WikiLeaks’ ordeal tests Internet freedom

by Chen Weihua

Under such pressure,, Visa, MasterCard and PayPal have all suspended their services to WikiLeaks. And the WikiLeaks website is no longer accessible in the US.

The US has also been trying numerous ways to press charges against Assange, including using the outdated World War I-era Espionage Act, although some cables suggest that some US diplomats should also be worried if that happens.

All these have been happening in a country, which loudly boasts of its First Amendment guaranteeing the freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Obama addressed Internet freedom in a town hall-style meeting in Shanghai in November 2009. Hillary Clinton also went on at great length about Internet freedom in her speech at the Newseum in Washington in January, pointing an accusing finger at China and several other countries.

But the Assange case reveals such rhetoric is just so much hypocrisy. It is apparent that when Internet freedom conflicts with self-declared US national interests, or when Internet freedom exposes lies by the self-proclaimed open and transparent government, it immediately becomes a crime.

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