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China says Net row could damage Sino-US relations

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China says Net row could damage Sino-US relations


China has taken a swipe back at the United States, saying Washington’s campaign against internet censorship could damage relations between the two superpowers. The US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has included China among several countries that restrict internet freedom.

Last week, Google threatened to pull out of China because of interference. Clinton called it the modern day equivalent of the Berlin Wall.

“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,” she said. “Now 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 Chinese Foreign Ministry said the accusations are not true and are harmful to Chinese-American relations.

In Beijing though, internet users had a different view.

One lawyer said: “I hope the censorship could be relaxed. We can’t search for some magazines, academic websites and other material. We can only find bits and bobs of information on the internet. And some unofficial articles on the internet are not accurate.”

The spat over internet freedom comes on top of disputes over trade, American arms sales to Taiwan and the value of China’s currency.

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