China fires back

I am not sure where to start. I have always known that the same words carry different definitions between the U.S. and China. (Words such as “democracy” and “free elections.”) So it is really no surprise that what Beijing considers “the facts” are not so.

Reuters reports from Beijing:

“The U.S. has criticized China’s policies to administer the Internet and insinuated that China restricts Internet freedom,” said spokesman Ma Zhaoxu. “This runs contrary to the facts and is harmful to China-U.S. relations.”

So China does NOT block social media sites and other sites on the Internet?

According to the Chinese foreign ministry’s reality, yep.

According to the real world, nope. (Again, Reuters)

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are blocked in China, which uses a filtering “firewall” to prevent Internet users from seeing overseas web sites with content anathema to the Communist Party.

And, according to, even the official Google blog is being block by the Great Firewall of China. And oddly enough, even the earthquake page of the USGS is being blocked. (Oh yeah, the USGS site has information about the Sichuan earthquake of 2008.)

The reaction came after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech at the Newseum on the importance of Internet freedom. (View the speech here.)

Some Chinese media launched immediate attacks on Clinton’s speech but the tirades were quickly pulled off their web pages. The move seems to indicate that the political leadership of the country hasn’t decided what the official line should be yet.

China’s censorship of the Internet has come under more scrutiny after Google accused Chinese hackers of breaking into e-mail accounts and other companies’ computers. Google also said it would no longer cooperate with Chinese censorship rules that block anything the Chinese government considers subversive, such as discussions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations or press freedom.

China seems to want to deal with the issue as a commercial dispute between it and an errant company.

Additional reporting:


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Filed under Censorship, China

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