China is notorious for internet censorship, and Chinese developers have found their safe haven in GitHub to protest against the long working hours. The developers protesting against “996” working culture – 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., 6 days a week have created a repository named “996.ICU” that has 230,492 members currently.
With GitHub becoming the new mouthpiece of protest in China, Chinese watchdogs are enraged, and many local browsers from home-grown companies like Xiaomi, Alibaba, Tencent and Qihoo 360 have already attempted to block access to the repository.
GitHub and Microsoft employees have now issued a letter to the Redmond company urging it to stand firm amidst mounting pressure from Chinese censors to block the repository.
The letter reads, “We, the workers of Microsoft and GitHub, support the 996.ICU movement and stand in solidarity with tech workers in China. We encourage Microsoft and GitHub to keep the 996.ICU GitHub repository uncensored and available to everyone.”
Now, Microsoft is facing pressure internally as well as externally. Microsoft cannot block the repository without blocking the entire website. The company simply cannot block the code sharing platform in the country as many Chinese IT companies use it extensively.
Microsoft has not commented anything on the issue as of now, but it remains to be seen whether the tech giant will bend the knee in front of Chinese censorship or hold its ground firmly.
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What are your views on the issue? What should Microsoft do to protect the viral Chinese repository?