China has rejected a call from the United States to lift its restrictions on internet usage, saying the US criticism has harmed relations between the countries.
A spokesman for China's foreign ministry on Friday defended his country's policies regarding the internet, denouncing comments on the issue by Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state.
"We firmly oppose such words and deeds, which go against the facts and are harmful to China-US relations," Ma Zhaoxu, a ministry spokesman, said in a statement posted on the foreign ministry website.
"We urge the United States to respect facts and stop using the so-called internet freedom issue to criticise China unreasonably.
"The Chinese internet is open and China is the country witnessing the most active development of the internet."
The comments follow a call by Clinton on Thursday for China to fully investigate alleged cyber attacks against US firm Google, the world's leading search engine, or risk facing international condemnation.
Her comments came after Google warned last week that it may shut down its operations in China after email accounts belonging to human rights activists were allegedly hacked.