Obama takes Internet freedom message to China

In a town hall meeting with university students in Shanghai Monday morning, President Obama tried to strike a diplomatic tone when asked about his views on China’s less-than-stellar record on Internet censorship.

“I’ve always been a strong supporter of open Internet use. I’m a big supporter of non-censorship,” Obama said. “This is part of the tradition of the United States that I discussed before, and I recognize that different countries have different traditions.”

The question was submitted, fittingly, through the Internet, as the town hall meeting was also available as a live-streaming Webcast.

In defense of a free and open Internet, Obama referred to his success as a candidate organizing supporters online, and alluded to his support for Net neutrality rules, citing everyone’s favorite example of the proverbial garage startup that changed the world.

“If it had not been for the freedom and the openness that the Internet allows, Google wouldn’t exist,” he said.

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