says Kerry's call for Internet freedom naive
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[February 17, 2014]
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.
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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)
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