By Mark Memmott

China today "rejected a call by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for the lifting of restrictions on the Internet in the communist country, denouncing her criticism as false and damaging to bilateral ties," the Associated Press reports.

It adds that "a state-run newspaper labeled the appeal from Washington as 'information imperialism.' "

NPR's Louisa Lim reports from Beijing that China's Foreign Ministry issued a statement claiming that China's Internet is free.

The BBC adds that Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said the US should "respect the facts" and stop making "groundless accusations against China".

Today's words follow Google's threats to leave China unless the government drops its requirement that search engine results be subject to censoring.

The text of Clinton's remarks, which she delivered yesterday at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., is posted here. State has put video of her address here.

She said, in part, that:

"Countries that restrict free access to information or violate the basic rights of internet users risk walling themselves off from the progress of the next century. Now, the United States and China have different views on this issue, and we intend to address those differences candidly and consistently in the context of our positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship."

categories: Foreign News, Obama Administration, Technology

7:02 - January 22, 2010