US launching Chinese, Russian, Hindi Twitter feeds

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Just days after launching Twitter feeds in Arabic and Farsi to communicate directly with people in the Middle East, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Tuesday that the State Department would begin sending messages in Chinese, Russian and Hindi.

Clinton, in a speech on Internet freedom at George Washington University here, said the United States is "committed to continuing our conversation with people around the world."

"Last week we launched Twitter feeds in Arabic, and Farsi, adding to the ones we have in French and Spanish," she said, according to a copy of her remarks prepared for delivery.

"We'll start similar ones in Chinese, Russian and Hindi," Clinton said. "This is enabling us to have real-time two-way conversations with people wherever there is a connection that governments do not block."

Clinton singled out China, Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, Syria and Vietnam as countries which practice censorship or restrict access to the Internet.

"In China, the government censors content and redirects search requests to error pages," she said. "In (Myanmar), independent news sites have been taken down with distributed denial of service attacks."

"In Cuba, the government is trying to create a national Intranet, while not allowing their citizens to access the global Internet," she said. "In Vietnam, bloggers who criticize the government are arrested and abused."

Clinton said that in Iran, "the authorities block opposition and media websites, target social media, and steal identifying information about their own people in order to hunt them down."

She said Syria lifted a ban on Facebook and YouTube last week but convicted a teenage girl of espionage on Monday and sentenced her to five years in prison for political poetry she wrote on her blog.

"The demand for access to platforms of expression cannot be satisfied when using them lands you in prison," Clinton said.

© 2011 AFP

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