China: Net Censorship? Not here
China does not censor the Internet — not even a smidgen, said a Chinese official attending the Internet Governance Forum in Athens, Greece.
"In China we don't have software blocking internet sites. Sometimes we have trouble accessing them but that is a different problem. We do not have restrictions at all," said the unnamed official.
He also defended China's track record on freedom of expression. "Some people say journalists in China have been arrested. We have hundreds of journalists in China and few have been arrested. This has nothing to do with freedom of expression. We have criminals in our society. There are criminals in all society."
The remarks were reported by the BBC, at least outside of China they were. Typically, websites with "sensitive" material — ranging from Taiwan independence or Tiananmen Square to Tibetan advocacy, pornography or gambling — are blocked or severely filtered in China.
Companies such as Cisco Systems, Microsoft, Yahoo and Google have all come under international criticism for their alllegedly complicit roles in the sophisticated effort, which is known as the Great Firewall of China. Studies have shown that at least 15,000 to 20,000 websites are blocked in some way in China.
The official also said the government's purchases of Cisco routers are justified — some of those routers have widely been rumored to be the bricks and mortar in the Great Firewall. Many companies under fire for their business practices in China have said their presence there helps more than harms the flow of information.
The Chinese official said more attention should be paid to more Chinese gaining access to the Internet, rather than the debate over censorship.
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