"When it comes to expressing yourself freely, and worshipping as you choose, and having open access to information - we believe those are universal rights that are the birthright of every person on this planet," South China Morning Post quoted Michelle Obama as saying in her address at the Stanford Centre of Peking University.
Speaking about internet technology and a travel blog where she posted videos and photos of her China trip, she said she wanted young people of America to be part of the experience.
"That's why it's so important for information and ideas to flow freely over the internet and through the media," she said.
Michelle also encouraged students to study abroad and keep an open mind. "It is better to travel 10,000 miles than to read 10,000 books," she quoted a Chinese adage, according to the official Weibo account of Peking University.
"I hope you will keep learning from each other...When it comes to the defining challenges of our time - whether it's climate change, or economic opportunity, or the spread of nuclear weapons.. these are shared challenges," she said.
The US First Lady kicked off a week of diplomacy Friday accompanied by her mother and two daughters.