Archive for February 18th, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

Internet Freedom, in Other Words

A Message from behind the Great Microphone Wall (GMW)

A Message from behind the Great Maikefeng Wall

This question to Ma Zhaoxu (马朝旭), China’s foreign ministry spokesman, apparently came from a foreign correspondent on Thursday, during the ministry’s regular press conference:

Question: U.S. secretary of state Hilary Clinton said in a speech on internet freedom on February 15 that the Chinese internet is developing rapidly, that it had become a source of development for China, and that many Chinese people are using the internet. Restrictions by some countries on free access to information would hinder long-term development of these countries. There are differences between the U.S. and China on this issue. America would like to discuss with China in frank ways. How does China respond to this?

Ma: As everyone knows, China’s internet develops rapidly, and the number of netizens increases rapidly, having exceeded the number of 400 million. The Chinese government encourages and supports the development of the internet, protects the citizens’ right to free speech in accordance with the law, including freedom of speech on the internet. At the same time, China manages the internet in accordance with the law, which is in correspondence with international practise. We are ready to strengthen communication and exchanges about internet-related issues with any country, to promote the healthy development of the internet, but we are opposed to any country using internet freedom issues as an excuse to interfere with China’s internal affairs.

Official China’s response to Clinton’s speech this time was noticeably calmer than less than a year ago, when Google China no longer respected the normal ways of doing business (不再“遵守”在商言商的普世之道)Xinhua, March 19, 2010). When Google ceased playing along with the CCP’s rules, Xinhua accused the company of a premeditated plan to use the internet as a tool for cultural and value-based dissemination (价值观渗透的工具), and to establish American “thought hegemony” and “cultural hegemony” (“思想霸权”, “文化霸权”) in China.

Compared with Google’s decisions last year, American advocacy of speech, so long as it isn’t directly business-related, amounts to routine for Beijing.

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Related
Ma Zhaoxu’s press conference in English, MFA, Febr 18, 2011
“Security Concerns” against LSE debate, German Society Committee, Febr 17, 2011
Clinton’s speech in full, Dept of State, Febr 15, 2011
Twitter can’t save you, NY Times, February 4, 2011
Why Wikileaks can’t work, December 1, 2010

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spring is Back

wind of change

Something's different today.

The year’s most beautiful season is on its way. Once in a while, there’s still some snowfall, and it still freezes at nighttime, almost regularly. But the sunlight is gaining power again, and the first blossoms should appear within weeks, if not within days now. It’s easy to sense that the winter is leaving, and that spring is coming.

Days are full of work, but I realize how the sun rises a bit earlier by the day now. I’m aware of it every morning. I never minded the cold, but really missed the daylight, during the past few months.

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