News / Asia

China Likely to Ignore Clinton's Internet Freedom Speech

Secretary Clinton delivers remarks at George Washington University on Internet freedom, February 15, 2011
Secretary Clinton delivers remarks at George Washington University on Internet freedom, February 15, 2011
Peter Simpson

Chinese authorities have brushed off U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech urging governments to end Internet censorship. She warned that countries such as China that censor the Internet risk going the same way as Egypt and Tunisia, where pro-democracy protests organized via social media sites and brought down governments.

A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman had no comment on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's speech.

In the United States on Tuesday, Clinton pointed out the role that Twitter, Facebook and other social networks played in uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt.

Both sites are banned in China.

China’s ruling Communist Party is determined to prevent social unrest, and contains efforts by its citizens to complain about the government or seek reforms.

Beijing routinely blocks the Web sites of foreign news organizations, including VOA. It also blocks topics it considers sensitive - such as the massive protests in Egypt that forced President Hosni Mubarak out of office.

Raising the question of Internet censorship with the Chinese government brought a response much like the one Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhouxu gave last week.

Ma said the Internet in China is free and Chinese enjoy an open Internet.

David Bandurski, who heads the China Media Project in Hong Kong says Clinton's speech is likely to fall on deaf ears in China, which has what he describes as "rigorous controls" on the Internet.

He also says it there are limits to the Internet’s role in pushing for greater democratic freedom in China and elsewhere.

"I think the caveat we have to remember is that the Internet is not a panacea in itself," Bandurski noted. "It is an important tool but we cannot over play the role of the Internet in isolation. How things will play in China is difficult to say. It is true it is an important tool for mobilizing around all sorts of issues in China.”

He says while there is online discussion on many topics in China, it tends to be superficial.

For instance, recent online discussions of the Internet’s role in finding missing children did not include any calls for the government to do more about child abductions.

Yu Guoming, a professor from Renmin University's journalism and communication department in Beijing, agrees with most of Clinton's speech.

But he says Internet freedom in China is complicated and a work in progress.

Yu says China's Internet is much freer than five years ago, and continues to open up.

But he says opening it up should not be rushed by pressure form other countries, especially the U.S., which he accuses of double standards.

Yu pointed to the Wikileaks controversy, which has seen the U.S. government seek to stop the leaks of sensitive material on the Internet.

An, a 40-year-old information technology worker in Beijing, says he thinks the Internet in China is free. But, he says, every country needs laws to control the Web, including the U.S. He also cited the Wikileaks controversy.

An adds that China is a special case because of its huge population. Without some form of control of the Internet, he says, social security could be jeopardized.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs