China’s Efforts to Push Worldwide Internet Censorship Gets Pushback

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Beijing warned its tough internet controls may hurt foreign relations

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China has used a high-profile tech conference attended by top executives from the likes of Apple and Facebook to tout its tough model of cyber governance, but foreign delegates at the event warned Beijing’s policies could harm its relations with the rest of the world.

Xu Lin, director of the Cyberspace Administration of China, on Tuesday read out a list of internet specialists and tech company executives who backed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s latest call to respect the country’s cyberspace sovereignty and promote partnerships…..

…But one diplomat said Beijing’s tight grip on the internet would affect the country’s ambition of becoming a cyber superpower, as well as its relations with other countries.

“With events like [this one], China claims to become a great power in cyberspace. However, online communications across borders are being restricted more and more,” said Michael Clauss, the German ambassador to China, who was not at the conference.

Foreign companies and business groups have long complained about the difficulties of operating in China, saying limited internet access and a recent crackdown on the use of virtual private networks, or VPNs, to bypass the infamous “Great Firewall” has affected their work.

“A complete VPN ban would negatively impact China’s relations with foreign partners. What’s the use of establishing a people-to-people dialogue in the 21st century if people cannot communicate online?” asked Clauss.

Read More at South China Morning Post 

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