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The internet is the land of the free.

That's the bottom line from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who in a wide-ranging speech today about how the web intersects with U.S. foreign policy, also addressed the ongoing battle between Google and China.

As for the Google-China flap Clinton was blunt, urging Beijing to fully investigate Google's claims that it suffered cyber attacks in China:

"We look to Chinese authorities to conduct a thorough review of the cyber intrusions that led Google to make its announcement," she said, referring to Google's recent plans to pull out of China. "We also look for that investigation and its results to be transparent."

Here are some other juicy tidbits from the speech, as reported by the Associated Press:

  • "Countries that censor news and information must recognize that, from an economic standpoint, there is no distinction between censoring political speech and commercial speech," she said. "If businesses in your nation are denied access to either type of information, it will inevitably reduce growth."
  • "Increasingly, U.S. companies are making the issue of information freedom a greater consideration in their business decisions," she added. "I hope that their competitors and foreign governments will pay close attention to this trend."

For more deep thoughts, check out this fascinating New America Foundation panel discussion moderated yesterday in Washington, D.C. by the thoughtful China expert James Fallows, of the Atlantic.