Internet Freedom: An Unavoidable Battle between Beijing and the Democratic World

By Ai Lin & Yu Yin
Sound of Hope Radio
Created: Jan 24, 2010 Last Updated: Jan 25, 2010

China’s reaction to criticism over accusations of cyber intrusions has escalated. On Jan. 22, the Beijing-funded Global Times referred to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call for “a single Internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas” as “information imperialism.”

Clinton also called on the Chinese government to investigate the cyber attacks that have prompted Google to consider withdrawing from China on Jan. 21. The first response to her remarks came on the same day from He Yafei, China’s vice foreign minister. According to the state-run Xinhua News, Vice Minister He said the incident “should not be linked to relations between the two governments and countries; otherwise, it’s an over-interpretation.”

One day later, a post by spokesman Ma Zhaoxi on China’s Foreign Ministry Web site read, “We urge the U.S. to respect facts and stop attacking China with the excuse of so-called Internet freedom.” The above reference to “information imperialism” appeared the same day.

A Clash is Inevitable

In light of China’s responses, Sound of Hope Radio (SOH) interviewed renowned political commentator Mr. Hu Ping. Hu is also editor-in-chief of the Beijing Spring magazine.

An open Internet is what the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) fears most because Internet control is vital for maintaining its dictatorship, Hu said. Thus, the battle over freedom of information is tied to the fate of the CCP.

The clash between the Chinese regime and the international society is inevitable, he added, because freedom of information is vital for the pursuit of democracy and freedom.

Hu believes He Yafei’s response demonstrates guilt on the part of Beijing. “We can see that this is the CCP’s fatal weakness,” he said. As long as the international community continues to insist on the fundamental principle of freedom, they can successfully put pressure on the Chinese regime, he said.

Hu thinks the desire for freedom of information is human nature. He noted that “Even during the Cultural Revolution, under that closed environment in the generation of Red Guards, many people still tried very hard to find books to read, and they listened to Voice of America. They were hungry for information,” he said, adding that he hoped all people would stand on the side of freedom and justice.

A Warning: Beware of Deception

The CCP may be using an old trick of stirring up the Chinese people’s patriotism to blur the focus, Hu warned. The “information imperialism” claim may be a strategy on the part of the regime to ignore the international pressure and continue to block the Internet while trying to convince the Chinese people that the international society is interfering with China’s internal affairs.

Hu hopes the Chinese people will recognize the trick. Restrictions on the Internet actually target the Chinese people themselves, and have nothing to do with patriotic self-esteem, he said.

“Thus, the international pressure on the CCP is actually good for the Chinese people. It can help us get information more freely. So, we should stand on the side of the international society instead of the side of the CCP dictatorship,” he concluded.

Read the original Chinese article.

(Source: Epoch Times)

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