Obama calls for free internet in China

Robert Clark
17 Nov 2009

President Obama’s call for the easing of China’s internet restrictions yesterday was predictably blocked by Chinese censors.

Obama’s comments at a town hall-style meeting in Shanghai lasted 27 minutes on NetEase’s home page, China Digital Timesreported.

“I’ve always been a strong supporter of open Internet use,” Obama said.

“I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable.”

“I’m a big supporter of non-censorship…. I can tell you that in the United States, the fact that we have free Internet — or unrestricted internet access is a source of strength, and I think should be encouraged.”

His meeting with 500 students was streamed online through a single Shanghai site, Xinwen Zonghe, and the White House website. It was also broadcast through Facebook, which is blocked in China.

The state-owned Xinhua website, which had promised live coverage, gave text updates and photos, scmp.com said.

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