BEIJING — China on Thursday warned the United States not to use calls for uncensored access to the Internet as a pretext to interfere in the domestic affairs of other countries.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu made the comment at a regular briefing when asked about Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's speech on Internet freedom on Tuesday.
Clinton said the administration would spend $25 million this year on initiatives designed to protect bloggers and help them get around curbs such as the Great Firewall of China, the gagging of social media sites in countries including Iran and Egypt's recent unsuccessful attempt to thwart anti-government protests by pulling the plug on online communication.
China has the world's largest Internet market, with 457 million people online. The communist government promotes Internet use for business and education, but uses extensive controls, popularly known as the "Great Firewall," to block access to material considered subversive or pornographic.
Ma repeated the standard government position that Internet users in China enjoy freedom of speech "in accordance with the law," and said China was willing to work with other countries on Internet-related issues.