WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in comments published on Thursday, has attacked China calling it the “technological enemy” of the whistleblower website because of its aggressive Internet censorship.
China, with its wide-reaching Internet censorship system commonly referred to as the “Great Firewall of China,” is the site’s most feared enemy in cyberspace, Assange told Britain’s new Statesman magazine.
Although, Assange, who has enraged the United States with his site’s release of leaked diplomatic documents, could face the death penalty if he were to stand trial there, still says “China is the worst offender” when it comes to censorship.
“China has aggressive and sophisticated interception technology that places itself between every reader inside China and every information source outside China,” said Assange. “We’ve been fighting a running battle to make sure we can get information through, and there are now all sorts of ways Chinese readers can get on to our site.”
China’s system of censorship is designed to filter out any information deemed too sensitive or politically harmful by the country’s Communist regime.
Websites such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are among those blocked by Chinese censors.
In an interview with veteran journalist John Pilger, Assange claimed he also had files on media tycoon Rupert Murdoch. “If something happens to me or to WikiLeaks, ‘insurance’ files will be released,” Pilger cited Assange as saying.
“There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organization and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp,” said Assange, without going into more detail about what was contained therein.
Assange insists that attempts to extradite him to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault by two women are of some political scheme and linked to his WikiLeaks’ activities. He appeared in a London court Tuesday and a judge ruled that Sweden’s attempt to extradite him would be heard in full on February 7-8.
Assange has been living at a country estate of a friend in England since being released on bail on Dec. 16, nine days after his arrest by British police on a Swedish warrant.
His defense team argued that if Sweden wins extradition he could then possibly face extradition to the United States where there was a “real risk” he could face the death penalty.
Mark Stephens, Assange’s attorney, accused Swedish authorities of secretly planning to extradite him to the US, in an interview with German newspaper Die Zeit on Thursday.
Sweden’s justice ministry has denied the claim.
US Vice President Joe Biden has described Assange as a “hi-tech terrorist.”
WikiLeaks has released hundreds of thousands of classified documents on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. At least a portion of those leaked documents allegedly came from US soldier Bradley Manning, who is in military custody in the US awaiting trial over the matter.
Assange said on Thursday that he believed the US was trying to use Manning to build a case against him, but denied ever having heard of him before his name appeared in media reports.
“Cracking Bradley Manning is the first step,” said Assange. “The aim clearly is to break him and force a confession that he somehow conspired with me to harm the national security of the United States.”