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Assange blasts China WikiLeaks copycat site

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has blasted plans by a group of Chinese activists to launch their own copycat version of the whistle-blowing site, according to business magazine Forbes.

The publication reports that in an interview earlier this month in London, during which he revealed the next target in his sights was the US banking industry, Assange described the Chinese group as "very dangerous", and expressed grave concerns over the new organisation's security and sources.

The Australian hacker-turned-journalist doesn't explicitly name the group, but is thought to be referring to an outfit called Government Leaks.

A spokesperson calling himself 'Deep Throat' - a reference to the informant behind the Watergate allegations that brought down US president Richard Nixon - told Hong Kong-based newspaper The South China Morning Post that the group plans to launch its site on 1st June, 2011 - just in time for the 22nd June anniversary of the Tiananmen Square student massacre.

Explaining his reservations about the move, Assange told Forbes: "It's not something that's easy to do right. That's the problem."

"We encouraged them to come to us to work with us. It would be nice to have more Chinese speakers working with us in a dedicated way.

"But what they'd set up had no meaningful security. They have no reputation you can trust. It's very easy and very dangerous to do it wrong."

There's little doubt that setting up some form of WikiLeaks in China would be a high-risk move.

Chinese activists would undoubtedly face tougher measures than Bradley Manning, the US serviceman suspected of leaking military secrets to Assange's whistle-blowing enterprise.

But with the release of its Cablegate leak, WikiLeaks looks set to face stiffer opposition from a number of quarters.

Whatever the "new world" that WikiLeaks heralded on Twitter last week, it will be a more dangerous one for Assange and co.