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Kerry meets Chinese bloggers squeezed by Internet controls

Published on Feb 15, 2014 2:25 PM
 
United States Secretary of State John Kerry (right) listens to a question during a discussion with Chinese bloggers in Beijing, on Saturday, Feb 15, 2014. The bloggers urged Mr Kerry to push for greater freedom online in China, asking for help to "tear down the great Internet firewall". -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - Chinese bloggers urged US Secretary of State John Kerry to push for greater freedom online in China during a rare meeting in Beijing on Saturday, asking for help to "tear down the great Internet firewall".

The roundtable discussion, organised by the US Embassy, was a unique opportunity for the top diplomat to hear directly from China's bloggers amid reports that Beijing is stepping up its efforts to clamp down on political dissent.

The meeting came a day after Mr Kerry held talks with senior Chinese leaders including President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, during which he called on Communist Party authorities to improve their human rights record.

Mr Zhang Jialong, a reporter at Tencent Finance who was one of four bloggers taking part in the discussion, urged the US to support "Chinese who aspire for freedom" and help "tear down the great Internet firewall".

 
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