China wants to tighten its grip on the internet

7 January 2016
By Jack Loughran
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The Chinese President wants global governments to have more top-down control over the flow of information on the internet

The Chinese President wants global governments to have more top-down control over the flow of information on the internet

China's internet regulator has said it wants the country's ruling Communist Party to become the "strongest voice in cyberspace".

Following a two-day meeting, the Cyberspace Administration of China said its priority for 2016 would be "using Chinese views, Chinese plans to lead to a transformation in the governance system of the Internet globally".

Chinese President Xi Jinping wants the internet to be divided globally on a per country basis with information boundaries restricting the flow of information between sovereign states in a similar fashion to the restriction of goods and people through the physical borders of countries.

He believes that the responsibility to control the flow of information online rests in the hands of governments, who should be allowed to fence off certain online content if desired.

In a statement, the ruling party said: "Let the party's achievements in theoretical innovation and practical accomplishments become the highly held main tone and key themes in cyberspace".

Since Xi took over as president in early 2013, he has supervised over a centralisation of domestic internet governance and broader efforts to control and often censor information online, experts say. Those efforts are aimed at maintaining stability, seen by the ruling Communist Party as a critical pillar of its rule.

Lu Wei, China's cyber chief, recently rejected criticism about the country’s internet censorship saying that if the policies were too stringent, China’s online markets would not be as successful as they are.

In September, Chinese and US officials met to discuss cyber-security issues following repeated accusations from the US that state-sponsored Chinese hackers were infiltrating U.S. computers.

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