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Chinese authorities are
again stepping up efforts to restrict freedom of expression by blocking
websites such as Twitter, Flickr, and Hotmail. The Internet restrictions are
among a number of measures the Chinese government has taken in recent weeks to
quell dissent surrounding the June 4th anniversary of the violent suppression
of demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.
Freedom House executive director Jennifer Windsor said, Young people in China
are already woefully uninformed about the democracy protests in 1989 and the
massacre that killed hundreds if not thousands of peaceful demonstrators.
China's decision to block these sites, she said, represents the latest salvo in
a relentless campaign to erase the past.
Chinese authorities regularly shut down portions of the Internet during events
deemed politically sensitive, such as the Beijing Olympics and the Communist
Party Congresses. According to Freedom House, the Chinese government wields the
most sophisticated Internet surveillance and censorship apparatus in the world.
According to the latest State Department Country Reports on Human Rights
Practices, Chinese Internet police were able to automatically censor e-mail and
web chats based on an ever-changing list of sensitive key words, such as Falun
Gong and Tibetan Independence. Despite these controls, Chinese cyberspace has
grown into a dynamic forum with hundreds of millions of users.
The United States is concerned about actions that seek to restrict access to
the Internet as well as restrictions on the internationally recognized right to
freedom of expression.
Democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, said President
Barack Obama are not simply principles of the West. . .but rather what I
believe to be universal principles�