Yahoo, Microsoft sign blogging code of conduct in China

US Internet giants Yahoo and MSN confirmed hat they had signed a code of conduct for their blogging operations in China that committed them to protecting the interests of the Chinese state, an AFP report said.

The AFP report said Yahoo, Microsoft's MSN and other blog providers in China this week signed the 'self-discipline' pact, under which they pledged to 'safeguard state and public interests,' according to a statement from the China Internet Society.

The pact 'encourages' the Internet firms to register the real names, addresses and other personal details of the bloggers, and then keep this information, the AFP report said.

The firms also committed to delete any 'illegal or bad messages,' according to a copy of the pact posted on the society's web site.

Along with sex and violence, China's communist rulers have also deemed that opinions critical of it or the spreading of democratic ideology are not allowed, the AFP report said.

Yahoo China and MSN told AFP they had signed the pact, but did not give any further comment

US Internet companies such as Yahoo, Microsoft and Google have previously caused uproar abroad for bowing to the Chinese government's demands by agreeing to censor web sites and content banned by the nation's propaganda chiefs, the report said.

They have repeatedly insisted that they have no choice but to follow local rules and regulations in China, the report added.

International press freedom group Reporters Without Borders condemned Yahoo and MSN for agreeing to the blogging pact, the report said.