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China warns U.S. over Web censorship stance

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman says the new U.S. position could hurt U.S.-China relations and doesn't reflect "the facts."

A day after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton formally denounced Internet censorship, China warned that the new U.S. stance could hurt relations between the two countries.

"The U.S. has criticized China's policies to administer the Internet and insinuated that China restricts Internet freedom...This runs contrary to the facts and is harmful to China-U.S. relations," a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement quoted by Reuters, the BBC, and others. (Here is a Google translation of the statement.)

Clinton spoke Thursday, about a week after Google declared it no longer would censor search results in China even if that means it must shut down its operations in that country.

Clinton's speech carried messages both for the private and public sectors. For corporations, she said, "Censorship should not be accepted by any company from anywhere. American companies need to make a principled stand."

As for countries, she called for online freedoms for citizens of all nations: "The freedom to connect is like the freedom of assembly in cyberspace. It allows individuals to get online, come together, and hopefully cooperate in the name of progress."

Regarding China specifically, she said, "We look to the Chinese authorities to conduct a thorough review of the activities that led Google to make its announcements."