Lifestyle & Belief

China internet censorship: US denies cozying up to censors


A woman walks past a billboard showing characters of a Chinese-developed online video game. Social gaming takes place on websites like Facebook which is blocked, along with Youtube and Twitter, by China's Great Fire Wall.


Philippe Lopez

Admittedly, it doesn't look great.

Representatives from the State Department and Microsoft meeting with chief Chinese censors behind closed doors.

Today and Thursday, the fifth annual US-China Internet Industry Forum is being held in Washington, DC. The conference is closed to the press, and both sides taking some fire for agreeing to participate in the event.

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The State Department denied cozying up to the Chinese and Microsoft also defended its decision to participate in (and sponsor) the event, in a Washington Times report.

Some say the closed-door conference will allow for more frank discussion about censorship in China.

But of course we won't know — since it's behind closed doors.

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Robert Hormats, under secretary for economic, energy and agricultural affairs, gave an address today that can be read in its entirety on the State Department website.

He said the US remains concerned about censorship in China and expressed frustration at having to "expend renewed energy to address old problems."

Many websites and online services are blocked, emails and communications are monitored, and certain keywords are immediately flagged for deletion.

And then the "money" line:

Getting around the restrictive “Great Firewall” on the Internet in China costs Chinese and foreign businesses both time and money.

He acknowledged that censorship appears to have worsened over the last year, which has raised serious human rights concerns as well.