Chinese Internet is 'open enough,' says foreign minister

Yesterday evening, YouTube reportedly became inaccessible in most of China, possibly due to the presence of graphic videos of violence against Tibetan separatists in Lhasa. The site is normally filtered for content, not only for intellectual property violations, but also for videos deemed subversive or critical of the Communist Party.

Last week, in the Vatican's continuing efforts to utilize the Internet to spread the Catholic church's message, it released a Chinese site, which many expected will be blocked, since observation of the Pope as an authority figure defies Communist rule.

In one of his regular press conferences today, Qin Gang, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, People's Republic of China said "Many people have a false impression that the Chinese government fears the Internet. In fact it is just the opposite."

Due to the semantic ambiguity of this statement, however, it is unclear whether Gang meant that the Internet is afraid of the Chinese government, or that the government is simply unafraid of the Internet. The country has been repeatedly criticized for its irregular treatment of censorship issues, especially those regarding the Dalai Lama and Tibet.

"China's Internet is open enough, but also needs to be regulated by law in order to prevent the spread of harmful information and for national security," continued Gang. Gang went on to say that China firmly opposes any country providing either support of -- or a platform for -- the Dalai Lama's secessionist activities.

Betanews awaits confirmation from YouTube that traffic on its Chinese site has experienced any sudden, significant decline.

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