China insecurity on display at Olympics


A defiant China stood firm on controversies swirling around the Olympics on Thursday, hitting back at the United States over human rights criticism and insisting Internet censorship would remain.

China's communist rulers responded sternly to critics following a storm of bad publicity this week surrounding their decision to renege on a pledge to allow unfettered Internet access to foreign reporters covering the Games.

The decision highlighted long-standing concerns over the Chinese government's attitude towards human rights, and led the White House to intervene by saying China had "nothing to fear" from the Internet.

The Chinese foreign ministry reacted by criticising a meeting US President George W. Bush had with leading Chinese dissidents and describing some US lawmakers who spoke out on Beijing's human rights record as "odious".

"China asks the US to abide by the basic norms of international relations, stop interfering in the internal affairs of China by means of making use of so-called religious and human rights," ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

Liu also hit out at a resolution by the US Congress that urged Beijing to improve on human rights and stop the repression of ethnic minorities.


China's conduct is a reflection of its insecurity and its unstated belief that its society and culture is much more fragile than it would like to publicly admit. The comment from the White House on China's fear of the internet was appropriate. Fear is the only rationale for limiting access to the internet. It is ironic that China is trying to show its remarkable progress over the last 30 years and winds up also showing its weakness.


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