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Censorship Google The Internet Technology

China Slams Clinton's Call For Internet Freedom 235

CWmike writes "China on Friday slammed remarks made by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promoting Internet freedom worldwide, saying her words harmed US-China relations. Clinton's speech and China's response both come after Google last week said it planned to reverse its long-standing position in China by ending censorship of its Chinese search engine. Google cited increasingly tough censorship and recent cyberattacks on the Gmail accounts of human rights activists for its decision, which it said might force it to close its offices in China altogether. On Thursday in Washington, DC, Clinton unveiled US initiatives to help people living under repressive governments access the Internet for purposes such as reporting corruption. The US will support circumvention tools for dissidents whose Internet connections are blocked, she said. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu called for the US 'to respect the facts and stop using the issue of so-called Internet freedom to unreasonably criticize China.' China's laws forbid hacking attacks and violations of citizens' privacy, the statement said, apparently referring to the issues raised by Google."
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China Slams Clinton's Call For Internet Freedom

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  • by faragon ( 789704 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @05:51AM (#30868216) Homepage
    If Google, because etics, is willing to lose such market as China, could get a huge credibility and respect increase (kudos, Google). Unfortunately, I'm skeptical about it.
  • by Jaden42 ( 466735 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @05:54AM (#30868226)

    Talk about a non-responsive response: "Our rules don't allow for hacking and violations of citizen's privacy".

    Considering the state of privacy there, they certainly aren't lying.

  • by Rawjava ( 1622535 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @06:14AM (#30868302)

    But since its america, no one complains because "god bless america". If china had this kind of propaganda there wouldnt be as big of a problem.

  • by naz404 ( 1282810 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @06:23AM (#30868330) Homepage
    I really love what Hillary Clinton said in the article:

    "Ultimately, this issue isn't just about information freedom -- it is about what kind of world we want and what kind of world we will inhabit," she said.

    "It's about whether we live on a planet with one Internet, one global community and a common body of knowledge that benefits and unites us all, or a fragmented planet in which access to information and opportunity is dependent on where you live and the whims of censors."

    Really lovely and Charles Stross-ian, brings a tear to my eye :)
  • Re:So when... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jahava ( 946858 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @06:33AM (#30868376)
    When it as a nation performs attacks on Google's servers...
  • by mrmeval ( 662166 ) <> on Saturday January 23, 2010 @06:40AM (#30868402) Journal

    That is an amazing bit of conspiriakii.

    There is not references other that some buzz words gleanable from US procurement contracts. No phone numbers, no names, no websites and yet you manage to get a +2 insightful.

    I am impressed.

  • by solferino ( 100959 ) <hazchem&gmail,com> on Saturday January 23, 2010 @06:56AM (#30868474) Homepage

    Clinton also called on U.S. businesses, particularly media providers, to fight censorship in the countries where they operate.

    "Censorship should not be in any way accepted by any company anywhere," she said. "American companies need to make a principled stand. This needs to be part of our national brand."

    This is very strong language. Google is getting full backing and all other US companies are being actively encouraged to follow their lead.

  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @07:07AM (#30868518) Homepage Journal
    Well... yeah, I am, actually. But I don't bet against Google. I also don't bet against China, which makes this dispute rather interesting. A company that willingly turns its back on a market of 1 billion people risks having its CEO bludgeoned to death by angry investors. At the same time, any entity that willingly cuts itself off from google also cuts itself off from one of the most amazing information tools ever invented. If I had to call it, I'd say both sides make angry mouth noises for, oh, 3 to 6 months and then quietly settles on a compromise that allows Google to pretend that they're not evil while allowing China to continue keeping information out of the hands of its citizens.
  • by oDDmON oUT ( 231200 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @07:13AM (#30868536)

    The MafiAAs receive carte blanche from the courts to abuse their customers, Net Neutrality simmers on the legislative back burner, allowing vertically integrating ISP's to throttle traffic in cavalier and arbitrary ways, as well as allowing them to merge with content providing companies to "better serve" their customers.

    But we don't have censorship, nope. But we don't give American internet users that tube of KY which'd help it all go down so much easier.

  • by TiberiusMonkey ( 1603977 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @07:18AM (#30868550)

    it took some phone calls to stop the censorship.

    You're either amazingly important, simply summarising a very long painful process up in a few words for the sake of keeping an internet post shortish or you're basically lying...

  • Re:So when... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by x2A ( 858210 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @07:22AM (#30868560)

    Google said the attacks "originated from within China". They said there were "sophisticated attacks" against human rights activists, which involved accessing their accounts by use of the "correct username and password". I have yet to find where they have said there is any evidence to believe it was the Chinese government "as a nation" who carried this out, despite what news outlets have said (like they'd ever blow something out of proportion or report something uncertain as being certain). Originating in China narrows it down to a tiny ONE SIXTH of the worlds population! There're so many other possible explanations, such as it being carried out by someone wanting to make it look like it was Chinese government to get sympathy for their cause, or it could be that so many activists out there are dumb as hell and clicked stuff that other people didn't... how many NON human rights activists were hit by this attack? Was every single person whose account was hit one of the activists?

    Now, with the Chinese governments history, I would hardly call it surprising if it was them... but making the leap from it originating within the largest country in the world, and therefore it must be the government, is far too much of a leap for me to take without there being at least some other small piece of suppporting evidence.

    Does anyone have anything to offer? Pictures of people being killed or whatever don't count, they only support claims that people are killed. Of course, if you're okay with killing, you're probably okay with hacking, but there are more people that kill than the chinese government, and they can't all be responsible for the hacking thing, so that doesn't prove, or even suggest, that it was them.

    Have I missed a statement from Google or something that someone can point me so where they actually say they believe the government was responsible? Even if they're not disclosing evidence, have they even said they've seen any?

    Am I the only person who refuses to believe something purely on the grounds that it makes me angry? These aren't unreasonable questions.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:44AM (#30868904) Homepage Journal

    Really lovely and Charles Stross-ian, brings a tear to my eye :)

    Kind of makes you wonder who wrote those words, eh? Or is Hilary the only politician without writers?

  • by omglolbah ( 731566 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:31AM (#30869150)

    Wanting to see something, and actually censoring them are two very different things.

    I really do not want a political party in norway that worships norse gods and hate jews and black people...
    but I dont think they should be banned from speaking either.. Freedom of speech.. even for douchebags ;)

  • Hah! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shatteredstar ( 1722136 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:42AM (#30869198)
    HAH! I love how China acts like they are innocent and all. "China's laws forbid hacking attacks and violations of citizens' privacy, the statement said, apparently referring to the issues raised by Google."" Riiiight. I'm also the Queen of England! China would NEVER hack anyone. The Chinese government is one of the biggest fattest LIARS ever. They constantly say one thing while time and time again they prove that they don't care about anyone's benefit but their own. Whether it is manipulating trade markets and currancy, hacking, controlling the people of the country, human rights issues, etc. Yet whenever confronted they are all "You can't tell us what to do" or "we don't do that!" or "We will change things." but what changes? Exactly nothing. They might sweep it under the rug or shift things around but nearly every time the SAME issue comes right back up. The world needs to basically tell China to stuff it and come back when they learn their lesson. Stop manufacturing stuff in China, stop buying Chinese goods, the whole nine yards. Put the squeeze on them till they show their hand.
  • China's laws (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 23, 2010 @10:38AM (#30869536)

    ''China's laws forbid hacking attacks and violations of citizens' privacy"

    China's constitution also says all sorts of interesting things, such as freedom of religious worship, freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, association, etc. (Look up the "four bigs" and Article 35). The ability to exercise those rights is rather limited. Really, the whole thing reads like some kind of bad joke.

    Let's just say that the implementation and enforcement of China's laws leaves much to be desired, and when the law is inconveniently contrary to the wishes of the dictators in charge, they change or ignore the laws more or less at will (including the constitution). So, I'll be impressed when the Chinese government actually uses the laws against "hacking and violations of citizens' privacy" to track down and bring to justice the people responsible for this episode of widespread corporate espionage. No credit for anything less. Unless met by appropriate action, these laws are just words on a page, like the "rights" that exist in the Chinese constitution.

    I suppose someone will pipe up and say that isn't much different from some western countries, but at least we're allowed to openly talk about and protest the fact, and the expression of the problem isn't quite so egregious.

  • by kdemetter ( 965669 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @10:47AM (#30869600)

    I don't like that speech. Sounds a bit "Ein Reich, Ein Volk" to me. How would Hillary feel about web pages that oppose her "global community" or don't particularly want to be "united"? Based on her political record, I don't think she'd want to see such things.

    Really ? To me , it's more like the opposite : she is talking about one global community , were everyone has the same access to information ,regardless of race , culture , language , etc ...

    It's a bit utopian , but on the internet , it is possible : one of great things of the internet , is that if you desire it , you can hide your identity .
    If no one knows who you are , they cannot judge you on your race , color , sex , etc ...
    They can only judge you on your words and actions on the internet.

  • yea (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @10:47AM (#30869602)
    Harm US/China relations? We hate China... China hates us. They are stealing our jobs, subverting our government, having into our military instillation and business systems... stealing our intilectual property, subverting our monetary system by artificially manipulating their currency. They're dumping toxins into the air and water, not to mention into the toys and babyfood they sell us. They financially support North Korea, one of the countrys most likely to be involved in whatever event eventually destroys the world. How on earth could we do anything to harm relations with China? And how could access to the internet somehow make their citizens any more aware of what a bunch of asshats their government officials are?
  • by Darkman, Walkin Dude ( 707389 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @11:03AM (#30869688) Homepage

    First when you're a guest you have to play by the house rules.

    What does that have to do with China hacking servers in another country?

  • by Darkman, Walkin Dude ( 707389 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @11:08AM (#30869722) Homepage

    China has a long history of living under a protective hand, thousands of years. The US has a history built in freedoms in the last hundred so years and a resulting society devolving into anarchy and hedonism. Who's to say who's right?

    I daresay anyone who was shot, their organs auctioned off, and their families billed for the bullet might have an opinion or two. Its important to differentiate between the beautiful and unique Chinese culture which stretches back thousands of years, and the organlegging jackbooted slavers currently in charge of the country.

  • by BakaHoushi ( 786009 ) <Goss,Sean&gmail,com> on Saturday January 23, 2010 @11:18AM (#30869772) Homepage

    Who's to say who's right and who is wrong?

    Well, if you follow the basic laws of ethics, I'd say every party involved is wrong. A violation of human rights is always wrong. I criticize China and I criticize the U.S. and the U.K. and every other country I see a problem with.

    If what China does is wrong, and the West does it too, then the West is also wrong. Not that most people ever like to admit "their" side isn't in the right.

    When we take away the rights of terrorists here, we're wrong, too. Our founding principle of government here in America was supposed to be that all men are to be treated equal under the law. Not "American Citizens." Not "only registered combatants." All men. Period. I would say this is ethically justifiable in that a world in which everyone can express themselves freely is a world where I, personally, am guaranteed that freedom of expression. The fact that we have fallen far from this path does not change the ideal we should be aiming for, nor does it excuse other countries when they do the same.

  • by jonnat ( 1168035 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @11:30AM (#30869844)
    It was, instead, a very crude (embarrassing, for western standards) attempt at Orwellian revisionism substantiated by a direct threat. Their claim that Clinton's comments contradict their constitution just shows how worthless that piece of paper is under a dictatorship.
  • by Darkman, Walkin Dude ( 707389 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @11:59AM (#30870018) Homepage

    Don't know why this is marked troll, its based on facts...

    Organ harvesting in China []

    Organ harvesting in the People's Republic of China refers to the practice of removing human organs and tissue from the corpses of criminals executed in China and using these organs for organ transplants.

    Families billed for bullets in China []

    In the past, capital punishment was carried out by a single shot to the back of the head at execution fields outside Chinese cities and families of the dead were sent a bill for the bullet.

    Slavery in China []

    It's a story that has made headlines around the world: Slave laborers have been found in Chinese brick factories. The authorities have freed many of them, but some fear there could be hundreds more being imprisoned, beaten and starved. Some parents have begun searching for their sons on their own.

  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @12:07PM (#30870054) Homepage Journal

    a fragmented planet in which access to information and opportunity is dependent on where you live and the whims of censors."

    Yeah, it's touching... it's also empty bullshit. When ACTA [] comes into effect, Hilary will be pushing hard to enforce the whims of her censors.

  • Re:So when... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MunchMunch ( 670504 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @12:35PM (#30870254) Homepage
    Some points about Google's motivation to leave:

    1. 30% market share in the incredibly anti-foreign-business Chinese market is not just a success, it's an incredible success. China typically favors local companies both above and below the board. Any foreign business trying to break into China would kill for that market share in their relevant market. Yahoo or Bing would kill for that share. The idea they would just leave because they weren't the leader is not simply hard to believe, it is completely irrational.

    2. Whatever evidence we have, Google and the US government have not disclosed all of it. If some random nobody from China hacked into Google's servers, why would Google would pull out of China? I honestly can think of no benefit to Google. Market share failure argument aside (see #1), the only benefit they gain from pulling out is PR. That's pretty worthless in today's blasé world. On the contrary, if Google did indeed have evidence that the attacks originated from the Chinese government (and do we really doubt that have that capability? I imagine they have more than enough expertise to find the origin), then that would perfectly explain their decision to pull out. Occam's razor really points to the Chinese government directing these attacks.
  • by TimTucker ( 982832 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @01:29PM (#30870686) Homepage

    From my perspective, hacking and censorship are one and the same issue here.

    Those who want to express opinions that the ruling party doesn't want people to hear are the targets of hacking. In this case, hacking is just the means of censorship.

    Get rid of the mindset that censorship is OK and you get rid of the motivation behind the hacking.

  • by Dreben ( 220413 ) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @04:16PM (#30872090)

    It is far past time to stop free trade agreements with countries of repressive governments. They are destroying the economies of the rest of the world.

  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Saturday January 23, 2010 @06:02PM (#30872946) Homepage Journal

    And it's not exactly a secret in China that foreign websites are blocked in order to stimulate the development of local ones.

    Your naivete is charming but also pathetic. If you really think that there is not a political agenda, you obviously are yourself being hoodwinked by the Chinese government, proving that their information control is working.

    All you need to do to institute protectionism is to make foreign resources work poorly. Then people will use the local substitutes. Blocking them outright is only necessary if you want to engage in censorship. Please think before you comment; I did, whether you think I did or not, but your head is still planted well into the clouds, whether your feet are in a rice paddy or not.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger