China says Kerry's call for Internet freedom naive

BEIJING Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:08am EST

A map of China is seen through a magnifying glass on a computer screen showing binary digits in Singapore in this January 2, 2014 photo illustration. REUTERS/Edgar Su

A map of China is seen through a magnifying glass on a computer screen showing binary digits in Singapore in this January 2, 2014 photo illustration.

Credit: Reuters/Edgar Su

Related Topics

BEIJING (Reuters) - China criticized U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday for his "naive" call for more Internet freedom in the country, and wondered why his discussion with Chinese bloggers had not touched upon Edward Snowden.

During an approximately 40-minute chat with bloggers in Beijing on Saturday, Kerry expressed his support for online freedom in China, as well as for human rights in general.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said outsiders had no right to pass judgment and misunderstood the real situation.

"If China's Internet had not gone through enormous development in the past few years then where would these bloggers have come from?" she told a daily news briefing.

"China's affairs must be decided by Chinese people based on their own national condition. Using methods like this to push China in a direction of change they want, isn't that rather naive?" Hua added.

"I think the topic of this discussion could have been even more open, for example discussing Snowden's case and issues like that," she said, referring to the former U.S. National Security Agency contractor whose leaks have embarrassed Washington.

Last year, China's Communist Party renewed a heavy-handed campaign to control online interaction, threatening legal action against people whose perceived rumors on microblogs such as Sina Weibo are reposted more than 500 times or seen by more than 5,000 people.

Rights groups and dissidents have criticized the crackdown as another tool for the party to limit criticism and to further control freedom of expression.

The government says such steps are needed for social stability and says every country in the world seeks to regulate the Internet.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Nick Macfie)

FILED UNDER:
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (16)
stambo2001 wrote:
Well of course the USA wants China to open up to the internet, it would make it easier for the NSA to spy (oops, I mean collect ‘metadata’) on another near 2 billion people.

Feb 17, 2014 7:05am EST  --  Report as abuse
Jingan wrote:
US lost enough face recently, don’t need this village i….ot to deepen our shame

Feb 17, 2014 7:41am EST  --  Report as abuse
Oro_Invictus wrote:
Ah, nothing quite like the heady passive-aggressiveness of the PRC Foreign Ministry.

Feb 17, 2014 8:34am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Track China's Leaders