Peking takes hard line on `offensive' Microsoft

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The Independent Online
Peking (Reuter) - The Microsoft Corporation has been forced to stop shipping its Chinese-language Windows 95 program in China after politically offensive phrases were found to be hidden in the software.

Peking has ordered the United States computer giant to halt sales of the mainland China version of Windows 95 and to cut out the offending language, a Chinese software official said. Chinese computer users said the phrases included the once commonly used Taiwan epithet "communist bandits" and "Taiwan independence", a phrase likely to infuriate Peking, as well as a map of China without Taiwan.

A free software update designed to eliminate the offending phrases would be posted on the Internet and be sent to all registered users and distributed to retailers, said Microsoft spokesman Bryan Nelson. He added that the offending material appeared to have been introduced by contracted programmers in Taiwan.

The discovery of the phrases once favoured by Peking's Nationalist rivals in Taiwan has marred a hard-won return to Chinese favour by the firm after it moved its Greater China headquarters from Taiwan to Hong Kong.