Chinese bloggers ask Kerry for help as restrictions on Internet use mount
BEIJING — Leading Chinese bloggers asked Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday to put more pressure on their government to ease mounting restrictions on freedom of expression and Internet use and to help tear down the Great Firewall of China, as the system of censorship here is known.
Reporter and blogger Zhang Jialong complained that U.S. companies were complicit in maintaining Internet restrictions in China and asked Kerry to do more for Chinese dissidents who have been jailed for peacefully expressing their views.
Kerry met with four leading bloggers during a short trip to China, a visit otherwise dominated by official discussions on the thorny issues of North Korea's nuclear weapons program and climate change.
Although his morning meeting with the bloggers was supposed to show U.S. support for freedom of expression in China, the secretary seemed to be put on the defensive by their questions and appeals for help, insisting that he had urged Chinese leaders to support expanded press and Internet freedoms.
“Obviously, we think that the Chinese economy will be stronger with greater freedom of the Internet,” he said.
But Kerry sidestepped a question about his view of the path China is on, after investigative reporter Wang Keqin said intellectuals were worried about growing restrictions since Xi Jinping took over as president last March.
Kerry said he had consistently raised the issue of human rights during his visits to China, including in meetings with Xi.
“We constantly press these issues at all of our meetings, whether it is in the United States or here, at every level, and we will continue to do so,” he said.
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments â either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.