China Claims Need To Censor The Internet In Order To Maintain Stability

The World Internet Conference has kicked off, taking place in China, which has brought many of the world’s top technology companies together. At the beginning of the conference, Chinese officials called for controls on the internet in order to maintain stability. As an example, officials pointed to China’s model for cyperspace regulation and how it can be attributed to helping create commercial successes such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

The conference will have sessions on global internet governance, mobile internet, and cyber security and is China’s attempt to begin playing a larger role in the management of global cyberspce. Alibaba had a $25 billion listing in New York this year while, together, Tencent Holdings Ltd and Baidu Inc are worth more than $500 billion combined in market capitalization.

Image Source: Flickr (Dan)

"We will strengthen communications and seek common ground while resolving differences to establish a multilateral, democratic and transparent international internet governance system," said Lu Wei, China's director of the State Internet Information Office, at the conference.

"Join us in building up a peaceful, safe and open and co-operative cyberspace."

Aside from Chinese technology firms, other global companies such as Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon have sent representatives to attend the conference. Given that China boasts a population of 1.4 billion citizens, of which 632 million are online, makes China a very lucrative market that companies do not want to miss out on.

One only has to look at the huge successes of China’s own tech companies as a reason why global corporations are looking towards China.

However, prior to the conference, China blocked access to a number of websites as part of a blunt censorship campaign according to an internet monitoring group.

Edgecast, an affiliate of Verizon, said that its services were censored in a blog post that reads “We have been hearing from our CDN and Monitoring partners throughout the industry and our own customers that more sites, CDNs and networks are being filtered or blocked by the Great Firewall of China. This week we’ve seen the filtering escalate with an increasing number of popular web properties impacted and even one of our many domains being partially blocked… with no rhyme or reason as to why.”