Letter to Clinton on Global Internet Freedom

February 24, 2010

WASHINGTON – On February 24, 2010 in Washington, DC, front-line activists for human rights joined veteran Washington political figures at a Capitol Hill press conference where they urged the State Department to take positive action for Internet freedom in countries like China and Iran.

ChinaAid President Bob Fu was among the signers of a letter to Secretary Clinton, which was released at the conference.  Leaders from China, Iran, Vietnam, Burma, Cuba, and other countries also signed the letter.  The protection of internet freedom is a key part of ensuring basic human rights worldwide.

The letter welcomed Secretary Clinton’s internet freedom speech of January 21, but was critical of the department’s lack of transparency and its failure to apply merit-based criteria in the awarding of grants to promote Internet freedom.

In a calm but heartfelt speech, Mark Palmer, former Ambassador to Hungary during that county’s successful transition to democracy, said that he has never been more outraged by the behavior of the State Department than he is now.  “I am mystified,” he said about the failure of the State Department to immediately award funds allocated by Congress to proven systems used by dissidents around the world to overcome the electronic firewalls erected by authoritarian regimes.

Also speaking at the conference were former Regan Administration official and Hudson Institute Senior Fellow, Michael Horowitz, and Harvard Fellow and President of Initiatives for China, Dr. Yang Jianli.  Dr. David Tian, a NASA computer scientist and member of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIF) spoke briefly as well.

Each of the speakers expressed consternation at the State Department’s failure to act decisively to fund existing, field proven, and scalable programs such as those developed by GIF to eliminate firewalls erected by oppressive regimes.

Mr. Horowitz quantified the situation by saying that with as little as 35 million dollars, GIF programs could be scaled up in a matter of months to enable 50 million Iranians to have secure access to an uncensored Internet.  “At this level, Internet censorship by the Iranian regime will be eliminated.”

To read a PDF of the letter to Secretary Clinton, click following link:

PDF of Letter to Secretary Clinton

For information on Google’s position supporting internet freedom in China, read the following:

Google’s Stand

ChinaAid believes that the preservation of internet freedom plays a key role in support of human rights worldwide. We encourage international governments to take a strong stance in defense of human rights by establishing policies to keep access to information free for all citizens.  We also urge US-based companies to follow Google’s example in support of internet freedom.

China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.chinaaid.org

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