Print 53 comment(s) - last by CENGJINYIWEI.. on Jan 31 at 8:59 AM

Speech denounces countries that prevent the free flow of information to citizens

Americans and citizens of other free nations take many of our freedoms for granted. We can do and say what we want without fearing prison. We can get on the internet and get any information we want, even if other people don’t like it. In some countries, citizens can only access the information that their government wants them to see.

The most infamous country in the world for censoring what citizens can see online is China. China isn’t the lone country that censors access to information though; Tunisia and Uzbekistan both censor the internet, and Egypt has detained bloggers who disagree with the government before.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has denounced countries that use technology to prevent citizens from accessing information freely. Clinton delivered the speech on January 21 and outlined the five key freedoms of the internet age that will be used to help build U.S. policy.

Clinton's speech outlined the commitment of the U.S. to freedom of speech and worship online, the freedom to connect to the internet anywhere, and the freedom to live without fear of cyber attacks.

Clinton said, "Countries that restrict free access to information or violate the basic rights of Internet users risk walling themselves off from the progress of the next century. In the last year, we've seen a spike in threats to the free flow of information. China, Tunisia and Uzbekistan have stepped up their censorship of the Internet."

She continued saying, "[The internet] has already been a source of tremendous progress in China, and it is fabulous there are so many people in China now online." Clinton added, "The United States and China have different views on this issue. And we intend to address those differences candidly and consistently in the context of our positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship."

The comments come after the U.S. asked China for an explanation for the cyber attacks against search giant Google and 30 other U.S. companies that were targeted in attacks that originated in China. Google has stated that it may consider leaving the Chinese market due to the attacks and the censorship of its search results required by the Chinese government.

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RE: How ironic
By Motoman on 1/22/2010 11:44:39 AM , Rating: 3
The other thing to keep in mind is that the Chinese have been educated from birth that information can be harmful, and it is in their best interest to have their government protect them from such harmful information, lest they be harmed.

As stupid as that categorically is, human beings being what they are will frequently accept such "education" and believe it. Just like religion can produce women who honestly believe they should be subservient to their husbands. There is no limit to how far you can twist someone's own sense of self-worth, given time and authority to do it.

RE: How ironic
By kyp275 on 1/22/2010 4:26:31 PM , Rating: 1
The other thing to keep in mind is that the Chinese have been educated from birth that information can be harmful, and it is in their best interest to have their government protect them from such harmful information, lest they be harmed.

Really, I must have missed that class...but then I wasn't born on the mainland.

RE: How ironic
By Motoman on 1/22/2010 5:41:58 PM , Rating: 2, Hong Kong or Taiwan?

I am lead to believe that those areas are considerably less, shall we say, authoritarian than mainland China.

However, standard Chinese rhetoric around having to "protect" it's citizens from "harmful" information such as pornography, democracy, political dissidents, etc. is all over the internet.

...depending on who you are, porn may be offensive...but unless it is produced in an abusive manner, porn is not in and of itself harmful. As for discussing democracy or political dissent - the only group of people who can be "harmed" by that is the communist government of China.

RE: How ironic
By Penti on 1/24/2010 11:34:57 AM , Rating: 2
Taiwan is it's own sovereign nation.

There's a few territories that belong to PRC that has their own political and social system and governance. Hong Kong is still what most would call a country of it's own just not sovereign, it's a SAR and was British as recently as 97. It has it's own political system. Macau is also a SAR with it's own unique system. Hong Kong actually has a multi-party system. Just not it's own military. The communist party don't rule there. It's still a common law system.

RE: How ironic
By woosty on 1/24/2010 11:28:26 PM , Rating: 2

You are right, there are more freedom in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

It's been a culture in China that the authorities control everything including information, in last, well, like 1000+ year's history of the country.

When you get the chance to visit Beijing and see the forbiden city you may get a better idea. It's sad, as a chinese myself, to see that a so called royal family used to own so much by taking from people, and then wall themself from the people they ruled.

It's getting better IMO, I was born in the Mainland, and I had some sort of those lessons that you mentioned in your post, but the younger generations, they sure able to access much much more information that 10, or even 2 years ago.

Lastly, nowadays ppl in China are accessing to a lots, really a lots, of porn contents on the internet :-)

RE: How ironic
By chick0n on 1/22/10, Rating: 0
RE: How ironic
By mindless1 on 1/23/2010 2:52:50 PM , Rating: 2
You really think ANY country's media is telling them the OTHER country is better?

The people in China are in fact trained to do without information. That allowed their culture to evolve with the persistent ability of the government to control it.

The "classes" are social reinforcement of behavior, more ingrained in the society than any one class with an instructor could ever be.

I'm not suggesting any one country is better than the other, only that the people uphold the society, their choices are based on what they are taught through observation if nothing else. Surely you don't feel they vote to be restricted from info on a whim or roll of the dice but rather they are taught to tolerate it.

RE: How ironic
By chick0n on 1/24/10, Rating: 0
RE: How ironic
By Motoman on 1/24/2010 12:03:54 PM , Rating: 2
Newsflash: education is not restricted to the classroom.

The PRC government putting up the Great Firewall of China to "protect it's citizens from harmful information" such as political dissidence and information about democracy IS educating the Chinese people that information is harmful and that the government must protect them from it.

Not to invoke the internet's favorite rule, but the same thing happened with Hitler took over Germany - he started educating the German people that there was this master race, that Jews were the root of all evil, that the Aryan people were entitled to their third reich, etc. It's education, whether it happens in a school room or not.

RE: How ironic
By mindless1 on 1/23/2010 2:47:14 PM , Rating: 2
There is a good reason why women were taught to be subservient to their husbands. If there is a disagreement, it is a 1:1 tie vote, nothing can ever get accomplished unless one or the other is the leader.

Now, don't get me wrong in some relationships the women are the better leaders, but that is now with them acquiring leadership skills out in the workforce, you were speaking of how history influences the present and that is all I meant to reply to, BUT what happens today will eventually be considered history too, that changes the culture.

It is still the woman's decision in any reasonable society, whether to marry a man that will not defer to her judgment and question his own when there is an issue strongly disagreed upon, and vice-versa, it takes two to happily co-exist.

Short version: Cultures don't change overnight. China's doesn't either. Somebody has to lead and the rest have to follow. Let every individual have equal say in *everything* and you only have chaos.

So ultimately, Hilary's message didn't need to reach the people, it needed to impress upon their government what our stance is on the issue... a bit of peer pressure, at some point they won't be able to keep a straight face and think of themselves as modern and developed if they starve themselves of information.

RE: How ironic
By snyper256 on 1/23/2010 4:34:11 PM , Rating: 2
We don't need "leaders" and "followers", we are capable of greater understanding so that we can work together toward any common goal. This goes for anyone.

Everyone has intellect.

RE: How ironic
By mindless1 on 1/25/2010 3:01:33 PM , Rating: 2
False, and especially false when there are only two opposing votes.

THINK about it. Working together when there is difference in opinion still means one way or another, seldom is there some kind of 50% middle ground, only renegotiations and in those, there is still the necessity that either both parties agree, or one be the leader and the other the follower.

It doesn't matter if everyone has intellect but in fact, it is irrelevant because not everyone has equal intellect, not everyone has equal judgement, equal foresight, equal experience, equal risk, equal responsability, equal problem solving skills, equal income when it's a monetary matter,

... or if you like they could just flip a coin, good luck with that.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis

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