Julian Assange Publicly Criticizes Chinese Government for Censorship

By: Qichen Zhang on 27 January 2011

Last week, Julian Assange lashed out against the Chinese government for their online censorship practices to a British magazine. In an interview with The New Statesman, The director of WikiLeaks called China the "technological enemy" of the whistle-blowing website, according to Radio Free Asia. Assange continues to devise ways to make WikiLeaks accessible to Chinese living on the mainland. In a recent AFP article, he is quoted to have said:

"We've been fighting a running battle to make sure we can get information through, and there are now all sorts of ways Chinese readers can get on to our site."

This is not the first time Assange has lambasted the country for its tight control on media. In 2006, he called authoritarian governments "large-scale conspiracies" that use secrecy and selective information to maintain power over freedom of speech, according to Wall Street Journal blogger Jonathan Shieber.

Chinese officials maintain that their reason behind blocking WikiLeaks is to maintain their relations with the U.S. In 2010, the website released multiple cables that divulge the U.S. State Department's comments on China-related affairs.

But some Chinese citizens are putting the situation into their own hands. Last year, a copycat version of the website drew critical comments from Assange. Saying that "it's not something that's easy to do right," the WikiLeaks founder told Forbes that reputation is what keeps credibility up in WikiLeaks' activities:

"Recently we saw a Chinese WikiLeaks. We encouraged them to come to us to work with us. It would be nice to have more Chinese speakers working with us in a dedicated way. But what they'd set up have no meaningful security."

For more information, visit ONI's 2010 Country Profile on China and David Smith's blog on The Guardian UK about WikiLeaks and China's role in African conflicts.