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China takes centre stage in global internet debate


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China takes centre stage in global internet debate

  • Beijing defends internet sovereignty
  • Second World Internet Conference held in Wuzhen
  • Facebook, Microsoft, Alibaba all present
  • Campaign groups call for boycott

China has taken the unusual step of placing itself at the forefront of the global debate on internet control and sovereignty.

Making a keynote speech at China’s second World Internet Conference, President Xi Jinping called for respect for different governance models.

Xi told the gathering that countries have the right to decide their own cyber development.

“The right for countries to participate in international cyberspace governance as equals should be respected by all.”

“No country should pursue cyber hegemony, interfere in other nation’s internal affairs, or engage in, connive at or support cyber activities that undermine the national security of other countries”, he added.

“The Great Firewall of China”

Domestic internet governance has been increasingly centralised in China since President Xi came to power in 2013.

Experts say there have been broader efforts to control, and often censor, the flow of information.

Strategists say this is aimed at maintaining political stabilility.

Beijing also operates the “Great Firewall of China”, the world’s most sophisticated online censorship system.

Hacking has also been a sore spot in US-China relations.

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