A Chinese Newspaper has written a critical editorial about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about her speech about the freedom to access information on the Internet. The newspaper, the Global Times, labelled her speech as a “disguised attempt to impose its values on other cultures in the name of democracy”.
“The online freedom of unrestricted access is, thus, only one-way traffic, contrary to the spirit of democracy and calculated to strengthen a monopoly,” the newspaper wrote in its editorial.
“The online freedom of unrestricted access is, thus, only one-way traffic, contrary to the spirit of democracy and calculated to strengthen a monopoly. These facts about the difficulties of developing nations, though understood by politicians like Clinton, are not communicated to the people of Western countries. Instead, those politicians publicise and pursue their claims purely from a Western standpoint.”
“This practice is morally unworthy and has been resisted by intellectuals in developing countries.”
Also quoted was a poll conducted by a Chinese website that apparently showed a growing number of people not wanting a unregulated or uncensored Google China site – and the newspaper is also quoted in saying that people don’t want “free flow of information”, as they put it, because “they recognize the situation that their country is forced to face.”
“Unlike advanced Western countries, Chinese society is still vulnerable to the effect of multifarious information flowing in, especially when it is for creating disorder,” the editorial goes on to say.
Clinton’s speech came after a week when it was revealed that several US companies were attacked, including Google and Adobe, known as Operation Aurora. As many security experts found out, the attack used a zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer. Microsoft has since released a patch.
Google has placed the blame on China, and has threatened to pull out of China and end self-censoring its searches to allow it to compete with local rival Baidu. Google is also said to be looking internally to see if it was not an inside job.
The attack on Google seemed to centre around two Gmail accounts of known people working with human rights organisations. As well, according to Google, some of its intellectual property was also stolen in the attack.
In her speech, she said that countries that engage in cyber attacks should face international condemnation; as the United States “work against those who use communication networks as tools of disruption and fear.”
“In an internet-connected world, an attack on one nation’s networks can be an attack on all. And by reinforcing that message, we can create norms of behaviour among states and encourage respect for the global networked commons,” Clinton said in her speech.
Clinton used her speech to highlight the freedoms of the Internet, warning that countries like Vietnam and China are increasing their level of censorship on their Internet networks. As well, she highlighted that “should not prevent people from connecting to the internet, to websites, or to each other.”
“The freedom to connect is like the freedom of assembly, only in cyberspace. It allows individuals to get online, come together, and hopefully cooperate. Once you’re on the internet, you don’t need to be a tycoon or a rock star to have a huge impact on society,” Clinton said.
She cited social media examples like a 13-year-old boy organising blood drives and a massive book of condolences from many faiths and a Mexico protest by a private citizen fed up with the drug-related violence that has plagued the country.
China’s Foreign Ministry has said that her speech would be “harmful to Sino-American relations,” according to the New York Times.