U.S. Ratchets Up Pressure on China over Censorship; Clinton Calls for End of 'Hijacking' Technology, Crushing Dissent

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), January 22, 2010 | Go to article overview

U.S. Ratchets Up Pressure on China over Censorship; Clinton Calls for End of 'Hijacking' Technology, Crushing Dissent


Byline: Nicholas Kralev, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The United States and China clashed Thursday on whether Internet freedom should become an official part of their diplomatic agenda, as the Obama administration stepped up pressure on Beijing to ease censorship rules and investigate recent Chinese cyber-attacks.

In the first major speech on the issue by a top administration official, coming a week after Google threatened to pull out of China over hacking and censorship, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton accused the Chinese and other governments of hijacking technology to crush dissent and deny human rights.

We look to the Chinese authorities to conduct a thorough review of the cyber-intrusions that led Google to make its announcement, and we also look for that investigation and its results to be transparent, Mrs. Clinton said at the Newseum in Washington.

It was not clear whether the administration will shed more light on the attacks if Beijing does not, but officials said they know much more about China's activities than they can discuss publicly at this time.

Google, which has operated in China since 2006 and abided by the government's censorship rules, said last week it will no longer honor those policies, which block certain words, phrases and images from the company's search engine. It said e-mail accounts of human rights activists had been hacked. At least 30 other companies reported similar attacks.

Mrs. Clinton said such actions violate the privacy of citizens who engage in nonviolent political speech and contravene the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

The United States is committed to devoting the diplomatic, economic and technological resources necessary to advance these freedoms, she said. We intend to address those differences [with China] candidly and consistently in the context of our positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship.

Alec Ross, the secretary's senior adviser for innovation who played a key role in preparing her speech, said Beijing should have no doubt that the administration is elevating this as a matter of our diplomacy to help the 31 percent of people around the world whose governments are actively censoring the Internet. …

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