Cisco Sued for Helping China Monitor Internet


Falungong members are suing Cisco Systems for custom-building "Golden Shield" Internet technology used by China to track down devotees of the spiritual movement.

A lawsuit filed in U.S. federal court in the northern California city of San Jose calls for the computer networking gear giant to pay damages and stop helping China find Falungong supporters.

Cisco "designed, supplied and helped maintain a censorship and surveillance network known as Golden Shield" used by Chinese officials to identify Falungong practitioners who were detained, tortured, and sometimes killed, a lawyer for the group charged in court documents filed last week.

California-based Cisco established a China Network Technology Corp. subsidiary in Beijing in 1998 that went to work on Golden Shield, which was referred to internally as "Policenet," according to the suit.

"Cisco's specific intent to meet the requirements of the Chinese Communist Party's purpose to identify, track and thereby abuse and eliminate Falungong practitioners... was expressed in marketing presentations," court papers charge.