22 February 2019
There should be no double standards in safeguarding internet security, Xi Jinping says. Photo: Reuters
There should be no double standards in safeguarding internet security, Xi Jinping says. Photo: Reuters

Respect each country’s sovereignty over internet, Xi says

President Xi Jinping urged world leaders to respect each country’s sovereignty over its own internet, as he sought broader support for strict web controls like China’s.

The international community must respect each country’s internal affairs, Xi told a global technology gathering in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, Wednesday, applying to the internet a concept long a part of the Communist Party’s foreign policy, Bloomberg reported.

Xi also called for greater cooperation in punishing cyberattacks and fighting terrorism.

“There should be no double standards in safeguarding internet security,” he said.

“A country should not harm another’s security for the sake of its own security. Some countries should not seek security at the expense of others, let alone sacrifice others’ security to seek absolute security.”

Xi was giving the keynote speech at China’s second World Internet Conference, an event attended by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. chairman Jack Ma Yun, LinkedIn Corp. chairman Reid Hoffman and executives from Alphabet Inc., Apple Inc., Xiaomi Corp. and others.

“As long as you obey the Chinese law, we warmly welcome enterprises and entrepreneurs from every other country to invest in China,” Xi said.

“We are willing to strengthen cooperation with others to develop e-commerce, build information economy pilot zones, in an effort to push global digital economic growth.”

China employs one of the world’s most exhaustive internet censorship regimes to suppress dissident and other information deemed dangerous by the ruling party.

The government has increased restrictions since Xi took power three years ago, passing a security law establishing “cybersovereignty”, making retweets of rumors a crime and advancing regulations that would let companies in key sectors only use technology deemed “safe and controllable”.

US companies and government officials have long complained about cyberattacks originating in China, an accusation officials in Beijing have denied, saying they, too, have been the targets of hacking.

Earlier this month, the two sides held top-level talks in Washington as a follow-up to a September summit between US President Barack Obama and Xi, in which they agreed their governments wouldn’t conduct economic espionage through hacking the private networks of companies.

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