China responds to Clinton allegations

Staff Writer on
China responds to Clinton allegations

China does not restrict internet freedom, apparently.

The Chinese government has responded to comments made by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton about the ongoing Google controversy.

According to reports, a statement posted today on China's Foreign Ministry web site accused the US of making ungrounded accusations, specifically in regard to the way it does, or does not, censor the internet.

The Chinese foreign ministry was reacting to a long speech by Clinton, in which she said that an "information curtain" was descending on the area.

"The US has criticised China's policies to administer the internet, and insinuated that China restricts internet freedom," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu.

"This runs contrary to the facts and is harmful to China-US relations. We urge the US to respect the facts and cease using so-called internet freedom to make groundless accusations against China."

How accurate this is remains to be seen. China blocks social networking sites Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, restricts access to the web, and recently began censoring text messages in some of its provinces.

However, despite these measures, and the Google hacking incident, it looks increasingly likely that the web firm will stay in China, albeit with some changes to the way it offers, or censors, search results.

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said during an earnings call yesterday that the firm is "quite committed to being in China", but on "somewhat different terms than we have been".

This would tally with Clinton's speech when she called on China to stop censoring search results.

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