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January 22, 2010
China and U.S. escalate spat over Google and web controls

Google’s Beijing headquarters. Photo: Flickr user HunXue-er

Today the Chinese government criticized Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call for China and other countries to stop censoring web content, including Google searches.

Those restrictions have prompted Google to threaten to pull out of China.

China’s Foreign Ministry has urged the U.S. to “respect facts and stop using so-called freedom of the internet to make unjustified accusations against China.”

Did Hillary Clinton do the right thing by publicly criticizing China for censoring Google and other web content?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please be respectful and on-point. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be banned.

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Comments

39 comments

#39

It will take a generation for the freedoms we enjoy in America to be enjoyed in China. Until, then, actions like H. Clintons are exactly what need to be done to effect that change. I respect that China has its ways, but, we are trying to slowly move forward to bring a little more freedom to your country. Your welcome to help us if you can do so without being arrested.

#38

I am chinese and I totally understand that the current censorship on media is still tough in china, compared with other countries. However, it is a slow process for my goverment to loose the grip to keep the stability. And please, don’t talk everything under the name of “freedom” or “human rights”, how long will take you condenscending people to realize and respect that we have a different interpretgation of these aspects of human life? We have been trying to learn to be better from other countries, but we have never accepted anything without a chinese adaptation.
For the google thing, I feel sorry what happened. It is not clear that it is a business or political collision. For Hilary’s speech, she could say what she wants to say, so do we.

#37

Well China has lent the U.S alot of money for our debts. If we are going to criticize them, it needs to be privately and not publicly. I mean, what’s the saying “don’t bite the hand that feeds ya”. You can’t expect them to be like us in every way, some areas take more time than others to reform.

#36

Oops – I meant what if the US defaulted!

#35

And about the U.S. debt to China – where would they be if China defaulted? Perhaps they also should “make nice”.

#34

It might not have been “diplomatically correct” but at least she said it like it is!

#33

by the way what is our debt to CHINA ?
….AMERICA’S DEBT Time B O M B is…8.3 trillion
CHINA’S, WORTH 321 BILLION IN U.S. TREASURIES !
I think Hillary Sould STOP PICKING A FIGHT With CHINA ..JUST SO THEY [W.H.] CAN SOUND TOUGH ? !
Let get our financial diffilculties in check !!!

#32

lol,…..unbelievable of Hillery …you just wait un-till it time to PAY THE PIPER ![China’s-DEBT’s ]= iou’s
who many why can you say SORRY IN CHINESE ?
…..WHAT’S UNBELIEVABLE IS OUR ..DEBT TO CHINA !!THESE ARE NOT SOUND POLICY’S W.H. &
CONGRESS NEED TO TRIM THE FAT[PORK] THEY CREATE !
…GOOGLE knew the deal from the beginning !
CHINA is just being…. China ??

#31

Understanding of the following: who does the press listen to and report on, given the size of the political contribution of Google, being a distractions from other larger world issues and other significant factors would help explain why Secretary Clinton said that about China in a speech in the US. China is not going to be bullied by “U.S.” any longer as they are preparing to become the world’s largest and strongest economy. If it weren’t so sad, it would be laughable. They hold a lot more cards and chips than before. We have a right to say anything we want to China and we risk them not buying more of our economic bailout debt if we do.

#30

I think it was absolutely right for her to do so. The Obama administration has been woefully silent on human rights and I hope this is an indication of more to come.

At the same time we need to focus on fixing or shelving the patriot act, resolving the Gitmo situation and to stop unconditionally supporting Israel in its treatment of Palestine.

#29

Clinton’s handling in this matter is hyppicritical.How about we ease up on the privacy act and eavesdropping before we go around accusing others of violating human rightsfrankly it’s non of our business how the Chinese handle their affairs.I think we are just concerned and threatened by it’s success in the recent years,they might not even need google in the coming years.

#28

She absolutely did the right thing. Some weeks ago, a consular official here in SF made a snide comment about how unfitting it was for other countries to tell China about what democracy involves. The Chinese government is much like the Republicans–caught in a fantasy web of unrealistic doctrinaire slogans that, repeated often enough, brainwash one into a knee-jerk approach to any outsider.

#27

We should stop facilitating censorship in any form, it leads to oppression, google should not cave in and pull out if necessary.

#26

This is the perfect forum in which the United States of America can constructively criticize the policies of The Peoples Republic of China and essentially remain politically uninvolved. This is a statement of the international capitalist requirements for participation in the world market. Should China desire recognition in this venue, it would behoove them to posture politically while adapting to the economic realities of the world.

#25

She did the USA proud by speaking out in an ocean of deafening silence against these Orwellian Chinese policies. She tells it like it is, and people don’t like to be called out like that. Her courage and conviction to follow her moral compass is to be admired and honored.

#24

If China wants to participate in the economy of the free world and reap the benefits of this relationship, then it only follows that they must start to open up to social freedoms afforded citizens in these economies.

Secretary Clinton’s comments were appropriate from this perspective in light of the fact that the United States is China’s largest trading partner. It would benefit China to afford more transparency concerning their governments interaction with the internet.

#23

Hillary Clinton, on behalf of US interests and obligations, gave a subtly undiplomatic response to the related concept of Chinese net censorship and espionage. It does pose a risk in infuriating the Chinese government, however, it did target specific incidents and pattern of the Chinese government manipulating the spread of information across the internet and the way in which the Chinese government inappropriately utilizes the internet by garnering and ciphering data, sensitive or otherwise, domestic and abroad. Her stance, strongly held, of course incited retaliation from a country clearly clutching to a omniscient presence within its boarders and an invictive policy abroad. The position was tough to take a stand on, however she has merely responded to an ever changing global climate.

#22

I’d say the current way of dealing with China is a total failure. Our government simply have very little understanding of Chinese even after decades of diplomatic ties. Look at history, Chinese people never bows to external pressure, be it Japanese invasion, Korean War with UN led force, Soviet Invasion, Indian & Vietnamese invasions. Be it any kind of threat, Chinese simply fought back with more power. China, in my opinion, could be our nation’s ally if deal with care not to mess with Taiwan or Tibet; or it could be our nation’s worst enemy if we wanted it be !

#21

I absolutely support the statements of Sec. Clinton. I have worked in IT and networking since the early 1970’s — in the ARPANET days — and I am well aware of Chinese threats to Internet security for the last 10 years. For Google to have original “caved”, in my opinion, to the filtering requirements of China I felt to be irresponsible. But for Google to have complied, and STILL have been hacked by what was unquestionably “top level” Chinese authorities, and for human rights advocates to have been targeted — well, let’s stop playing nice with China. I think Google should take a strong stance, and I support Sec. Clinton’s strong words. We need to stop going to bed with China–looking the other way is NOT OK. That we owe our shirt to China is no reason to endanger human rights advocates. Let’s reduce our our vulnerability to China on multiple fronts.

#20

I think that as Secretary of Sate, Hillary Clinton should not have expressed that opinion. The disagreement is between the Chinese Government and Google. I agree with Frank (above), that every country evolves in it’s own pace and China is still evolving. At a diplomatic level critisism could be made but to go public, as Clinton did, is not diplomatic! Google did not have to go to China it was a business decision, neither did Wal-Mart or any other muli-national company. They go to increase the bottom line. Work for Americans would not appear to be their prime concern

#19

Yes, this type of intrusive government censorship and monitoring needs to be addressed. But, I also find in reprehensible that in the USA (et.al.)our emails, phone calls and other electronic correspondence is “filtered” and “monitored” in the name of security by our government – are we really all that much better?

#18

The Secty. of States comments are long overdue. Whether on their suppression of the Tibetan people, their constant manipulations of their currency, their suppression of their own people’s rights and now their attempts to suppress the free flow of information on the internet the Chinese oligarchy has been getting a free pass. It is a matter of our own national security that America expend every effort to maintain the independence of the Internet.

#17

Google has a choice. If they feel China’s government is trying to infiltrate their system they can add layers of protection making it difficult for hackers, or get out of China. Sorry Hillary, your comments are not necessary. One thing we saw during the unrest in Iran was the ability for people to communicate with the outside world regardless of what the government did. I believe China can do all they want to suppress what is happening in the world ….eventually the desire for knowledge and truth will mean that the people will find more ways to beat the governments censorships.

#16

To judge China, or any country, by our standards is a mistake. We have a long tradition of protecting the free flow of information, and our efforts are still a work in progress. Every country evolves in its own way. As the people of China have become better educated and better off financially, their government has loosened its control over the flow of information. I expect it will continue to do so, but at its own pace. Mrs. Clinton’s remarks were shortsighted, arrogant and counterproductive.

#15

China use to be called a paper tiger. Things have changed with the United States the debtor nation and China is its loan shark! I don’t understand what the upside of her comments could be.

#14

She was right for making her statements. Nor should the US Government or Google be intimidated by the Chinese government’s threats of retaliation.

#13

Talking about freedom is very important. Anytime we wish to add freedom to anyone’s agenda is an important message. China is still not a free country. Why is it they can have rampant corruption at the highest levels but grimly stalk those that seek humanitarian ideology and a humanitarian government in China. We are talking about what Chinese people are free to do without govt. scrutiny and pressure.

We are talking about simple things, freedom of speech, freedom of ideas tha the ability to communicate those ideas across and electronic media. Having an opinion is far from attacking the Chinese govt. When govts. are afraid of opinions, they are too busy controlling the opinions of others fanatically.

#12

Secretary Clinton is absolutely correct. I was one of 450,000 individual entrepreneurs on internet attacked on the search engines to our websites on August 7, 2008. Sometimes there were up to 25 pages of malware on the search engine for my website: http://www.speechtodaro.com. One year later, I stripped down the website and put up a warning as to the cybercrime existing. China lives in my search engines and have seen to it that my website cannot be accessed through my search engines — continuing to use my .com search engine for their .cn purposes. They have infringed on my copyright and have made it imposible to use my website for the purposes originally intended — to market my professional speech diction services representing 35 years of commitment and productivity. See http://www.speechtodaro.com. Go Hillary!!!!

#11

The USA cannot continue to proclaim, we are “the way and the only way”. China does not need our help. Google knew what they were getting into before they moved and established their business there. We’d be happy to have Google back in the USA. We can certainly use the jobs. Let China rule their country and butt out, Clinton!

#10

I think that the Secretary of State was on the mark regarding government censorship,however, her comments could have been expressed in a more diplomatic and respectful manner. Perhaps it is simply my perception, but she strikes me as a bit haughty for a diplomat.

#9

Mama always said, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”

#8

Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#7

While I think we would alldisagree with china’s postion I think it is between China and Google. The US sticks it’s nose in too many peoples business and maybe we should stay out and by doing so maybe we can improve our image abroad.

#6

Yes, she was correct in doing this.

#5

She did the right thing. We have let ourselves become far too dependent on China. It’s not unreasonable to expect that our partners have respect for our intellectual property and freedoms

#4

She absolutely did the right thing. Some weeks ago, a consular official here in SF made a snide comment about how unfitting it was for other countries to tell China about what democracy involves. The Chinese government is much like the Republicans–caught in a fantasy web of unrealistic doctrinaire slogans that, repeated often enough, brainwash one into a knee-jerk approach to any outsider.

#3

clean your backyard first

#2

yea but we still cater to Walmart and all the other companys that build factories over there and take good jobs from us. All we do is talk.

#1

I think it was a bold move by Secretary of State Clinton, albeit not a diplomatic one. In my opinion, it is important for America not to appear to have double standards when it comes to protecting people’s so called ‘freedoms’ and be equally critical whether the country under scrutiny is China or Turkey on the one hand, or Syria or Cuba on the other. Unfortunately, scrutinizing a country that is an ally and with whom a solid relationship is necessary for the benefit of the US might not be a great diplomatic move. Perhaps there are always double-standards in play.

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