Michelle Obama tells Chinese students internet freedom’s a universal right


Paramilitary policemen stand guard as visitors take pictures of U.S. first lady Michelle Obama in BeijingU.S. first lady Michelle Obama told an audience of college students in the Chinese capital on Saturday that open access to information – especially online – is a universal right. But Obama stopped short of calling on China to offer its citizens greater freedoms on a visit in which she is expected to steer clear of more complicated political issues, but rather try to build goodwill through soft diplomacy. “It is so important for information and ideas to flow freely over the internet and through the media,” Obama said told an audience of about 200 U.S. and Chinese students at Beijing’s prestigious Peking University. The United States frequently criticizes China’s human rights record, including its lack of protection of freedom of speech.

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