Roger L. Simon

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington again (just in time for the Academy Awards)

Google, Cisco, Microsoft, Yahoo and the entire China enabling Internet crew are headed for some interesting hearings in Washington, thanks, in part, to a new Mr. Smith:

The hearing will likely produce more embarrassing publicity for the companies, and it may drive legislative momentum among lawmakers concerned about China’s influence on the U.S. economy. Congressional aides are expecting a standing-room-only crowd, and the reception from politicians may be chilly.

“I was asked the question the other day, do U.S. corporations have the obligation to promote democracy? That’s the wrong question,” says Rep. Chris Smith, the New Jersey Republican and chairman of the House human-rights subcommittee that is holding the hearing. “It would be great if they would promote democracy. But they do have a moral imperative and a duty not to promote dictatorship.”

Well said, Mr. Smith. The short article in the WSJ further tell us he:

… plans to introduce legislation next week that would impose restrictions on Internet companies seeking to expand into China but also provide some legal protection from Chinese demands.

Looks like there’ll be some action over at the China Syndrome.