Glenn Reynolds has this. Please read the post he links to.
Here’ my two cents.
Lenin was right about a lot of things. And he was particularly right when he said that the Capitalist will always sell you the rope to hang him with.
Libertarians, perhaps dreaming of Dagney Taggart and Hank Reardon, often mistakenly think that the business community will care, at all, about freedom. Business people rarely do. They can’t. They are compelled by competitive pressure to care about profit, and to sell anything to anybody if they can get away with it. Because if they don’t their competitors will. People respond to incentives.
Microsoft is helping to build an Orwellian surveillance system for tyrants just because the tyrants will pay them to do so.
This should not surprise us. It would take moral courage to say no to the money, and answer to the shareholders for the lost money, and to suffer the ire of the communists in Beijing and all the lost business that would result from that ire. Courage is uncommon.
People who care about freedom need to be vigilant about the behavior of the government. But we also need to look with a hard and cynical eye at the behavior of private businesses. We should, to the extent possible, punish them when they behave as Microsoft is doing, by denying them business so they have an incentive not to become vendors to fascists, not to facilitate the crushing of freedom because it will be profitable, today, to do so
Suggestions on how to punish Microsoft for this contemptible behavior would be appreciated. Legislation punishing American companies from doing such work might be appropriate. Or setting up a fund to find ways to hack around the communist firewalls, then circulating it, in Chinese. But I have zero tech knowledge. Others will have better ideas than I do.