Former US president Bill Clinton urged China yesterday to recognize the urgency of the environmental threats to its growth, and to use the Internet as a tool to surmount them. But he remained silent on the risks faced by those who use the Internet as a forum for dissent.
"You will have to come to grips with significant challenges to your growth," Clinton said at an Internet conference in this eastern resort city, warning that the energy consumption required to keep China's economy growing at its recent rate of more than 9 percent is "unsustainable."
Clinton, the keynote speaker at a conference hosted by Yahoo's new Chinese partner, Alibaba.com, did not respond to questions from reporters about demands by human rights activists that he raise the case of a jailed Chinese journalist with his hosts.
Just days earlier, overseas-based human rights groups disclosed that Yahoo Holdings (Hong Kong) Ltd had provided e-mail account information that helped lead to journalist Shi Tao's conviction and 10-year prison sentence on state secrecy charges.
Other Chinese journalists have faced similar charges of violating vague security laws as communist leaders struggle to maintain control of information in the burgeoning Internet era.
Despite government information sharing requirements and other restrictions, Yahoo and its major rivals have been expanding their presence in China in hopes of reaching more of the country's fast-growing population of Internet users who now number more than 100 million.
also see story: