U.S. Human Rights Report Hits China, Iran

In its annual report on human rights conditions around the world, the State Department singles out China and Iran for crackdowns on activists and online speech. From Reuters:

China, long the target of U.S. criticism for violating human rights, was accused of broadening its efforts to suppress information on the Internet.

“China increased its efforts to monitor Internet use, control content, restrict information, block access to foreign and domestic Web sites, encourage self-censorship, and punish those who violated regulations,” it said, adding the government employed thousands to monitor electronic communications.

It said the government tightly controlled Internet news, particularly around sensitive events such as the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown, and automatically censored email based on a changing list of sensitive words.

China’s Internet policies have thrust Beijing into a dispute with search engine giant Google (GOOG.O), which has said it may shut down its Chinese Google.cn portal and withdraw from the Chinese market out of concerns over censorship and a hacking attack from within the country.

Read the China chapter of the State Department report here.