Clinton's Internet freedom speech sparks worries
- Source: Global Times
- [04:06 January 22 2010]
By Liu Dong
Unfettered cyber freedom is merely an impractical slogan, a Chinese expert on world politics told the Global Times Thursday.
"In the US, a country that boasts its Internet freedom, governmental supervision virtually infiltrates across the nation, and its influence further extends to worldwide servers," said Wang Yizhou, deputy chief of the Institute of World Politics and Economy at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "The information-searching via Google and the online chatting through Windows Live Messenger are all under stringent surveillance, and the relevant agencies are tasked with compiling backups."
Wang was responding to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who made a speech Thursday on Internet freedom at the Newseum in Washington and called on China to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the alleged cyber attacks on Google and other US companies.
Google said January 13 that more than 20 users' accounts were subjected to a "highly sophisticated and targeted attack" originating in China in mid-December. The company later declared that it no longer would censor its Chinese language google.cn site and wanted to talk with Beijing about offering a legal, unfiltered Chinese site.
"I hope that refusal to support politically motivated censorship will become a trademark characteristic of American technology companies," Clinton said, referring to the Google farce. "It should be part of our national brand. And when their business dealings threaten to undermine this freedom, they need to consider what's right, not simply the prospect of quick profits."
Earlier Thursday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister He Yafei said that "the Google incident should not be linked to bilateral relations (between China and the US) otherwise that would be over-interpreting it."
"The Chinese government encourages the development of the Internet in China, but there must be observance of Chinese law," He said. "If Google or other foreign firms have any problems in China, these should be resolved according to Chinese law, and the Chinese government is willing to help resolve their problems."
"Clinton's so-called Internet freedom is a freedom that is dominated by the US," Yu Wanli, an expert on international studies at Peking University, told the Global Times. "Ten of the 13 root name servers in the world are located in the US. They are the top hierarchy of the Internet, which means by controlling them, the US can define the freedom of the Internet. How can Clinton guarantee you a freedom if her country has the power to unplug you?"
Agencies contributed to this story