Obama’s message of internet freedom in China, censored by China
Speaking in front of a town hall meeting in Shanghai yesterday, President Obama called for more internet freedom in China and took on the issue of the country’s “great firewall” blocking internet traffic. While many event attendees seemed to be members of the China Communist Youth League, one lone Twitterer was able to slip in a question about China’s ongoing internet censorship. In response to the question, President Obama said:
I’ve always been a strong supporter of open Internet use. I’m a big supporter of non-censorship. This is part of the tradition of the United States that I discussed before, and I recognize that different countries have different traditions. 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.
Reports were that this Q & A was not aired by China’s state owned new agency, Xinhua. Additionally, Obama’s statements on internet freedom and open communications were being glossed over by more trivial inquiries into his Facebook account.
In my opinion, President Obama should maintain his calls for open communication to “draw the world together,” as he said. Maybe even 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Obama can echo ex-President Reagan and say: Mr. Jintao, tear down this firewall!