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"Version 2.0" of China's Internet governance

President Xi Jinping will elaborate on China's Internet policies on Wednesday at a key meeting as the country explores ways to upgrade its online governance.

Xi will, for the first time, address the World Internet Conference (WIC), which opens Wednesday in Wuzhen, a scenic water town to the southwest of Shanghai.

Schedules are usually tight for Chinese leaders near year-end, and Xi's attendance highlights China's readiness to share its Internet governance experience and learn from the international community.

Insiders said China's efforts in Internet governance can be summed up as "cleaning cyberspace in accordance with the law; exploiting it with an open mind."

"China is exploring a new way of Internet governance with rule of law at its core," said Lu Wei, head of the Cyberspace Administration of China, the top Internet regulator.

"In other words, we should correctly handle relations between freedom and order," he said, adding that the Internet is not beyond law.

The country is making continuous efforts to boost Internet-based business, which it counts on to power its slowing economy, and welcomes foreign companies in the sector.

Intensified Crackdown

Since the current central leadership took office in late 2012, the Chinese government has stepped up the crackdown on online rumors, pornography, gambling and other cyber crimes.

"These measures were aimed at protecting teenagers and safeguarding Internet users' lawful interests," said Lu, adding that notable progress has been made.

At least 197 people were punished this year for fabricating or spreading rumors about the stock market rout, Tianjin warehouse blasts and other key events, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

About 24,000 pornographic websites were shut down and 596 cases prosecuted this year.

To create a legal basis for the crackdown, China promulgated the National Security Law in July and is seeking public opinions on drafts of the Cyber Security Law and the Anti-terrorism Law.

The laws are in line with Xi's support for "Internet sovereignty," which means that every country has the right to govern its cyberspace within its borders.

In a message sent to the first WIC last year, Xi said Internet sovereignty must be respected.

Since then, the top leader has made similar remarks on different occasions, stressing that rule of law should apply to the Internet to safeguard a country's sovereignty, security and development interests.

China established a central leading group on cyber security and informationization in 2014 with Xi holding the reins.

"Without cyber security, there is no national security," he warned.

Booming E-Business

As one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century, the Internet has turned the globe into a village and profoundly changed the way people live and do business.

Since 1994, when China gained access to international web service, the country's online population has rapidly increased, and Internet-based business has quickly expanded.

Boasting 668 million Internet users, China has established the world's largest 4G network and is actively participating in creating 5G standards.

The Ministry of Commerce estimated that e-commerce sales could exceed 18 trillion yuan (2.8 trillion U.S. dollars) for 2015.

Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu are among the most successful IT firms in the world.

Their success is partly fueled by government efforts, including a push for innovation and entrepreneurship, the Belt and Road Initiative, and "Internet Plus," a plan to link traditional industries to the Internet.

"The Internet is unleashing young people's creativity and helping them achieve their life dreams," said Tencent founder Pony Ma.

Xi promised on different occasions that China will never close its door to the outside world and that the country is willing to deepen international cooperation in cyberspace.

"With such a huge market, China is becoming more of a contributor to global Internet prosperity," said Li Xiaodong, head of the China Internet Network Information Center.

"Improving Internet governance supports the fast expansion of China's online population and e-business," said Du Yuejin, an Internet expert with the China Computer Federation.

"The world needs to pay closer attention to the development and innovation of China's Internet governance," said Du.

[Source: Xinhua, Wuzhen, Zhejiang, 15Dec15]

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small logoThis document has been published on 16Dec15 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.