China terms US-Internet request ‘interference’ | Pakistan Today

China terms US-Internet request ‘interference’

Beijing accused the United States on Thursday of using Internet freedom as an excuse to interfere in its affairs after Washington pressed it to explain the blocking of American companies’ websites. The US Trade Representative said Wednesday it had made the request, the first step to bringing the case before the World Trade Organization, after US firms complained about the commercial impact of disruptions to their sites. Beijing blocks several foreign websites including Facebook and Twitter under a vast censorship system known as the Great Firewall of China, designed to prevent its citizens from seeing material the government considers sensitive.
Google said in March last year it would no longer bow to government censors and effectively shut down its Chinese search engine, re-routing mainland users to its uncensored website in Hong Kong.
On Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Beijing was “ready to work with other countries to set up communications and exchanges on the Internet”. “But we oppose using the Internet freedom as an excuse to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs,” she added. Washington’s request was made under world trade rules which require members to provide information about potential barriers to trade. The nearly 50-question filing asks who is responsible for blocking websites, why and when it takes place.
Although the request touched on the sensitive issue of Chinese Internet censorship for political reasons, the US Trade Representative said it would focus on trade issues. “The United States would like to better understand China’s rules governing website blocking so that service suppliers based outside of China may adopt appropriate policies to avoid encountering this problem,” it said.

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