Open source protester crashes speech by Bill Gates at Chinese University

A protester calling for free computer software and open source programming crashed a speech Friday by Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates at one of China's top universities.

Gates, who is very popular on Chinese campuses, had just finished a speech at Peking University and was handing out prizes to students when a Chinese man walked on stage and unveiled a banner with "free software, open source" written in English on it.

Gates and most of the group appeared shocked at the intrusion, which ended when the man ran off the stage and was tackled by security officials. No one was hurt.

Gates is in China to check on Microsoft's growing operations and take part in several business forums.

Backers of open source computer programming say that users should be allowed to view and edit software codes, including Microsoft's.

According to, the protester was taken away by police for questioning.