, you're right - it all gets down to "maximizing shareholder value." Except it's the shareholders who decide what they value - not you (likely an armchair stock analyst without any Cisco stock), the executive, the management, or the employees.

      If some shareholders feel that protecting their freedoms is valuable, and they feel that one of the ways Cisco can do that is by refusing to allow those freedoms to be curtailed - at least on such a massive scale as China - using their technology, then the appropriate course of action would attempt to bring the issue to a vote.

    • what's the phrase? "Maximizing Shareholder Value"

      Yes, and there are actually a lot of different ways to maximize shareholder value.

      There are those who would say that General Motors, by persuing large and quick profits by overselling its SUV lines was "maximizing shareholder value"--because it brought significant profits back to its shareholders in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

      A GM shareholder might not have been pleased being a Toyota shareholder. Toyota, during the time period that GM was making crazy pr
    • I don't know what I disagree with more: your statement that a company has no prerogative to choose to do business only with those that they don't find offensive or your complete lack of respect for the process that lets shareholders have a say in how their company is run.

      Since we are talking about corporations here, which in the US have most of the rights of a human, I do not see why they should not have to abide by the same laws that I do. I cannot go and support the mafia trying to strong arm local bu
    • Whose responsibility was it to insure that IBM's equipment wasn't used for nefarious purposes by Hitler's regime? Who was there to tell IBM that their equipment might be used to sort people like worthless cargo at concentration camps?

      I would argue that it was EVERYONE'S responsibility - although no one seemed to think about it at that time. This time there is a clear indication what China is up to and that this equipment is clearly being used in a manner inconsistent with our values.

      • The IBM Nazis were using systems way ahead of time. People didn't understand punchcard systems till 10+ years later. And getting mad at IBM equipment is like getting mad at a MP40. It's just a utility/tool that anyone else can use.

    • Tell that to the companies which have lost billions due to being held accountable for among other things: cigarette sales and helping the nazis kill jews. Maximizing shareholder value doesn't mean only making as much profit as possible, but also being careful to avoid the possibility of lawsuits rendering those profits moot in the long term. Violating human rights is a good way to get yourself sued in the long term. In this case, potentially by a class action lawsuit involving over a billion chinese.
    • Cisco is any business that shareholders say it is in.

      If a majority of shareholders want to produce energy efficent lead-free routers then Cisco is in the business of producing energy efficent lead-free routers and you are going to start seeing advertizments touting the new "Green" Cisco routers. If a majority of shareholders want to donate 10% of all sales towards curing cancer simply because they think it's a good cause, well they can do that too.

      Such policies can also have direct financial benefits. Wheth
    • I have read the 8 replies to my OP (as of this writing).

      I was afraid some people would mischaracterize my comments, and I was right.

      I said it is Cisco's "primary goal" to turn over equipment and make money. I did NOT say it was their ONLY goal.

      Some mentioned I do not respect (or understand) the shareholder system. While I do not own CSCO, I do own other companies. I know full well about how shareholders make thier voices heard.

      Some presume that raising an issue like this will make the issue snowball on the
      • by gilroy (155262) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:29PM (#13204344) Homepage Journal
        Blockquoth the poster:

        Again, I say... Cisco is not in the business of telling governments how to run their affairs.

        And again, this is not what's going on. If this passes, Cisco isn't telling China not to censor. It's telling China that Cisco won't be a part of it.


        also consider that if Cisco did, someone else will surely step in to sell their own hardware

        This is the convenient cop-out that often allows people to justify their participation in the nefarious deeds of others. Maybe "someone else" would sell the routers. Heck, there'd be a market, right? But neither Cisco nor Cisco's shareholders are responsible for what "someone else" does. They are responsible for what Cisco does. That's what is at issue here.

        If Cisco bowed out and "someone else" stepped in, well, at the very least, the routers would be more expensive (because the supply is smaller, as the major supplier is not selling). This impacts the Chinese policy, at least a little. Maybe at some point someone in China would decide that the monetary cost wasn't worth it. Meanwhile, activists would see that their policy could work, and might use a similar one to force the "someone else" to stop working with China, too. As well, it's not outrageous to think that a "boycott complicits" movement will lead to local governments and universities and so on buying only from companies that don't aid in Chinese censorship. And bam! Now Cisco is deriving an actual monetary benefit from their policy.

        It's not as cut-and-dried as you want to make it seem. The process seems in fact to be handling the concerns of the shareholders quite well -- at least, until the execs at Cisco get the SEC to allow them to muzzle the proposal.

        But then, that would be ironically appropriate, wouldn't it?

        Dance with the Devil long enough and you grow cloven feet, too.
    • > It's not Cisco's prerogative to try and tell ANY government how to draw up policy... all they need to do is keep selling hardware... at a profit.

      You mean Cisco doesn't have lobbyists that try to tell OUR government how to draw up policy? Really?

      > If a couple shareholders don't like it, buy them out and tell them to move on. Seriously.

      Look, the shareholders own the company and they have the right AND responsibility to tell them how they want it run. If you don't like it, tough. If they don
    • Blockquoth the poster:

      what's the phrase? "Maximizing Shareholder Value".

      Fair enough. But not all value is monetary value. The shareholders of Cisco get to decide what value they wish to receive. Perhaps they receive value from knowing that the company they own (and it is the shareholders who own it) does not help Communist nations suppress free expression. That might be worth a lot to them, in fact. In which case, it's perfectly reasonable for the shareholders to trade dollar value for that value -- if

    • I, as a plantation owner, do not engage in slave trade. I merely work with a headhunter to engage on site staff, and then feed and clothe said staff in exchange for labor. In fact, my headhunter assure me that most of the men and women on my plantation come of thier own free will in exchange for a payment to thier family. My staff are saints, giving of themselves so their family will not starve! Am I to stop in this legal practice, and let the families starve? Anyway, we give them all they need. Money
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:15PM (#13203684)
    claiming that it already has a comprehensive human rights policy in place and that 'Cisco does not participate in any way in any censorship activities in the People's Republic of China

    Oh, of course they don't. But I bet they help wash the dishes. Excerpt from the Chinese translation of the Cisco Stonewaller 3000:

    Dishwashing function:

    The Stonewaller 3000 features extensive "dishwashing" capabilities. For example, if you would like to block all "dishes" from a certain "dish maker", execute:

    dishwash add [dishmaker's website URL] [peasant | party member | chairman] (allow||deny) [notify]

    Note: notify sends notification upon use of "dirty" "dishes" to assist you in maintaining clean "cupboards".

    ------

    On a more serious note- Cisco just has to maintain some plausible deniability. Clothing companies have this down pat. They set up a policy that looks great to consumers, and then promptly hire a subcontractor who runs sweat shops.

    When a human rights company figures out what is going on, it's nearly impossible for them to come up with hard evidence management at the company knew about the subcontractor's sweat shops; the company releases a press release saying "gosh, we're so sorry, this is all the fault of our contractor." The contractor is fired, the contractor disappears off the face of the earth, and a new contractor with a different name pops up and suddenly out of the middle of nowhere, scores a big contract with a famous clothing company.

  • ...a "great firewall" here too, sorta. It is used by all the major ISPs on a voluntary basis, blocking access to child porn sites. This is according to norwegian law and norwegian justice system for norwegian users. It is not like this is anything complex, it is essentially a firewall. The point is, in a democratic state the same tool is used differently than in a communist state. The general slashdotism is that P2P is a tool, and so is the "great firewall". Perhaps Cisco's relationship with China goes furt
    • I think this is an important point to make, and this is what makes this stuff so hard. Is simply providing a router with filtering and logging capabilities a part of "aiding the Chinese government"? Should they actually spend money on the (somewhat) futile attempt to sell one set of firmware on the Chinese routers, and another set on the domestic ones, where there may be legitimate uses (filtering and control of the use in a corporate network, for example).

      If a search engine actively filters content, it's

  • From the article:

    Even if it came to a vote and passed, the resolution would not be binding on Cisco's executives. But "it sends a strong message to management, and it gets across the sentiment of shareholders in a way that writing a letter can't do," says Wolfe.

    Big whip. It's not binding and is just paper. As for the reasoning that management cares what the shareholder's think...well that argument has been going on for decades.

    Also from the article:

    "Can companies just claim a total lack of political respo
    • If tomorrow Cisco stopped selling to China Juniper or another company would just take up the slack.

      I was waiting for somebody to say this. It is utter non-sense to avoid moral responsibility because other people (hypothetically) wouldn't. Yes, somebody might take up the slack. But then you wouldn't be morally responsible. Would you justify being a hitman by saying that if you didn't kill, somebody else would? Presumably not. Then how can you justify actively participating in silencing a billion peo

      • You misunderstand that statement. The statement is not about morality, but showing that the attempt at morality (or lack thereof) will have zero impact. The point of the petition (at least I hope its there point otherwise it is a waste of time) is to fundamentally change human rights in China. The people behind this petition wish to change the human rights in China by "denying" China equipment they need to do this. This is where the argument is flawed and this statement comes in. In a market where ther
    • Companies are out to make a profit not a political statement.

      Yeah.. a baseline of human morality has no place in the world of business, which is, you know, conducted by humans. Establishing a minimum context for the behavior of humans just sucks. Money is pure, the pursuit of it is pure.
    • Blockquoth the poster:

      (And yes, I know you have to start somewhere, but why don't you start with the people in China first?)

      Hmmm. How about, because they're hard to reach, because of censorship embodied in the Internet infrastructure? How about, because as a citizen in the US, I don't have a lot of reach with Chinese citizens but I can have an impact on an American company?

      Investors, i.e., the shareholders, want a monetary return, not a political return on their investment.

      Who are you to declare w

      • From here: [thefreedictionary.com]

        Noun 1.investor investor - someone who commits capital in order to gain financial returns

        Not, political change, financial return. That being said I would guarantee that 99.99% (or more) of all people who have bought Cisco stock don't own the stock because of Cisco's political motives. Do you own stock? If so, did you purchase the stock because you sought social change? Or are you trying to make a little money?

        My main point in starting the thread was that this doesn't matter is because even
  • by melted (227442) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:20PM (#13203720) Homepage
    Cisco does not engage in censorship. They simply make equipment which can be used to engage in censorship. Similarly to a company that makes matches that can be used for arson, or Proctor and Gamble whose Clorox bleach can be used as poison.

    There is no way to tell Chinese government what they can and can not do at this point. It would be nearly fatal to impose stiff tariffs, too. So bend over and hand the Chinese that bottle of vaseline.
    • And remember all the slashdotters and others who think when you make a product you should *not* be liable for what happens after you release it. [slashdot.org] Either Cisco is not responsible like everyone else, or everyone is responsible.
  • My April 21, 2004 blog entry Caterpillar shareholder activists get Israel issue on shareholder meeting ballot [underreported.com]:

    For some marginally good news for a change, as highlighted by jewishvoiceforpeace.org [jewishvoiceforpeace.org] and corpwatch.org [corpwatch.org], according to an Apr. 15, 2004 Peoria Journal Star article [pjstar.com]:

    Activists protested Wednesday outside Caterpillar Inc.'s annual shareholders meeting in Chicago, but lost their bid to get the Peoria corporation to study the use of its equipment in razing Palestinian homes overseas.

    Stock owners defeated

  • by drgonzo59 (747139) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:30PM (#13203770)
    If their policy doesn't agree to what you believe the best way to protest is to sell your shares and invest in other company. Nothing speaks louder than $$$. Cisco can put out ads on TV how much they support human rights, they can sponsor human rights campagns for the PR and so on but as long as the Chinese give the $$$ it will also sponsor censorship. It is an entity that exists for the sole purpose to make money. Therefore the best way to control it is to stop investing in it and thus reduce its potential of making money.

    I often see people in US, the most capitalistic country in the world (this might start a flame war but I'll say it anyway, that is how I see it), who believe that somehow all these companies have morals and are actually trying to change the world for the better even if it means taking a loss. They view companies as they would like to view individuals: honest, charitable, friendly and in general, very nice. Companies will go to great lengths to project that image onto the public. But the reality is that their only goal is to make money. If something doesn't make money - it is not worth doing, it has nothing to do with morals or principles. Even Cisco's self-imposed resolution to not cooperate with oppresive governments is there to keep people like you happy and investing in them, if they can also get away with cooperating with China and make money off of that, they'll do that too.

    Sometimes the goverment or the people (through legislature) step in and put "the smack down". Have you noticed how Phillip Morris started airing all these "smoking is bad for you" ads - it is not because they are nice and want to help and educate, they are just "making the public aware" as to avoid paying another settlement, they know that those who are addicted and smoke will not look at the ad and say, "oh crap, so this is actually bad for me! I better quit right now!".

  • Who's in charge? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dice Fivefold (640696)
    If not even the shareholders gets a vote in how the corporations is run. What is running them?
  • by vga_init (589198) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:39PM (#13203814) Journal
    The Chinese are their own country. It's their prerogative to make their own rules and manage their own country, and I oppose self-righteous attempts of foreign capitalist entities of exerting control through economis.

    Cencorship constitutes a gray area in politics. Can you prove to me that their censorship violates human rights? If it's gone too far, can you show me how far is too far and prove to me that the lives of the people are worse because of this? I don't want theories or political arguments--I want data. We have cencorship in the United States, you know, but you don't see Cisco turning on our government, do you?

    • You're missing the point.

      Cisco, as a company, has the right to refuse to sell their equipment or sell their expertise to China.

      Or do you feel they must sell their equipment to whoever has the cash? If I own a significant chunk of Cisco (lets be silly and say I own 50.1%), I certainly can call up the CEO and say "Don't sell equipment to China; I'm troubled by their human rights policy". That's okay. Its legitimate. You may not agree with it, and the other 49.9% might disagree with it. But its my company
    • Yes, the Chinese are free to run their own country. Just as shareholders should be free to tell the company they own what to do. And that corporation should feel free to not do businuess with China if the shareholders don't want it to.
    • > Can you prove to me that their censorship violates human rights?

      Damn, if I hadn't posted this reply I could have modded you into oblivion! :)
    • The Chinese are their own country. It's their prerogative to make their own rules and manage their own country,

      Indeed it is, and once the Red Dynasty falls, they'll be able to do that.

      -jcr

  • Well then... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MerlynDavis (637066)
    I object to Cisco Routers being used to route packets that contain child porn, racism, and jingoism... Perhaps Cisco should install software on all their routers so that Cisco engineers can examine every packet that they route and determine if it's for a moral purpose.... This would be like buying half-dozen shares in the Remington corporation and demand they stop selling guns to people who kill things with them... Cisco's business is firewalls and such...they have no control over what the purchasers of
    • As well as the Evil bit [faqs.org] in the TCP header (for viruses etc), perhaps we could introduce a morality value as well, so that only highly moral traffic, for example, could enter or leave my site.
  • by Misch (158807) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @04:48PM (#13203858) Homepage
    It's called "Socially Responsible Investing". One of the interesting things I learned at the Great Hudson River Revival [clearwater.org] is that there are many different mutual funds out there that invest in socially and environmentally responsible companies.

    And yes, some of these funds do "beat the street" when it comes to performance. It may take a little work, but you might be able to convince your employer to make it possible for you to put pre-tax money into these funds. (For a 401(k) for example)

    Google search: SRI investing [google.com]
  • hmmm (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    While I have little or no love for Cisco (they're pretty much the Microsoft of the networking hardware world), I'm not sure how it can be "their fault" particularly if China buys the same Cisco kit the rest of us do and uses the same old standard features that Westerners routinely use for corporate firewalls etc, only to build their giant firewall.

    What's Cisco supposed to do? Just blanket not sell to China Inc. (china essentially operates like a large corporation) just in case their kit is used for Evil(tm)
  • From http://www.bostoncommonasset.com/ [bostoncommonasset.com] Boston Common Asset Management is a full-service, employee-owned social investment firm dedicated to the pursuit of financial return and social change.
    i.e. they are in the business of asking companies like Cisco stuff like this. It is there unique selling point, it is how they make money.
  • You got Cisco on my human rights!
  • by mpaque (655244) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:09PM (#13203975)
    An entry goes in the annual report supplement for proxy votes. The 62.27% of shares held by institutions and insiders goes along with the board to vote against it. Most of the folks getting the proxy statement don't bother to register a vote.

    If as many as half register a proxy vote, and all of them vote in favor, that's a whopping 18.87% of shares in favor. Proposal fails...
  • for 18 months I can tell you the great firewall is a serious problem. Not only does it block news and political sites (as well as tons of other stuff that can only makes you say huh?) but the increased latency makes VoIP and IM quite spotty.

    It slows down the entire internet outside of china, even if the website is not being blocked.

    Even if you pay for a proxy server outside of China, this is a serious pain that impairs any Internet related business.

    I will never buy Cisco products, or any other company that is involved in it.

    Perhaps it would be better to boycott companies that are big buyers of Cisco products? This worked pretty well in Forcing the South African Aparteid Goverment to change.

    Anyway, after living in China I am not convinced they are on their way to a huge bubble and collapse. Sure, I see tons of new buildings and businesses, but there are also tons of scams and empty buildings. I wonder if they will not soon overdevelop beyong their capacity to use? Well, I guess we will just see.

  • by cdrguru (88047) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:12PM (#13203985) Homepage
    You folks complain about the US government sticking its nose into the business of other countries. Now you want US corporations to try to dictate internal policy to other countries as well? Why? Who made Cisco into World Policemen, Jr.?
  • Ooh, maybe now with this shareholder resolution, not only will the Chinese be censored by their government, they won't have jobs either! Of course, those Cisco employees working with China won't have jobs either, I guess. Great work, guys! Let's kill more jobs and pretend that makes people more free!
  • This is why we shouldn't do ANY business there. Free-thinking countries opened the door to this long ago. Now the market is too big to ignore. We've legitimized China on the world stage and have little choice but to do business with them. The question is, what are we going to do with the big snake we've raised from a tiny baby now that it's outgrown the small bits we'd been feeding it? We've been doing so much business with this machine that it's now huge. The same goes for Vietnam, though we can nip that i
  • by zakkie (170306) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @05:59PM (#13204206) Homepage
    US shareholders would do best to get their own government's act cleaned up before getting all uppity over China...
  • by putko (753330) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:04PM (#13204233) Homepage Journal
    You can run a LAN/WAN without using proprietary software (which is what Cisco provides -- as integrated HW/SW systems).

    The Chinese already make all the hardware they need -- they could build their own damn firewall with a bunch of MIPS/x86/ARM -- whatever -- and the various modems (fiber/ATM/DSL/wireless). Cisco could go "poof" tomorrow, and the Chinese would build their own repressive firewall out of "stock" components.

    There are probable a variety of companies (e.g. Google or Yahoo! or IBM) that build their own networks -- because they can, know better, or just don't want Cisco around. Or universities that are too broke (and too savvy) to buy Cisco crap. I don't think Berkeley bought Cisco for a long time (they probably could not afford it).

    When I consider this, it makes me think the Chinese really are to blame.
  • Um, a little late? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Duncan3 (10537) on Saturday July 30, 2005 @06:34PM (#13204365) Homepage
    Doesn't China already have a home grown router based on stolen Cisco tech that's just as good? (for those out of the loop, yes)

    So why in the world are they even talking to Cisco, which makes something at 10x the cost, except to trick them into adding features they will never buy anyway.

    Come on Cisco, get your head our of your ass and wake up!

From Sharp minds come... pointed heads. -- Bryan Sparrowhawk

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