China says US using Internet freedom pitch as pretext for interfering in others' internal affairs

Beijing, Feb 18 (ANI): China has warned the United States not to intrude into other countries' affairs after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had urged the world community to allow online freedom, and adopt common standards for internet use.

The BBC quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu as saying that Internet users in his country enjoy freedom of speech "in accordance with the law."

Zhaoxu also said that China was willing to work with other countries on such issues, but was "against any other countries using Internet freedom as a pretext for interfering in others' internal affairs".

Earlier, Clinton had criticised countries that try to stop its citizens from using and availing Internet services at their free will with such nations' web-based tactics, adding that the recent internet-fuelled toppling of rulers in Egypt and Tunisia and protests in Iran, are examples that governments could no longer restrict its citizens' rights as far as freedom of the Internet is concerned.

"We believe that governments who have erected barriers to Internet freedom - whether they're technical filters or censorship regimes or attacks on those who exercise their rights to expression and assembly online - will eventually find themselves boxed in," Clinton had said.

Last year, China had accused Washington of "information imperialism", after a similar speech by Clinton. China has the world's largest Internet market, with 457 million people online.

The country however, uses extensive censorship controls, known as the "Great Firewall of China", to block access to pornographic materials. Although Twitter is blocked there, the country allows its netizens to use similar services like Sina Weibo and Tencent Weibo. (ANI)

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