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  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 4:36am

China's internet is open, UK ambassador tells BBC

Liu Xiao Ming told Newsnight's Gavin Essler that there was a "misperception" about the internet in China

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 December, 2012, 6:57pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 December, 2012, 7:38pm

China's ambassador to the UK defended the country's internet crackdowns on Friday during an interview with the BBC.

Liu Xiao Ming told Newsnight's Gavin Essler that there was a "misperception" about the internet in China and the way the Communist Party dealt with it.

He also denied that it was difficult for Chinese bloggers to publish their opinions because of crackdowns on free speech.

Asked by Essler whether he thought the internet was 'a bit of an irritation' to the government, the ambassador said: "I think there is a misconception about the internet and development in China.

"In fact, the Chinese are very much open in terms of the internet. In fact, we have the most number of internet users in China today."

He added that in China "every day there are hundreds of thousands of comments made by bloggers" but said it was the government's job to "regulate the users for the protection of the safety of the internet to ensure that healthy content is available and unhealthy content should be removed".

This week the debate over whether China was cracking down further on internet users was ignited again after the People's Daily - a government mouthpiece - ran three editorials warning of the dangers of the internet. The pieces were seen by many as a signal of a further crackdown on virtual private networks - VPNs - that allow users to avoid restrictions on internet use. They were published as internet users and businessmen in China speculated that a recent upgrade to the Great Firewall was now automatically detecting and blocking VPNs.

During the Newsnight interview, Essler continued to press Liu Xiao Ming on the issue, suggesting that China's new rulers were stifling the "free exchange of information" simply because they "do not like certain ideas".

The ambassador replied: "If you are in China and can get connected to the internet I think you can get all kinds of opinions. It's much open. A lot of things can be debated including politics and economic and cultural affairs.

"I think you have to have a big picture of the development of the internet back in China."


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This article is now closed to comments

A Danish company's website is blocked for no reason at all. The products they are selling are biological product - pharmaceutical products, with absolutely no porno or political content.
A person with some vivid imagination might think the company's name (website) contain biological weapon. Once you open it, that person will be disappointed.
Nevertheless, it is blocked. So Mr. Ambassador Liu, I shall think again with what I say.
With such blatant lies the Chinese officials still wonder why few people trust the government. What they want is to isolate the Chinese from the outside world. Problem is, business does not stop at the borders. How can we work in Beijing when so many of global internet tools are banned here? We are not interested in Tibet, Falungong and all the stuff. People just want access to gmail, google, etc. Even Facebook and Youtube have become business tools. It's like banning alcohol because some people get drunk.
The UK, after the implementation of Sir Levenson's proposals to regulate media, is not in the position to tell anyone about freedom of expression. And the BBC in particular, after covering for the pedophile clown Sir James Savile, should first address its own lack of credibility when touching upon freedom of expression.
Liu Xiao Ming you are my great man
well done well done
this is what your leaders want from you
wish you all the best
If what he said is true, then why have people been snapping up copies of Han Han's book of his deleted internet posts?
China's blatant Liar does nothing for all Chinese in UK, and overseas. There is an old Chinese saying: "This is a HORSE, when its obviously a deer".........Oh, Dear!!!
"In fact, the Chinese are very much open in terms of the internet. In fact, we have the most number of internet users in China today." - We have the most internet users in China, therefore our internet is open. Sounds like very poor logic to me. A shame China's ambassadors are so comfortable lying.
"It has been said that I have been sent to lie on behalf of my country. I assure you that I have been on the go since I have been here." British Consul General for Houston, Texas, at a University Lecture. That was a long time ago. :) (British Humour)


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